Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

MPAA Rating: PG for adventure action, some mild sensuality and brief language

Reviewed by: Jonathan Rothgeb
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Children
Genre:
Animation and Romance
Length:
1 hr. 26 min.
Year of Release:
2003
Copyrighted, Courtesy of Dreamworks
Copyrighted, Courtesy of Dreamworks

Starring: Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dennis Haysbert, Joseph Fiennes | Directed by: Tim Johnson, Patrick Gilmore | Produced by: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Mireille Soria, John Wells | Written by: John Logan | Distributor: Dreamworks

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of such gallant tales such as “The Arabian Nights” and “Treasure Island” and “Gulliver’s Travels.” First, in movie form then, as I grew older, in written form. One of my favorite movies was “The Adventures of Sinbad.” Now, I realize that this particular story has been done to death, but I never tired of seeing this courageous character dash across the screen to take on mythical creatures, save the damsel, and get the treasure. It is a part of every boy’s fantasy!

Dreamworks Studios has done a wonderful job of bringing this magical tale to the children of today. The story has changed somewhat from what I remember as a youth, but then again, I have seen several films based on this character and they all seem to vary slightly. In this version, we see a dashing Sinbad (Brad Pitt) as he attempts to take the “Book of Peace” from his boyhood friend Proteus (Joseph Fiennes). In the process, they are interrupted by the villain Eris (Michelle Pfeiffer), goddess of the underworld.

Eris frames Sinbad for the theft of the book and is found guilty. His friend Proteus, convinced of Sinbad’s innocence, trades his life for Sinbad’s. Sinbad is given a limited time to recover the book and stop the execution of his friend. Sinbad battles the creatures that Eris sends his way, and his own desire to put himself first and flee.

To help on this quest Proteus’ finacee, Marina (Katherine Zeta-Jones), stows away on the ship and soon the two discover that they make a great team. Together with the rest of Sinbad’s crew they travel to Eris’ realm to face the ultimate test of friendship and truth.

Copyrighted. Courtesy of Dreamworks

In the real world, we too are on a quest for peace and truth. At times that we battle our own demons, only to face the reality that we are our own worst enemy. We must make a decision to turn from what may be easy but wrong to follow a more difficult road of truth through Jesus Christ.

I recommend this film, but be aware that there are some pretty intense scenes that may be a bit over the top for the very young.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Being a mother of two boys and having just seen this film with them, I found it to be every little boys’ fantasy: to be the hero, take wild adventures, win the prize—and the girl. Even though the plot points to the moral rightness in loyalty to friends and family and facing our responsibilities, I was not happy with the fact that Sinbad, after all was said and done, still took his best friend’s girl. I wasn’t comfortable with that. Rest assured that I will teach my little men that it is not alright to do that.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—Melinda Kinnear, age 42
Neutral
Neutral—Sinbad was beautifully crafted—the graphics and music were excellent. Our son loved the action and the characters, but my husband and I had a real problem with the morality and motives of the heros of the film. Sinbad is a thief in this movie, and he has every intention of robbing his childhood friend, and breaking their vow of lifelong friendship.

He only changes his mind and keeps from sending his friend to his death when forced to—not from any noble or self motivated intentions. The heroine is heroic, brave, loyal—up to a point. She falls for Sinbad, and ends up leaving her prince fiance to cavort around the world with the pirates. We have a serious problem with this—she had an obligation between her fiance and herself, and the two countries they represented. She throws away duty and responsibility for “love”.

Too many movies these days encourage children and teens to act on their hormones and impulses—do what ever feels good or makes them happy—with no consequences or worries about the future… How will the future look for this heroine—the only woman on a ship of rowdy pirates, unmarried and out numbered? Are they going to continue being pirates, living off stealing from innocent victims? Or will they retire on the ill-gotten gains from previous robbing?

Perhaps we read too deeply into the issues—it is, after all, “only” a cartoon. But too many messages like this are bombarding our children. Give me a movie that portrays good as good and evil as evil—with consequences and rewards as appropriate. Better yet, show me redemption and evil seeing the light and becoming good.
My Ratings: [Average / 5]
—Bev Michie, age 44
Neutral—While I certainly enjoyed watching “Sinbad”, I felt that the film was far too mature in its humour to be appropriate for young children. If there is no avoiding taking your child to see this movie then be cautioned as to what you can expect:
1. Mild Language—several colourful phrases are used in this movie. While certainly not as bad as what can be heard driving down the freeway, I certainly wouldn’t want to hear my child imitating Sinbad’s choice phrases.
2. Mild Sexual Humour—sorry, but kids today aren’t stupid, and the sexual innuendo in this film is not going to sail over their heads. (example: #1.laughing at Sinbad, who’s pants have been torn and is now showing a very bare butt cheek. a bit much for a film geared towards children. #2 references to Mr. Sinbad’s “pickle and 2 onions” do I really need to explain that one?)
3. Infidelity—The romance that goes on between Marina and Sinbad is an adulturous one since Marina is engaged to be married to Sinbad’s best friend. Yes, its an arranged marriage that she doesn’t want to go through with, but still not the kind of message I’d want my child to hear.
So all in all, while I could sit back and watch this movie at 24 years old and enjoy it thoroughly, I think I might have been forced to walk out if I’d had a child with me.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—Jessica, age 24
Negative
Negative—Besides the obvious mythological themes, the sexual unnuendos were numerous, inappropriate, and entirely unnecessary. Finding Nemo contained none of this and would be an excellent alternative.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
—David Ballard, age 42
Negative—Although I enjoyed “Sinbad” and thought it to be quite a well-made film,the experience was overshadowed with my concern that people think this is a movie for children! I was unaware of the rating of the film, and was shocked that it was not PG-13. (“Anne of Green Gables,” for instance is PG, and, in my mind, is not the least bit questionable/) Profanity, taking the Lord’s name in vain, some inappropriate sexual humour, and glorified infidelity are not what I would want to expose my children to and I definitely do not recommend this movie for children of any age.

I am also disturbed by our hero Sinbad’s blatant disrespect for the woman who he fancies. Young women need to be taught not to attach themselves to men who don’t treat them as ladies-not run off with them when they are engaged to be married to another man! Sinbad runs off with the promised bride of his friend, Proteus (who has offered his own head in Sinbad’s place to give Sinbad a second chance). (I think we’re “supposed” to think it is okay because it is an arranged marriage.) There is also unnecessary violence-Sinbad’s solution to comments he doesn’t like from his mates is a punch to the face. This could easily have been a good (and wholesome) film, but Dreamworks needs to seriously review their standard of what is appropriate-especially for children!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—Jennie, age 24
Negative—Sinbad was an enjoyable swashbuckling adventure ride. However, it had some very strong negative elements. I went expecting the bad girl to be a sorceress, as per the review on this site, instead she was the “Goddess of Chaos.” The occultic content of the movie as pertains to this character was not something I wanted my children to see. In addition, there was a lot of sexual inuendo. Both Eris and Marina were provocative sensuous women (although it wasn’t blatant it was there). At one point Sinbad tells Marina that if the dog “hugs her leg” that means he likes her. When Marina runs off with Sinbad (not good husband material) at the end it was very much in keeping with todays worldly view of “follow your heart.” I tell my children often that it is better to remain single than to marry a partner who is not right. Being “In Love” is no reason to choose such a partner. Parents, view this one yourself first, and then decide if your children should see it. If I had, I would not have taken them.
My Ratings: [Average / 5]
—Laura Sonnenberg, age 34
Comments from young people
Positive—I liked this movie a lot. It was very funny, cute, and there wasn`t really anything in it that I thought was bad. Now the bad lady is deceptive but in the end she did keep her word, which is good for little kids because they should learn to never break their promises. I thought it a worth while movie. I recommend it.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Joanna, age 15
Positive—“Sinbad” was not such a bad movie as most people have described it. I mark it as “Offensive” because the theme of the mythology was a bit overdone. However, being a child none of the humor to me was awful. I was disappointed to hear Sinbad mumble “fr*ck*n” to himself in one scene but other than that this movie is great for family discussion. It had a great ending!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Emily, age 11 (USA)
Movie Critics
Movie Critics
Grand cartoon entertainment reminiscent of Saturday matinee adventures.
—Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter
…‘Sinbad’ gets better and better, ultimately …sweeping you up in its high-seas fantasy voyage…
—Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The swashbuckling adventure features inventive and exciting animation, but its story is all too familiar.
—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
…the story is strong, the adventures are exciting, the characters are well-defined, and the message (one of trust, honor, and friendship) is worth hearing…
—Michael Elliott, Movie Parables
…wholesome… well-written…
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide