Director - Sam Mendes, Cinematography - Roger Deakins
“A story. A man fires a rifle for many years. and he goes to war. And afterwards he comes home, and he sees that whatever else he may do with his life - build a house, love a woman, change his son’s diaper - he will always remain a jarhead. And all the jarheads killing and dying, they will always be me. We are still in the desert.”
Epic Movie (Re)Watch #117 - Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
Have I Seen It Before: Yes.
Did I Like It Then: Yes.
Do I Remember It: Yes.
Did I See It In Theaters: Yes.
Was it a movie I saw since August 22nd, 2009: Yes. No.
1) I don’t rewatch this film as often as some other Dreamworks movies (The Road to El Dorado, The Prince of Egypt), and only vaguely remember it. I was incredibly surprised however to realize I TOTALLY remembered the main theme (composed by Harry Gregson Williams) as it started playing in the film.
2) Michelle Pfeiffer as Eris.
The first character in the film we’re introduced to, Pfeiffer brings a wonderful fun to this villainess. According to Wikipedia (which quotes it from Entertainment Weekly):
Michelle Pfeiffer, who voices Eris, the goddess of chaos, had struggles with finding the character’s villainies. Initially the character was “too sexual,” then she lacked fun. After the third rewrite, Pfeiffer called Jeffrey Katzenberg and told him “You know, you really can fire me.”, but he assured her that this was just part of the process.
Pfeiffer is a delight in the role, and Eris is animated wonderfully. She’s a total treat to watch every time she’s on screen and a delight in the role.
3) Brad Pitt as Sinbad.
Brad Pitt as Sinbad is pretty good. I think one of the film’s biggest failings is that Sinbad’s character development doesn’t seem to flow too well, it just sort of happens (although that just may be a me thing), but Pitt brings the roguish charm and just pure fun that is needed for this character.
4) This film does have some good swashbuckling fun in it, and it’s what makes the movie as good as it is.
5) The bromance between Sinbad & Kale is nice. We know that Sinbad and Proteus had a past relationship as friends but it’s Sinbad and Kale who have the relationship NOW. Kale knows Sinbad well and he’s loyal to him until the end, and Dennis Haysbert is a joy in the role.
6) That’s not to discount the interesting conflict the relationship Sinbad & Proteus brings to the film though. It’s a unique idea I’m glad was included.
7) Honestly the CGI monsters are the things I remember most from this movie. They’re each fairly memorable in their designs. Plus I think McDonald’s or Burger King had toys of them.
8) The first fight with Cetus (the monster above) is a good way of showing off Sinbad’s ingenuity and smarts in a fight. He doesn’t go head first into danger thoughtlessly, he thinks things through.
9) Chekov’s Quote.
Eris: “When a goddess gives her word, she’s bound for all eternity.”
10) Catherine Zeta Jones as Marina.
Jones (or is it Zeta Jones?) does well in the role of Marina. She is able to balance the character’s sense of nobility and responsibility with the heart and brashness of an adventurer, both things which are needed to understand her character and that character’s internal conflict.
11) I always like it when you have third-wheel characters in movies - like Proteus in this film - who aren’t dicks. Like it would be so easy to make the boyfriend an asshole but the conflict is deepened when Marina has feelings for someone other than her future-husband and that future-husband is a great guy.
12) I’m pretty sure when Sinbad discovers Marina snooping around his ship she glances at her boobs for the briefest of moments. Just thought I’d share.
13) The siren scene is another excellent example of great fun and good monsters.
Harry Gregson Williams music is very good and blending pretty with creepy. You KNOW something is wrong, that we’re in danger, but the vocals are really beautiful. The scene also shows off Marina’s skills on the ship, which are great.
14) I cringed so hard at this. But I loved it.
15) I personally think Sinbad & Marina have better chemistry when they’re having fun bickery banter (like when Sinbad, “thanks,” Marina after saving their life) then when they’re acting all sweet. But there are a lot of movies out there which I feel that way about.
16) Other than the issue I mentioned above, I think the film is a little overstuffed with monsters for too short a runtime. You go from sirens to this sort of weird fish island to the snow bird all pretty quickly. And it may just be me who feels this way, but I’d rather have the fish island cut if that meant we got more time with the snow bird. That doesn’t mean the fish island isn’t visually stunning though.
PS: I’m sure there are some Sinbad fans out there who probably cringe when I use terms like, “snowbird,” and, “fish island,” since there are probably official names for these monsters out there. I apologize for that.
