Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

In this animated movie ‘Legend of the Sea’ the Singapore studio Cubix certainly has a lot working against it even before these filmmakers turned on their computers to get to busy. If one is going to make a CGI animated film and then have the nerve to set that film in the sea, one has to understand that they will be standing under the rather large and looming shadow of ‘Finding Nemo’. There’s no way around it. Dreamworks ‘A Shark’s Tale’, which had plenty of money to throw at their project was ultimately crushed under Nemo’s weight and a few years later the Weinstein released ‘Shark Bait’ also paled in comparison to that Pixar masterpiece. Now we have ‘Legend of the Sea’, and though it’s probably not fair to compare Pixar, which also operates under the deep pockets of Walt Disney, to this little studio Cubix, they’re the ones who chose set their animated film in the deep sea so the comparison are inevitable… if there was any comparison. You see even if there was no ‘Finding Nemo’, ‘Legend of the Sea’ would still be uniformly terrible.

Little dragon prince Draco is one of those irresponsible type young kids who would rather do anything other than take instruction from his aged instructor the Wise Lobster, but Draco would much rather be out and about playing with his friends Sam the Squid and Ping the Puffer fish rather than grooming himself to be the next king of the Eastern Sea. One day Draco, Sam and Ping decide to go out and play some pearl ball so Draco makes the fateful decision to snatch the legendary Luminous Pearl as his play toy, which be like some a dude taking the Holy Grail and carrying it to the Speakeasy. It would appear that all of the power and the secrets of the Eastern Sea are contained within this Luminous Pearl and were it to fall in the wrong hands, it would be disastrous.

The wrong hands of concern happen to belong to the evil Ocho, a humongous hideous octopus who engaged in a battle for the Eastern Sea with Draco’s father the Dragon King eons ago, with the result of the battle seeing Ocho defeated and losing five of her legs. We probably should call her Tres now, but she has a really bad attitude and probably wouldn’t find the humor in it that we do. Ocho has been planning and plotting for ages to take over the Eastern Sea and luck comes her way when Draco falls into her arms. Now with the Dragon Prince imprisoned, Ocho plans to use her leverage to convince the Dragon King to give up the pearl in trade for his son’s life, but of course the Dragon King has no idea where the pearl is at the moment. Draco on the other hand has realized the error of his ways and is plotting with his cell mate Star Lee, a Game of Death suit wearing, broken English speaking, kung fu mastering Star Fish, to get out of their prisons and help save the Eastern Sea. The battle will be a glorious one, but a tragic one as Draco must become a king to save the sea from the diabolical three legged octopus.

Recently I saw Pixar’s ‘Wall·E’, and again I know Cubix ain’t Pixar, but they are still playing the same game. I noticed in the Pixar film the incredible level of details in things like backgrounds and textures. ‘Legend of the Sea’ on the other hand possessed none of these little nuances. Quite honestly there are episodes of ‘Veggie Tales’ that trounced the levels of animation in this film. I understand that even creating a full length animated film even of this level is an incredibly arduous task, but when hard work still yields poor product then unfortunately that is just time wasted. Even though the movie takes place beneath the sea, there’s nothing in the animations or backgrounds that really gives you that under the sea type sensation. I guess it also didn’t help that the dragons were spitting fire under water either. But it’s not just the poor animation, subpar character models and lifeless backgrounds that work against ‘Legend of the Sea’, the pacing of the film was completely off kilter as the movie had no rhythm or beat to it, which would have helped immensely in allowing the audience to get past the substandard animation and transporting us into a different world. The dialog was fairly atrocious, the voice acting was poor with the English dub sounding a lot like bad Kung Fu movie dubbing, and the story was terribly derivative and unoriginal

There were a couple of decent things in ‘Legend of the Sea’ as the Kung Fu Star Fish which was pretty clever and funny to watch. As a matter of fact they might want to base a whole movie around that character and toss the rest of the octopi, sword fish, and shrimp guards in the trash. And the movie also had a couple of musical numbers. The last tune that closed the movie could very well be the worst song I’ve ever heard, but Draco’s ballad to his fallen father is still playing in mind and it absolutely refuses to leave.

Though one could question the fairness of comparing ‘Legend of the Sea’ to its bigger counterparts, whattayagonnado? It’s a slow moving, poorly paced, poorly animated fish film with show tunes. A little research on Cubix will reveal that they can make an animated movie really fast. That’s cool, but the next thing we need to work on is making an animated film that is less crappy. Good would be nice, but I will gladly accept less crappy.

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