Harry Gregson-Williams,
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
(DreamWorks, 2003)

Dreamworks is an offshoot of Disney, the behemoth entertainment icon that controls so much of today's entertainment genre. Pixar, another member of the offshoot group and a rainmaker of sorts with such hits as Finding Nemo and Shrek, has allowed the computer generation to gain a firm foothold in the realm of fantasy and movies. Sinbad, Legend of the Seven Seas, an old-fashioned cartoon that came out this past summer, also generated some serious cash. Films today are often made at a huge cost with a huge budget, which means the music is cobbled together by using old tunes from old groups that are curiously enough part of the studio machine, or the music is forgettable, and blah. It is with much pleasure, therefore, that I can report that the music for Sinbad is neither forgettable nor blah.

The lush score begins with a nod to the old television show, Victory at Sea, with "Let the Games Begin," which is similar in style from the 1950s, or even earlier, during the time when Errol Flynn was king of the silver screen and escapism ruled the day. Echoing Flynn, the music underlines the charisma and mystic qualities of the rascally, but ever true-blue nature of Sinbad. As the composer, Harry Gregson-Williams, notes in his introduction to the story and its score, this story is ultimately a love story, just as it was in other movies he wrote the scores for, such as Antz and Chicken Run. The music for this movie is deeper, richer and fuller than music one would associate with a cartoon, albeit populated with voices like that of Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer and Joseph Fiennes.

"The Stowaway" is full of musical imagery, with the stealthy plucking of the harp and violin strings serving as a subtle counterpoint to the action. In hearing it, it is easy to visualize the action occurring on-screen, and the typical bits of business associated with a stowaway on board a pirate ship. Marina, the fiancee of Sinbad's best friend, Proteus, has stowed away to make certain Sinbad finishes the mission he is supposed to be on, which is returning a priceless book, The Book of Peace. Sinbad is being framed for the theft of the book, and the ransom demanded is that of an even exchange of the book for Proteus. Sadly, and not surprisingly, Sinbad decides to have fun in the Fiji Islands, and that accounts for some of the dramatic tension, as well as the miscellaneous splendor of the music, including the songs of the temptresses of the sea, the sirens. The music at this point is sung by Lisbeth Scott, Donna DeLory, Shaune Ann Feuz and Deena Russo, and is easily imagined as part of the magic of the sea. Thus, the imagery from the score is so vivid that one need not see the movie per se to imagine the story with a force and heroism that becomes a tapestry that would enthrall Penelope waiting for Ulysses on his long journey home.

There are a multitude of pieces on this fine CD, and the music evokes much that is magic about pirates, friendship, honor, love and betrayal and is well worth having a Disney moment.

- Rambles
written by Ann Flynt
published 7 February 2004

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