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Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
Directed by Patrick Gilmore
Tim Johnson
Produced by Jeffrey Katzenberg
Mireille Soria
Associate Producer:
Jill Hopper
Written by John Logan
Starring Brad Pitt
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Michelle Pfeiffer
Joseph Fiennes
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Editing by Tom Finan
Studio Stardust Pictures
Distributed by DreamWorks
Release date(s) July 2, 2003
July 25
August 21
December 19
Running time 1hr. 26 min.
Country U.S.A.
Language English
Budget $60,000,000
Gross revenue Domestic

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is a 2003 animated film produced by DreamWorks SKG with voices of characters from Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Joseph Fiennes.

This is the last traditionally-animated feature film made by DreamWorks Animation, due to being considered a commercial disaster and the American public seemed more interested in computer animation. However, the film retains a cult following.



The central part of the plot begins when a pirate named Sinbad is sent on a quest to find the legendary Book of Peace, a mysterious artifact that Eris, the Greek goddess of chaos, has framed him for stealing. Given his background as a pirate, Sinbad's accusers do not believe his protestations of innocence. Sinbad's childhood friend Prince Proteus of Syracuse intervenes, offering to stay imprisoned in Sinbad's place while Sinbad quests to recover the Book; if Sinbad cannot recover it and does not return in the time alotted for his quest, Proteus will receive Sinbad's death penalty. Initially, Sinbad attempts to escape outright; but discovers that the Lady Marina of Thrace, Proteus's fiancée, has stowed away on board, determined to ensure that Sinbad fulfills his obligation to his friend. Influenced by her (and his own conscience), Sinbad ultimately decides to undertake the quest.

This story takes the name Sinbad, the presence of a Roc, and the incident wherein Sinbad and his crew encounter an island that turns out to be the back of a gigantic sea-beast from the One Thousand and One Nights; however, much of the setting is derived from Greek mythology, including the presence of monsters that also appear as constellations, a trip to Tartarus to recover the Book, and an encounter with the Sirens. The plot scenario of Proteus taking Sinbad's place is similar to the legend of Damon and Pythias. Throughout the film, Eris appears as a sadistic femme fatale who is constantly in sinuous motion. During the quest, Marina and Sinbad fall in love with each other.

Ultimately, Sinbad reaches Tartarus and enters it, accompanied only by Marina. He meets with Eris, and realizes that her true goal in the theft was to prod Proteus into surrendering his life for Sinbad's, thus throwing the society where of Syracuse is part into chaos.

Eris agrees to surrender the Book if Sinbad truthfully answers this question: 'if he cannot gain possession of the Book, will he fulfil his promise and return to die in his friend's place?'. Sinbad says he will return; but Eris accuses him of lying and sends him and Marina back to Earth without the Book. Sinbad admits to Marina that he was lying, and that he did not intend to keep his word and die, even to save the life of his friend. Marina begs him to flee, hoping to return alone to Syracuse and somehow save both Proteus and Sinbad. Sinbad nevertheless travels back to Syracuse, where he embraces the death penalty. Before the executioner can kill him, Eris intervenes, furious at Sinbad for his decision. Sinbad quickly realizes that, despite doubting himself earlier, he has indeed kept his word to return to Syracuse and surrender his life for Proteus, and that Eris, as a goddess, is bound to hold true to her promise to give him the Book. She gives him the Book and disappears, promising to find other places to destroy, whereupon Sinbad opens the Book to fulfill its purpose. Later Sinbad leaves Syracuse to embark on another voyage, leaving Marina behind despite their burgeoning romance. Proteus realizes that Sinbad and Marina have fallen in love and bids Marina to go with Sinbad. She and Sinbad sail away, presumably to have more "adventures."


Reaction and box office

The film was considered a commercial disaster in the US, where it became the lowest earning film of 2003 to be shown at 3,000+ theatres. It would earn an estimated $26.5 million at 3,086 theatres in the US and $80.7 million worldwide.[1] Because of this, it is the last traditionally-animated feature film made by DreamWorks. Additionally, the film's poor performance led Jeffrey Katzenberg to proclaim that traditional animation was dead,[citation needed] as the American public seemed more interested in computer animation, which led to much controversy with directors and animators who worked with the traditional format.

While the film was unsuccessful at the box office, it was opened to mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 46% of its critics gave positive reviews based on 114 reviews.[2] Metacritic gave the film a 48/100 approval rating based on 33 reviews.[3] However, Roger Ebert gave the film 3 1/2 stars and concluded that, "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is another worthy entry in the recent renaissance of animation, and in the summer that has already given us Finding Nemo, it's a reminder that animation is the most liberating of movie genres, freed of gravity, plausibility, and even the matters of lighting and focus. There is no way that Syracuse could exist outside animation, and as we watch it, we are sailing over the edge of the human imagination."[4]

The fact that the film removes the story from its original Arabic context and places it in an entirely Greek setting earned it some criticism. Jack Shaheen, a critic of Hollywood's portrayal of Arabs, believes that "the studio feared financial and possibly political hardships if they made the film's hero Arab". "If no attempt is made to challenge negative stereotypes about Arabs, the misperceptions continue. It's regrettable that the opportunity wasn't taken to change them, especially in the minds of young people," he said. At one point, Shaheen asked Katzenberg to include some references to Arabic culture in the film.[5]


Sinbad is the first movie to be produced fully using the Unix operating system.[6]

The monsters and the backgrounds in the film are mostly computer-generated, while the human characters are hand-drawn.[7]


A PC game based on the film was released by Atari, who worked closely with one of the film's directors, Patrick Gilmore. It was released prior to the DVD and VHS release of the film.[8] Burger King released six promotional toys at the time of the film's release, and each toy came with a "Constellation Card"[9] Hasbro Inc. produced a series of Sinbad figures as part of its G.I. JOE action figure brand.[10] The figures were 12" tall and came with a mythical monster.[11]


  1. ^ "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)". Box Office Mojo. 
  2. ^ "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  3. ^ "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003): Reviews". Metacritic. 
  4. ^ "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas Review". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  5. ^ Clarke, Sean (2003-07-23). "Printing the legend".,,1004280,00.html. Retrieved on 2008-07-23. 
  6. ^ Linux Dreamworks Redux
  7. ^ "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas". Entertainment Weekly. 2003-04-17.,,444346,00.html. Retrieved on 2008-07-21. 
  8. ^ "Atari Brings the Action of Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas to the Home PC; New PC Game To Be Based on Upcoming Major Motion Picture". BNET. CNET Networks, Inc.. 2003-05-12. Retrieved on 2008-07-26. 
  9. ^ "Sinbad Sails His Way Into Burger King". Retrieved on 2008-07-26. 
  10. ^ "DreamWorks, Hasbro in ‘Sinbad’ Toy Deal". Los Angeles Times. 2003-06-10. Retrieved on 2008-07-25. 
  11. ^ "G.I. Joe Sinbad Figures in 2003". Raving Toy Maniac. 2003-06-10. Retrieved on 2008-07-25. 

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