Not all animated movies are just for kids.
Around the early 2000s, studios got a little adventurous with their animated films. They tried to extend a hand to adults who were taking their kids to the movies and include storytelling elements for them. But sometimes these movies went a little far. Take Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.
This Dreamworks movie is mostly remembered for being a flop, but if you have the time, rewatch it, and you'll find a largely adult storyline about love, sex, and seduction.
Check out this video from Savage Books, and let's talk after the jump.
How Was Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas Dreamworks' Sexual Awakening in Adult Animation?
The movie tells the story of Sinbad (voiced by Brad Pitt). He's a pirate who travels the sea with his dog and his loyal crew, alongside Marina (voiced by Catherine Zeta-Jones), the fiancée of his childhood friend Prince Proteus (voiced by Ralph Fiennes), to recover the stolen Book of Peace from Eris (voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer) and save Proteus from accepting Sinbad's death sentence.
But what the movie is really about is the love triangle between Sinbad, Marina, and Proteus. She's in love with two best friends, and neither wants to stab the other in the back over a gal. That's some pretty deep stuff. This takes on the human heart and the conflict at the center of it. Probably not theses that are going to resonate with kids.
Outside of this adult take on love, there's a lot of innuendos about sex, especially in the scenes with the sirens and with the very sexualized villain, who is frequently shown in various of stages on undress, including mock-bathing moments and temptations. In various behind-the-scenes videos, this is shown not to be accidental, but a purposeful leaning into themes and tropes of the legend of Sinbad, which was far more salacious than the normal adaptations.
In fact, Dreamworks got in fights with writers on this movie, including Ted Elliot and Terri Rossio, who were very upset they tossed their script out and made a different ending. Elliot and Rossio would eventually go on to take the themes in this movie and put them into the live-action Pirates of the Caribbean films... which made a lot more money and actually were movies for older audiences with some cartoon qualities.
Still, since this was aimed at being a four-quadrant movie, nothing ever gets too explicit. They mostly dance around things, while still being unambiguously about good evil, romance, love, and sex.
With all this going on, I guess it's no surprise that the movie had real trouble connecting with audiences. It lost Dreamworks $125 million at the box office, but its legacy did not end there. This movie came out the same summer as Finding Nemo, so chances are it was always going to be eclipsed by Pixar.
But what it did do was show that animated movies could tackle complex issues. It was also a proving ground for moments of computer animation, which would ultimately kill off the hand-drawn, 2D look that had made Disney cartoons so popular before.
Have you seen this movie recently? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.