Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tim Johnson
Patrick Gilmore
Produced by Jeffrey Katzenberg
Mireille Soria
Associate Producer:
Jill Hopper
Screenplay by John Logan
Based on Sinbad the Sailor[1]
Starring Brad Pitt
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Michelle Pfeiffer
Joseph Fiennes
Dennis Haysbert
Adriano Giannini
Timothy West
Jim Cummings
Conrad Vernon
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Edited by Tom Finan
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures1
Release dates
  • July 2, 2003 (2003-07-02)
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million
Box office $80.7 million[2]

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is a 2003 American animated comedy adventure film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by DreamWorks Pictures1, using traditional animation with some computer animation. It was directed by Patrick Gilmore and Tim Johnson, and written by John Logan.

It covers the story of Sinbad (voiced by Brad Pitt), a pirate who travels the sea to recover the lost Book of Peace from Eris (voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer) to save his childhood friend, Prince Proteus (voiced by Joseph Fiennes), from accepting Sinbad's death sentence.

Despite recouping back its 60 million budget and grossing $80.7 million worldwide, DreamWorks Animation suffered a $125 million loss on the film, which caused the studio to abandon traditional animation in favor of computer animation.


Sinbad and his pirate crew attempt to steal the magical "Book of Peace" while it is being shipped to Syracuse, Sicily, protected by Proteus. Proteus was once Sinbad's best friend as a child and he tells him if it ever meant anything he can prove it. Sinbad tries to steal the book anyway, but is prevented when Cetus attacks the ship. The two work together to fight off Cetus and for a moment reaffirm their bond. Just when it seems the beast is defeated, Sinbad is dragged off the ship. Proteus goes to save Sinbad, but he is stopped by his crew.

Drawn underwater by Cetus, Sinbad is saved by Eris, the beautiful Goddess of Discord, who offers him any boon he desires in exchange for the Book of Peace. Sinbad and his crew go to Syracuse to steal the Book, but leave without doing so. Anticipating this, Eris impersonates Sinbad and steals the Book. Sinbad is sentenced to death, whereupon Proteus sends Sinbad to retrieve the Book instead, placing himself as hostage, and Proteus' fiancée Marina goes to make sure that Sinbad succeeds. To prevent them from succeeding, Eris sends a group of mythical sirens, who entrance and seduce the men aboard Sinbad's ship with their hypnotic singing voices, but do not affect Marina, who pilots the ship to safety. Eris later sends a Roc which captures Marina, but she is rescued by Sinbad.

After these and other incidents, Sinbad and Marina enter Eris' realm, where she reveals that her plan was to maneuver Proteus into Sinbad's place, leaving Syracuse without an heir, and agrees to surrender the Book of Peace only if Sinbad truthfully tells whether he will return to Syracuse to accept blame and be executed. She gives him her word that she will honour the deal, making it unbreakable even for a god. When he answers that he will return, Eris calls him a liar, and returns him and Marina to the mortal world. Ashamed, Sinbad admits Eris is right, truly believing deep down that he is a selfish liar.

In Syracuse, the time allotted to Sinbad has elapsed. Proteus readies himself to be beheaded, but at the last minute, Sinbad appears and takes his place. An enraged Eris appears suddenly and saves Sinbad by shattering the executioner's sword to pieces. Sinbad, shocked, realizes that this was still part of her test and that he has beaten her by proving his answer to be true after all. Eris is furious but cannot go back on her word and so reluctantly gives the Book to Sinbad before vanishing.

With the Book restored to Syracuse, Sinbad and his crew leave Syracuse on another voyage, leaving Marina behind. Proteus sees that Marina has fallen deeply in love with Sinbad, so he releases her from their engagement and sends her to join Sinbad's ship.

Voice cast


During his time with Walt Disney Feature Animation, Katzenberg suggested the idea of an animated Sinbad movie to then Disney CEO Michael Eisner, but Eisner rejected the idea. When forming DreamWorks, Katzenberg brought old scrapped ideas from Disney for the DreamWorks animation division, this included a collaboration with Aardman Animation, an animated adaptation of The Ten Commandments, a movie about ants and Sinbad.

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas was the first film to be produced fully using the Linux operating system.[3]

The monsters and the backgrounds in the film are mostly computer-generated, while the human characters are hand-drawn.[4]


Russell Crowe was originally going to voice Sinbad, but he dropped out due to scheduling problems.[4] He was replaced by Brad Pitt, who wanted to make a film his nieces and nephews could see. He explained: "They can't get into my movies. People's heads getting cut off, and all that."[4] Pitt had already tried to narrate DreamWorks' previous animated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, but "it didn't work," with Matt Damon taking over the role.[4] Pitt's purist intentions worried him that his Missourian accent would not be suitable for his Middle Eastern character.[4] Despite that, the film-makers persuaded him that his accent would lighten the mood.[4]

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.[4]



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 before the VHS and DVD release of the film.[5] Burger King released six promotional toys at the time of the film's release, and each toy came with a "Constellation Card"[6] Hasbro Inc. produced a series of Sinbad figures as part of its G.I. JOE action figure brand.[7] The figures were 12" tall and came with a mythical monster.[8]

Home media

The film was released on DVD and VHS on November 18, 2003.[9] The DVD included a six-minute interactive short animated film Cyclops Island, featuring an encounter with the eponymous Cyclops.[10]

Cyclops Island

Cyclops Island (also known as Sinbad and the Cyclops Island) is a traditionally animated interactive short film that acts as a sequel to Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, taking place shortly after the events of the previous film.

