Sinbad Movie Largely Ignores Tale's Arab Origins

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"Artists are drawn to Sinbad because of his mythical qualities," said Logan. "He's such a fun character to write, the swashbuckling rogue who battles monsters of all kind. He's always this playful jester who finds nobility in his life. Our movie pays homage to the spirit of Sinbad."

The story in Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas takes a detour from earlier interpretations. This time, Sinbad (Brad Pitt) is framed by Eris, the Goddess of Chaos (Michelle Pfeiffer), for stealing the powerful Book of Peace.

Sinbad must retrieve the book or else his best friend, Proteus (Joseph Fiennes), will be killed. Proteus' betrothed, Marina (Catherine Zeta-Jones), sets sail with Sinbad, and the two encounter various monsters and obstacles during their journey into Eris' evil world.

The moral of the story, however, remains the same. Whether he's braving dangerous creatures or evil tyrants, Sinbad never relies on mere destiny. Instead, he takes matters into his own hands, finding solutions by using his ingenuity, diplomacy and strength.

"Like Odysseus, Ahab, and other mythological characters, Sinbad is a great archetype," said Logan. "In his quest, he gets to know who he truly is." Some scholars suggest that the tales of Sinbad's adventures influenced Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.

Transcending Cultures

Logan, who wrote the screenplays for Gladiator and the latest Star Trek movie, had never written a script for an animated film. He says he found the experience "wonderfully liberating."

"With animated movies, the sky is the limit," he said. "You don't have to worry about how you're going to fill the Coliseum [in Gladiator]."

Logan also enjoyed a great deal of poetic license. Rather than attempting to bridge the cultural or religious aspects of the original Sinbad adventures, he invented a new cosmology for the movie. The geographic locations in the movie are all fictitious. There are no theological references. The story even incorporates Greco-Roman mythology.

"It's a landscape of the imagination," said Logan.

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