Sinbad

Saw an advanced screening of it yesterday. The visuals are amazing… except for the characters. Those are decent, but nothing special, and really could have been much better. Overall, though, it was a good show, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes good action-packed animated movies.

Plus Brad Pitt’s voice is ever so dreamy.

Tom, is it true that it’s set in the Mediterranean? That Sinbad isn’t a, well, an Iraqi (to use the modern nationality)?

I read that they did this and it really bothered me. PC for no good reason. The Sinbad stories (part of the Arabian Nights) make it clear he’s from Basra! Basra for goodness sake! Personally, I can’t think of a better time to do justice to Middle Eastern mythology and to honor an epic hero from that region in an American film than right freaking now! (And a better PC reason to do so.)

(I know, I know. The Harryhausen flicks and this one aren’t retelling of the Arabian Nights stories. Those wouldn’t work as adventure films anyway since Sinbad is basically just a merchant sailor (not a captain) who is afflicted with wanderlust, survival luck, the inabilty to ever learn from his mistakes, and a weird habit of always falling overboard on every journey. I’d have played up the Iraqi/Middle East connection and made him a hero… personally, and I can’t see any upside in robbing him of his nationality or ethnicity.)

Well, you know, American audiences might not “relate” to him. Especially as he invokes Allah’s name for protection and guidance, instead of running at the screen, strapped with dynamite.

Well, he’s meeting Eris and Proteus, so I am assuming that these Greek Gods aren’t going to be cruising the Persian Gulf. Other characters include the Ambassador of Thrace (the female lead, nonetheless) and the King of Syracuse.

For the life of me I can’t figure out why they would take Sinbad out of the Gulf/Indian Ocean region. With Ali Baba and Aladdin, he is one of the trio of heroes who typify The Arabian Nights. Very odd.

Troy

Well, Arabs dominated the Mediterranean since the early 13th century. It would hardly be an improper setting.

Well, Arabs dominated the Mediterranean since the early 13th century. It would hardly be an improper setting.[/quote]

If you insist on appealing to history, the Arabian Nights take place in the years around the reign of Harun Al-Rashid as Caliph of Baghdad - he’s a character in a lot of them. He died in 809. I believe that Arab sea power at this time was largely confined to the Gulf and Indian Ocean.

Troy

“For the life of me I can’t figure out why they would take Sinbad out of the Gulf/Indian Ocean region. With Ali Baba and Aladdin, he is one of the trio of heroes who typify The Arabian Nights. Very odd.”

Not sure about either Ali Baba but Aladdin (to my own dismay) isn’t part of the true Arabian Nights. His is a story that is a part of the 1,001 Arabian Nights. It was written sometime in the 19th century.

Strictly speaking, yes, Aladdin and Ali Baba are 18th century additions to the 9th century text - Alf Layla also known as “1000 Nights”. Both were told to French translator Galland as he travelled the Middle East.

But popular imagination has them as canonical figures, and there is no doubt that they are Arab folk tales. The 19th century Burton translation is the most famous English one and Ali Baba and Aladdin, with Sinbad, quickly captured the imagination. Probably because all three tales are more self contained than the rambling “tale within a tale within a tale” structure that typifies most of the original book.

Troy

They never truly establish where Sinbad is from, I don’t believe. But Troy’s right–a lot of it (pretty much all of it) takes place in and around Greece and its mythos.