Instead of travelling to Fiji, Sinbad and his crew decide to spend their vacation on the tropical island of Krakatoa. While attempting to find a source of fresh water on the island, Marina and Spike run into a tribe of Cyclops who they have to defeat with the help of Sinbad, Kale and Rat. When Sinbad dislodges a large boulder during the fight, a volcano erupts and the island goes down in flames. Marina then suggests looking for a nicer destination for their next holiday, such as Pompeii.

While watching the short film, the viewer can choose to follow different characters to see different angles of the same story. The viewer can follow Sinbad, the duo of Kale and Rat, Marina, or Spike. Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Haysbert and Adriano Giannini all reprised their roles from the original film.


Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes reported that 46% of its critics gave positive reviews, based on 122 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Competent, but not magical."[11] Metacritic gave the film a 48/100 approval rating based on 33 reviews.[12] However, Roger Ebert gave the film 312 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".[13]

That the film removes the story from its Arabic context and places it in a 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", and claimed that "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". At one point, Shaheen asked Katzenberg to include some references to Arabic culture in the film. According to Shaheen: "He didn't seem surprised that I mentioned it, which presumably means that it was discussed early on in the development of the film."[14]

Box office

On the film's opening weekend, the film earned $6,874,477 for a $2,227 average from 3,086 theaters, and $10,056,980 since its Wednesday start. It reached sixth place at the box office and faced early competition to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Finding Nemo and Hulk. The film rapidly declined with a 37% second-week plunge to $4,310,834 for a $1,396 average from 3,086 theaters and finishing seventh. The film closed on October 9, 2003 after earning $26,483,452 in the United States and Canada with $54,284,432 overseas for a worldwide total of $80,767,884.[2]

DreamWorks Animation suffered a $125 million loss on the film, to which Katzenberg commented: "I think the idea of a traditional story being told using traditional animation is likely a thing of the past."[15][16]

Video game

A video game based on the film, titled Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, was released on October 21, 2003.[17] Published by Atari and developed by Small Rockets, it was released for PC.[18]


All music composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, except as noted.

No. TitleArtist Length
1. "Let the Games Begin"    3:04
2. "The Book of Peace"    1:41
3. "The Sea Monster"    3:32
4. "Sinbad Overboard"    3:27
5. "Syracuse"    1:16
6. "Proteus Proposes"    1:12
7. "Eris Steals the Book"    1:53
8. "Lighting Lanterns"    1:29
9. "The Stowaway"    2:35
10. "Setting Sail"    1:40
11. "Sirens"    3:22
12. "Chipped Paint"    2:52
13. "The Giant Fish"    1:05
14. "Surfing"    3:04
15. "The Roc"    2:00
16. "Heroics"    2:11
17. "Rescue!"    2:18
18. "Is It the Shore or the Sea?"    3:28
19. "Tartarus"    10:12
20. "Marina's Love / Proteus' Execution"    2:02
21. "Sinbad Returns and Eris Pays Up"    7:45
22. "Into the Sunset / End Credits"    2:22
Total length:


  1. ^ In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation.[19]


  2. 1 2 "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  3. Rowe, Robin (May 28, 2002). "Linux Dreamworks Redux". Linux Journal. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas Preview". Entertainment Weekly. April 25, 2003. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  5. DreamWorks SKG (May 12, 2003). "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". Business Wire. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  6. "Sinbad Sails His Way Into Burger King". 2003. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  7. "DreamWorks, Hasbro in 'Sinbad' Toy Deal". Los Angeles Times. June 10, 2002. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  8. DreamWorks SKG (June 10, 2002). "DreamWorks SKG and Hasbro Team Up for Action-Packed G.I. JOE Figures Based On The New Animated Feature Property, 'Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas(TM)'". PR Newswire. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  9. Ball, Ryan (November 18, 2003). "Sinbad Sails Home". Animation Magazine. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  10. Simon, Ben (November 10, 2003). "Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas". Animated Views. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  11. "Sinbad - Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  12. "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas". Metacritic. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  13. Ebert, Roger (July 2, 2003). "Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  14. Clarke, Sean (July 23, 2003). "Printing the legend". The Guardian. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  15. Eller, Claudia; Hofmeister, Sallie (December 17, 2005). "DreamWorks Sale Sounds Wake-Up Call for Indie Films". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 11, 2013. The company nearly went bankrupt twice, Geffen said during a panel discussion in New York this year, adding that when the animated film "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas" flopped in 2003, the resulting $125-million loss nearly sank his company.
  16. M. Holson, Laura (July 21, 2003). "Animated Film Is Latest Title To Run Aground At DreamWorks". The New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  17. Scott, Jonathan (October 21, 2003). "Sinbad Sails Into Stores". IGN. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  18. Krause, Staci (January 23, 2004). "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas Review". IGN. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  19. Chney, Alexandra (July 29, 2014). "DreamWorks Animation Q2 Earnings Fall Short of Estimates, SEC Investigation Revealed". Variety. Retrieved July 30, 2014.

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