Sin Bad, Film Average.

From time to time, some of you stupid bastards have been known to suggest that I, The Atlantis Mantis, should write a 'positive' rant - going on about how marvelous something is. Such suggestions prove not only that you pig-ignorant monkeys have never understood anything in your God damn lives, but that you have absolutely no value or judgment system. But I love you all, so I will forgive you.

What you have to understand is that opinion is subjective, but human morality is an absolute constant. This, amongst other reasons, is why film reviews are stupid, but why the monitoring of your species is an absolute neccesity. I don't review films. I review YOU. ALL of you, because I'm a giant insect and your not.

As a giant insect I have a particularly unique perspective on things, and my enjoyment of a film is often relative to how much it relates to me as a giant insect and the familiarity I feel with it based upon my giant insect experiences. You, I imagine, judge films in much the same way, but without the giant insect part - which is why I would never try to force my giant insect opinion upon you (you, who are most probably not a giant insect). In short, whether I LIKE a film or not doesn't count for shit. Whether I, or anyone else who has ever forced their opinions on anyone else through the media ENJOYED a film is completely fucking irrelevant. What do I care if some pretentious cunt in some magazine liked a film or not? I don't. What do YOU care if some giant insect liked a film or not? You don't. All you care about is whether YOU enjoyed the film or not.

So, you might well ask, what is the fucking point in writing a bunch of analytical essays about film, if ones enjoyment of a film is entirely subjective? Well, because there are a lot more important things in this world than whether you, or I, or anyone else are having a good time or not, that's why - you gluttonous self-serving bastard.

Case in point. Dreamworks latest voyage into the stormy waters of incompetent marketing, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas has recently set sail against the tide of common sense for the distant isle of animation obscurity. Which is a shame because it has quite a lot going for it.

The most important thing to note about Sinbad is that it is a FILM. Actually a film, with characters and a story, and not a fucking fifties cartoon musical. This is only about the third or forth time something like this has ever actually happened in the history of American feature animation - so credit where its due. This is a film filled almost exclusively with human characters, whose human emotions and characteristics carry the narrative. In this respect a big a plus has to go to most (most) of the character animators for producing some of the very best human animation ever seen anywhere ever. Ever.

The bulk of the animation relates a perfect compliment of realistic character acting and animated exaggeration. The actors distinctive character traits manage to come through in the animation without it ever feeling ugly and rotoscoped (I'm talking to YOU Ralph), while at the same time the characters manage to avoid that perpetually bouncing volume-less motion that Disney forever perpetrate.

So Dreamworks have managed to make an actual animated film then. Like wot the Japanese have been doing for decades. Well fucking done Dreamworks, have a cigar. Oh, you've got one.

But then we come to the question of , having transcended the cartoon boundary into the realms of actual film making, whether the 'film' is any fucking good or not. The answer to which is...dunno.

The fact is that its almost exclusively a love story. A big character driven love story, and that as such, most of the screen time is taken up with big close ups of the lead characters (a brave thing in animation, well done the animators and character designers). Its essentially When Harry Met Sally on a boat, with crap monsters. REALLY crap monsters. So whether or not you buy into the story is 100% dependent on whether or not you like these two characters. I liked them. Most children will be bored shitless by them. You might hate them. One of them might remind you of an ex-partner, or you might just be distracted trying to figure out when Brad Pitt started talking with Mel Gibsons voice. Like I say, subjective.

So lets move on to the facts. Facts are fun. You can prove anything with facts.

The main characters aside, the rest of the film is an enjoyable but essentially half-hearted half-arsed romp. Half heart. Half arse. All cop.

For starters this is (inevitably) one of those films that reinvents history (and myth) in such a way that implies everyone everywhere since the dawn of time has been Californian. Sinbad looks about as Arabian as Brad Pitt himself, and the language is all disgustingly contemporary. Like one of the more pretentious, po-faced episodes of Xena. This is an ugly and despicable tradition that must be stopped right here and now, and for which there is no excuse, and that's that. Just because I didn't dislike the film, doesn't mean its not fucked up and should be held accountable for its sins (are you starting to GET it now?).

Continuing with this tradition, the film gives the impression that Sinbad has been sailing around Disney films for years, picking out members for his Star Trek inspired multi-racial crew from the various casts. The Chinese and Mongolian members look like he press-ganged them straight out of Mulan (fucking FUCKING Mulan) the Europeans from Hunchback and so on and so forth. The character designs, consequently, vary in quality - but all are well animated and have a nice palette. This said, the film will insist on flaunting that despicable atrocious ugly demonic hideous unforgivably ivisual and downright sickeningly blurry undefined two-tone shading system that Disney always use. Fuckers.

The worst character design of the lot, unfortunately, is the main villain. Crap villain. Sorry. Crap crap crap. Eris, Goddess of Chaos (girl power) is depicted here as a sort of crap female version of Hades from Disneys Hercules, with a bit of Ursula the Sea Witch thrown in for generic measure. This, in principle, is a great idea. A female version of Hades. Fucking brilliant. Some slinky bint doing that whole smoke-for-legs disappearing - reappearing gig. Fab. Only they don't pull it off. Alas there is note one second which goes by wherein Eris' head manages to stay on model.

Against the main character of Marina, who remains solid and constant throughout, this inconsistency really shows up - and is especially odd when you consider that Eris is played by Michelle Pfieffer, who has one of the most defined skulls ever built.

The film begins with a pirate sequence that gives you all that wacky animated kung-fu action that Disneys Treasure Planet kept cheating us of. In spite of some rather obvious reedits for content, this scene is a delight to watch and makes you wish there were more of the same throughout (there isn't). Instead the rest of the 'action' (read nondescript headache inducing rollercoaster bullshit) involves big crap CGI monsters. The human movement is so nice that you really wish there was more in the way of Argonauts style skeleton fighting, or visceral Minotaur battles, but nooooo. Instead its just a series of sequences in which well animated humans are superimposed over unconvincing lazy CG monsters with sloppy textures and interlacing polygons.

I like monsters. I AM a monster, and I was really quite offended by quite how crapulent the monsters really were. The first beast is a grotesque in-game graphics looking caboodle that is clearly ripped off of that Mike Mignola crab thingy in Disneys Atlantis, which attacks Sinbad's ship, apparently in a rage over NOT being cell rendered - and thus much shitter than its Disney counterpart.

Disneys Atlantis steals from The Iron Giant. Sinbad steals from Disneys Atlantis. See how the tree of crapulance grows.

All in all, it is apparent that the film makers have learned FUCK ALL from the Harryhausen epics, and not one bit of their quality is evident here. The stupid squid thingy is well below standards, and the giant fish is unforgivable. The owl wotsname near the end is slightly less shit, but only in a Poke'mon Movie sort of way. None of them remotely look like they are interacting with the human characters, and none even really get beaten up or end up in a fight with another monster.

What is interesting is that in the classic Harryhausen Sinbad's, everyone watched exclusively for the monsters and cared not one jolt for the tedious rent-an-actor narrative. This film seems to operate on the precise opposite principle. As a film, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas works quite well. As a SINBAD FILM it fails.

There were some other crap things about it, but I cant remember what they were. In conclusion then, I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure I LIKED it. But then this has never been about me, its about you. In future I will be sticking to talking about things I DON'T like, thank you very much.

The Atlantis Mantis.

p.s. And I'm not entirely convinced that the story really features seven seas either.

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