As a film critic, I almost feel guilty for telling the truth about animated
movies. Things have changed. Just as inevitable as the passing of the horse
drawn carriage in favor of the horseless one, feature length cartoons should no
longer be hand drawn if the studios want the public to shell out fifty bucks to
take the family to see them on the big screen. Pixar has shown the way. The
future is computer generated animation. Audiences gave thumbs down to last
year's TREASURE PLANET and again to this summer's SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN
SEAS. Both are nicely drawn but lack the lush 3D realism of films such as TOY
STORY or FINDING NEMO.
Okay, there are exceptions to any rule. LILO & STITCH, the last successful
movie that was traditionally animated, soared because of its truly exceptional
script. It is possible to make traditionally animated pictures work, but it is
like swimming upstream against a strong current. Simple little CGI films such
as JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS have become hits. Studios, give it up. Save your
old animators for work on direct-to-video productions. Allocate most of your
animated budget to computer generation.
And one more thing, don't waste your money on marquee names for the voice
talent, unless their voices are really remarkable. The stars of SINBAD: LEGEND
OF THE SEVEN SEAS, Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer and Joseph
Fiennes, are wonderful actors, but their voices are just not memorable enough to
carry the production.
SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS involves the Goddess of Chaos, the Book of
Peace and a pirate ship, but it's a slapdash story that will rarely hold
viewers' attention. Wait for video, when paying a couple of dollars to rent it
will seem like a reasonable price to pay for a movie that will mildly amuse your
youngsters. And, whatever you do, don't waste your own time watching it with
them. Save that for when they pull anything by Pixar off of your bookshelf.
Pixar's movies are the ones that you want to own. SINBAD is purely for
SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS runs a long 1:26. It is rated PG for
"adventure action, some mild sensuality and brief language" and would be
acceptable for all ages.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes