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Supposedly I'm an animator, which is why Patrick thought I should go see "Sinbad" and review it. I didn't particularly want to, because I kind of knew what we'd be dealing with.
"Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas" (full title) is a Dreamworks animated film, meaning it was paid for by Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen's company. Dreamworks has released a number of animated films, including "Antz", "Shrek" and "Chicken Run". I thought those ones were pretty good (although of course "Chicken Run" was actually made by director Nick Park and Aardman Animations over in the UK).
Those ones were also 3D-animated films (in the case of "Chicken Run", claymation). Dreamworks' 2D-animated films ("Prince of Egypt" and "Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron") have not been quite as successful. Sinbad continues in this tradition.
The film is mostly 2D, but tosses in some 3D elements which occasionally look a bit wrong. The voices are good, except for Sinbad (Brad Pitt) and Eris (Michelle Pfeiffer), whose voices were nothing special. The story is OK except for some unfunny lines. There are no talking animals or Disney songs. There is one dog, but he drools a lot and is funny. The tone gets pretty serious sometimes, which is interesting for a kids' film.
Basically, I found Sinbad pretty average. Will kids like it? Probably, but they'll go back to playing with their "Toy Story" dolls and watching the "Monsters Inc" DVD pretty quickly, and with good reason.
I like animated films, despite the fact I'm at least ten years over the projected age bracket for them. "Sinbad", however, made me feel that I was getting too old to enjoy them. Unlike other animated films, "Sinbad" didn't seem to have the jokes aimed at the adults who would be forced to sit through the film because their kids or younger siblings wanted to see it.
The story of this film felt disappointing, and it seemed to me that the scriptwriter, John Logan was not at his "Gladiator" best when he wrote this story.
Sinbad the sailor is a great tale about a sea merchant and the adventures he had. This film however does not show any of this but tries to "Disney" up the story to a cute little tale of love and triumph over the evil Goddess of Chaos (much like what Disney did with Hercules). Now this is not to say that what has been created is awful but it is indeed disappointing. I was hoping to see the adventures Sinbad is known for brought together in some cool animation but alas I was disappointed by expected love interest/redeem yourself/triumph over evil story we see far too often in animated films.This film is no "Shrek" or "Monsters Inc".
Fun quote from the press notes: "Brad Pitt gives
voice to the title character of Sinbad, or, the actor jokes, 'as I
like to call him, Sin-Brad.'"
The HULK film is called HULK, and not THE HULK. I don't know why this is. Especially when the website for HULK is www.thehulk.com. Either way, I liked the movie, whatever it's called.
HULK stars Eric Bana as Bruce Not-The-Hulk-Yet and Jennifer Connelly as The Beautiful Girl With The Really Big Staring Eyes. Directed by Ang Lee ("The Ice Storm", "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), HULK is not a comic book film. I mean, it is a comic book film, in the sense that it's based on a comic book character, but the director is not a comic book director, the actors are not comic book actors and the fact is that HULK is more like a monster movie (which makes perfect fucking sense) than you would expect.
HULK is the third Marvel Comics adaptation this year. First there was "Daredevil", which was pretty "eh", and was unpleasantly overwrought in a big-Hollywood-adaptation-of-a-semi-beloved-comic-book kind of way, then there was "X-Men 2: We Change The Subtitle For Every Country In Which This Film Plays", which I liked better because there was more and better fighting, more and better story and some really excellent bits that looked like they came right out of the comic (in a good way).
HULK also has bits like that, but what I really liked about HULK is that it starts off quietly, then HULK (or THE HULK) shows up, and he's a good computer-animated character, unlike, say, Distant Daredevil, and you start to care about him, and it's dramatic, and very slowly, the comic book elements creep up on you, and THE HULK is smashing helicopters and you're going, "YEAH! GO HULK!" and even while he's smashing the helicopters it's not being punctuated by mounds of Hollywood music and corny "big green man" funny lines, and finally there are some really nutty things going on but it's par for the course. Even the ENDING ENDING (as opposed to the dramatic climax) is good, playing on the "remember, there was a HULK TV show back in the '70s" thing without making me wanna retch.
I'll tell you what I didn't like so much: the split-screen whizzy camera stuff. There's A LOT of it. I realise it's meant to give you a whiff of comics panels, but I reckon they used it a little too much. Also, Eric Bana's accent is nothing special, but that could just be because I still see "Poida" when I look at him.
Oh, and Nick Nolte overacts like a motherfucker. I guess it's kind of fun to watch, but it doesn't quite fit with the rest of the movie, which is basically a low-key drama. Yeah, it's a drama! Except for the smashing helicopters.
PS: The film's better the second time.
Hulk makes the third Marvel comic film to be released this year and by far the best adaptation of a comic book to film I've seen yet. Unlike the '70s TV series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, film Hulk is a serious drama about a guy who when angered becomes a big green tank smashing thing.
Ang Lee has done a marvelous job showing the torment of Bruce Banner who doesn't want his alter ego Hulk to come out but revels in it when he does. This does show what a good script and a good director can create. However, the use of split screens to show people different viewpoints like 24 or even, as some have seen it, trying to emulate comic panels, did get annoying.
I did want to see The Hulk say some of my favourite lines from the comic book like "Hulk Smash" and "Why puny humans want to hurt Hulk?" but this was not meant to be.