First thoughts right after watching the Movie
My first thought right after watching the movie is that I always sensed some sort of tension with them, and that some of their dialogue was weird. It seemed like they were long lost lovers instead of friends who just split apart, with one person begging and pleading, and all of the “eye looking” that took place. When I reviewed this film almost 4 years ago, I have to admit that I was a bit too harsh on it, and there’s a lot more detail than I thought. Honestly, these two have one of the most complex friendships in animated cinema, and it only reminds me how FRUSTRATED I was with this film, because it had so much potential, and as it got closer to the end, it blew it.
We start with Sinbad and his crew ransacking the boat of Syracuse to steal the Book of Peace. Sinbad is shocked (with his eyes widening) and physically stops when he sees that his childhood friend Prince Proteus is fighting off some of his crew members. A pirate named Kale asks him how long it’s been, so Sinbad has clearly mentioned Proteus beforehand. It’s been a lifetime, and his first interaction is to tell the prince that he still fights like an old lady. Proteus is shocked to hear that voice, which causes the pirates to attack him. All the prince has is questions about what happened to him, and where did he go, but Sinbad tells him that he has things to steal, cutting their chat short.
A monster shows up to interrupt their fighting, and Sinbad initially plans to ditch the boat, claiming that they will keep in touch, but he is separated from his ship. Sinbad decides to help his friend out by lighting a barrel, and having the monster eat it. Long story short, the two kick ass together to defeat the monster, and both are muttering about how it was like old times. WHAT THE HELL were they doing for THIS to be like old times? Weren’t they kids? And one of them is the King’s son? From what I could analyze, they liked to kick ass together from what I can presume. The octopus grabs Sinbad, and Proteus instantly jumps in to save him, but his guards grab him to hold him onto the ship. Honestly, I am just going to say that these two are extremely intimate…… it’s a bit disturbing. All of the crap that has gone down, and most of it being unsaid, and the two act like things are fine; they have to have a really strong sense of intimacy.
Sinbad and his crew make their way back to Syracuse, soon after Proteus brings the Book of Peace to Syracuse. Proteus tells his guards to put their swords down (as they are surrounding Sinbad and his crew). The prince is thrilled that he gets to see Sinbad in twice a day, though joking that it’s only because there’s food and wine. Sinbad lightly taunts him about saving Proteus’ life again, so I guess this was a pattern when they were children.
Sinbad is thrown in jail, and is met with a pissed off Proteus, who is lecturing him about betraying Syracuse. The pirate is pissed because he actually has to commit a crime before being lectured and accused, claiming that the last time he saw the book was on Proteus’ ship, which he was there for. Proteus pulled out Sinbad’s sword that was found, and Sinbad realizes that Eris set him up. Here is where things get extremely homoerotic; Proteus is questioning that if he really knows him at all, since they were kids, but…. who is he now. The prince demands Sinbad look at him into his eyes with such ferocity to ask if he stole the book. After this gaze, Sinbad tells him that he did not steal the book. Honestly, they seem like long-lost lovers.
It is trial time, and Sinbad is about to be put to death for treason, before Proteus marches in, and demands that he is taken in Sinbad’s place. Proteus tells them to let Sinbad go to Tartarus to fetch the book, and the pirate is pissed, since he does not want Proteus’ life in his hands, and Sinbad would not do the same thing for him. Of course, the righteous prince does not care, and is stuck to his word. Overall, Proteus will die in 10 days if Sinbad does not return with the book, only for him to mutter not to be late.
While Sinbad and Marina prolong their sexual tension, the King of Syracuse enters the cell to tell his son that there’s a boat that will take him away from Syracuse, but Proteus of course refuses. His father tries to talk some sense into him, saying that the Sinbad he knew as a child is gone, and that he has no intention of coming back to Syracuse. So from I could pick out from this scene is that the father obviously knew Sinbad, and seemed fond of him enough as a child, but something changed. I am going to guess that it has something to do with socioeconomy.
A few scenes later, Proteus is mentioned by Marina, mentioning that he has a ridiculous amount of trust and faith in Sinbad. They met because a couple of thugs were chasing after him around the palace, and Proteus climbed down the castle to fight the guards and save him, as the prince watched the entire thing in his room. Again, HOW OLD WERE THEY? They had to be like….. preteens at the latest? They had been separated for 10 years, and I am sure they all are in their early 20s. And the King obviously knew about their friendship. Marina asked him about what happened, and Sinbad confirms that they took different paths due to socioeconomy, and….. her. Apparently being a pirate was not what he wanted, as him and Proteus had plans to be in the Navy together, but socioeconomy of him being a prince, and aging split them apart. He was not jealous until he saw Marina arrive to Syracuse to start her relationship with Proteus, so Sinbad took off, and they left. This is a lot of drama for young teenagers.
Sinbad tells him that he couldn’t get the book, and that his friendship means much more. The pirate is then set to be executed, but Eris interrupts, and angrily yells about him foiling her plan, so because she swore on her word, she gives him the book. Proteus invites him to a party, and Sinbad politely declines, because there is still the huge elephant in the room regarding Marina. Sinbad tells him to get a haircut, since he will be king soon, and the two end on that note.
Overall, this interaction only reminded me of the wasted potential that is in the film, but overall, it’s pretty nice. We learn that they met by Proteus saving Sinbad with the guards, the two had some deep conversations, but politics and class (as well as a girl) split them up, but there is still that bond. If I were to compare them to someone, I would compare them to the two main characters in The Fox and the Hound. There is a lot too depth, and if I were to be honest, maybe a bit too much depth.
2 thoughts on “Dr Friendships: Sinbad and Proteus”
This movie could have been really good but was confusing. Why mix Sinbad, Greek mythology, Fidzi, new fantasy consepts as far as I know with the book and the clothing choices that do not seem to with any setting? The film dies not feel grounded.
The backstory with the Prince does not make much sense either, why seeing Marina would be so impossible to overcome, its like the worst verion of love at first type trope. Now that you did go there it feels that the plot would make more sense that Sinbad and Proteus were in love and Sinbad could not handle that he was marrying a woman. Feels like someone really wished this was the olot but could not make it reality so its just bunch of wierd interactions. And I am not a person who usually sees this kind of subtext in films.
I would say they met as kids but were teens when separated and now are in late 20s (their character designs and voice actors aren’t young) if it weren’t the fact that why Marina and Proteus aren’t married yet. People waiting for an arranged marriage don’t wait that long unless they are still kids.
This film had potential and some nice moments and a great soundtrack so its sad it could not be better. And I wached a bit from YouTube and the CGI creatures were really bad and Eris’s voice actress was not good, in the Finnish dup I watched as a kid the actress was excelent.
Thanks for the brilliant comment.
I feel like if the film focused more on the friendship (and elaborating on it) instead of the romance, it would have been a lot better.
It wasn’t like he spoke to her when they were younger, so the obsession made more sense. He saw her coming in as he was leaving, and they were most likely in their early teens.
I usually do not see subtext like that in films (especially animated), but after The Road to El Dorado (and the intentions during the production of the film), it just came up. Your explanation for everything makes the most sense.
The CGI is REALLY bad, and it’s weird because early DreamWorks handled CHI integration well beforehand. A lot of unrealized potential. I think the voice actress for Eris is just so used to live-action, and from some production notes I found, the actress was struggling with the role and voice acting.