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Friday, July 04, 2003
'Sinbad' not bad, but not dazzling
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

The serviceable animated adventure is a pretty good yarn, but it seems flat compared to this summer's other sea tale, "Finding Nemo."

By NEIL HARVEY
THE ROANOKE TIMES

   When we meet the thieving sailor Sinbad, things are going well for him. He's cruising the high seas in his tricked-out ship with a boatload of pirate treasure.

    There's just one last score on his to-do list - the theft of the magical "Book of Peace" - before he heads off to Fiji to retire.

    Movie characters who hope for "one last score," however, are just asking for trouble, especially when, deep down, they're actually nice guys. Sure enough, Sinbad quickly gets double-crossed by the evil goddess Eris and must sail to her hideout to save the life of his friend, Proteus.

    Brad Pitt provides the voice of Sinbad, Michelle Pfeiffer supplies the purr of Eris, and Catherine Zeta-Jones does the talking for Marina, Proteus' girlfriend, who tags along on Sinbad's quest to keep him in line.

    Unfortunately for "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas," the latest animated epic from Dreamworks, it emerges in the wake of two recent Disney movies: last fall's similar but sluggish "Treasure Planet," and this summer's "Finding Nemo." And when it comes to lush cartoons about treacherous sea voyages, "Nemo" is stiff competition.

    "Sinbad" isn't at that level, but it also doesn't aim that high: Its animation is good but pretty standard; its adventures are fun but rarely dazzling; and every so often, when handling the problem of Sinbad's scruples, the characters get a little talky.

    "Enough talking," complains Eris during one conversation. "Time for some screaming."

    She's right. In fact, Eris - a combination of Catwoman and Ursula from "The Little Mermaid" - is the best part of the movie.

    Though much younger viewers may not be as charmed by the villainess' red eyes and snakelike manner, she's one of the few characters with any "Shrek"-like spark, and Tartarus, her home, is almost as creepily beautiful as those silky, deadly jellyfish in "Nemo."

    Slightly older moviegoers, however (particularly those with a fondness for Harry Potter's extended adventures), will enjoy the movie more. Still, in its summertime race against the little clownfish with the lucky fin, "Sinbad" places a distant second.

   

    Neil Harvey can be reached

   at 981-3341 or neil.harvey@roanoke.com

    Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas:

    HHH

    At Carmike 10 at Tanglewood Mall, Salem Valley 8 and Valley View Grande 16. Rated PG for adventure action, some mild sensuality and brief language. One hour, 26 min.


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