17) According to IMDb:
In the scene in which the entire crew, including Spike, is losing their lunch after traveling at top speeds you can hear a man say, “Hey, where did he get the carrot?” According to the filmmakers, that line was a joke someone said during story production that made everyone groan so much that they decided to put it in the movie.
18) I did not understand this joke as a kid. I laughed so hard when I watched it now.
19) I do REALLY enjoy the ice bird scenes and the design on the creature (and Sinbad/Marina’s chase from it), I just wish we’d gotten more time in this environment.
Again, an example of a very neat CG monster in this film.
20) I love this.
Rat: “It’s the edge of the world!”
Gin [to his brother Li]: “Pay up, it’s flat.”
21) Aaaand the ship is flying.
22) The bromance between Sinbad & Kale is only strengthened when - before entering Tartarus - Sinbad tells Kale that the ship is his if he doesn’t return.
23) Tartarus is truly visually fascinating, keeping with the themes of the CG monsters of the movie and Eris’ animation.
24) It’s probably just me, but I feel like Marina’s, “I love you,” to Sinbad isn’t really earned. I love her and I love him and I think they have fun chemistry and a good relationship, I just wish we’d gotten a bit more nice honest moments with them before she said she loved him. We did get a few nice honest moments, but I feel like one or two more would’ve helped.
25) I like that Sinbad comes back to sacrifice himself to save Proteus, because he returns knowing he’ll be a dead man. And he thought he was lying when he told Eris he’d do this! He thought he was a coward but it just proved that he’s not. And then comes the twist: since Eris promised Sinbad the Book of Peace if he answered one question honestly (will he go back and die if he doesn’t get the book) and he does go back even though both he & Eris thought he was lying when he said, “Yes,” (holy run on sentence Batman) then he’s not lying!
Seven year old me did NOT see that twist coming.
26) Three people who I were surprised to see in the credits of this film:
John Logan wrote the screenplay. John Logan is the creator of “Penny Dreadful” and writer on the last two 007 films.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson was head of story. Jennifer Yuh Nelson directed the last two Kung Fu Panda movies and holds the record for highest-grossing film by a solo female director. (Technically Jennifer Lee has the record for highest-grossing film directed by a woman with Frozen but she co-directed with a guy.)
Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott (writers of the first four Pirates of the Caribbean films, The Road to El Dorado, and Treasure Planet among others) served as creative consultants.
I like Sinbad, I really do. It’s a fun adventure even if (in my opinion) it doesn’t hold up to The Road to El Dorado or The Prince of Egypt. But a film should not be judged based on the quality of other films. The animation here is great, the voice acting is fun, and it’s just an enjoyable time all around. Go put it in if you have the chance!
Directed by Nikolaj Arcel, written by Akiva Goldsman & Jeff Pinkner and Anders Thomas Jensen & Nikolaj Arcel, starring Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Katheryn Winnick, Abbey Lee, Jackie Earle Haley, Dennis Haysbert, Claudia Kim and Fran Kranz.
Director - Michael Mann, Cinematography - Dante Spinotti
“You know, we are sitting here, you and I, like a couple of regular fellas. You do what you do, and I do what I gotta do. And now that we’ve been face to face, if I’m there and I gotta put you away, I won’t like it. But I tell you, if it’s between you and some poor bastard whose wife you’re gonna turn into a widow, brother, you are going down.”
Satire is one of the toughest genres to tackle across any medium. Simien, as a first-time feature writer/director, proves up to the challenge. Dear White People is razor sharp, provocative in the right ways, and you can’t do much besides applaud the effort. Sure, the ending is a bit much, which is unfortunate since the film’s finale packs a sucker punch with each stereotype tossed on screen, and is cut a little short with the tongue-in-cheek. The film offers itself as a mirror, and it uses its four main characters - all walking contradictions - beautifully.
But why four? It may seem an odd complaint, but the film is held back in much the same way it’s propelled forward. Simien seems unsure of himself, cramming all of his ideas into one film, when it could have been so much better had he just worked one idea to completion. You can feel halfway through that Simien is too loyal to his leads, really only able to offer interesting character arcs for two (Lionel and Sam) while the other two get lost in the fray. It’s a bold film, but without one central character to latch onto, the film ends up being a beautiful collection of ideas, with moments of taut irony, forced into a structure that allows for too much downtime.