The Moose Hole - 'Planet' Showcases Vast Treasures
Walt Disney Pictures' Treasure Planet
Released November 27th, 2002
Directors: John Musker, Ron Clements
Starring: Emma Thompson, David Hyde Pierce, Martin Short, Brian Murray, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Premise: Based on one of the greatest adventure stories ever told -- Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island -- Walt Disney Pictures' exciting new animated space adventure follows fifteen-year-old Jim Hawkins' fantastic journey across a parallel universe aboard a glittering solar space galleon in search of the legendary "loot of a thousand worlds." Befriended by the ship's charismatic cyborg cook John Silver, Jim blossoms under his guidance, and shows the makings of a fine spacer as he and the alien crew battle supernovas, black holes and ferocious space storms. But even greater dangers lie ahead when Jim discovers that his trusted friend Silver is actually a scheming pirate with mutiny in mind.
The Walt Disney Company has retold classic tales many times over and over in their animated films but Treasure Planet is the first time the animation giant is retelling a classic novel in a totally different setting then in the novel. The road from idea to the big screen has not been easy for Treasure Planet. For nearly ten years, the film has been in purgatory because Jefferey Katzenberg, who was once head of the studios area of the company, thought it was better for the two directors to do more films like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin which worked then experiment with something very different. But now that Treasure Planet has been able to make it to the big screen, will Katzenberg be right that this is way too out there for audiences to accept or will the film be an overwhelming success?
The story goes that Jim Hawkins lives his single mother helping run the Benbow Inn. Helping is not quite the word since Jim is constantly getting into trouble. He has been stubborn and troublesome ever since his father left the family. When an old spacer named Billy Bones dies at the Inn after giving Jim a gold sphere, the journey of a life time has begun. The sphere is actually a map that leads to the loot of a 1,000 worlds on Treasure Planet but many villianous pirates, lead by Long John Silver, are after the the loot for themselves and will do anything to get it. Jim must have his wits about him to outsmart the most dangerous cyborg in the universe. The story of Treasure Planet is nothing short of spectacular. The classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson is brought to life in a whole new way. Many of the elements that were in the book are the same here except for some minor details. It would have been better to explain more on why Jim's father leaves but it does seem better not to bog down the movie with minor details like that. The relationship between Silver and Jim is clearly the focus, which is better for the overall flow of the film.
The characters are brialliantly brought to life by a fabulous cast in different areas. Brian Murry is clearly the perfect voice for the role of Long John Silver. He gives the old pirate great flavor and sounds just like he would sound coming from the classic book. Murray also plays off well with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who voices the rebellious Jim Hawkins. Their relationship is clearly the focus of the film and they do a good job of making good use of the story. Emma Thompson is great as Captain Amelia. Her use of large words within the course of the films allows the adults to enjoy themselves along with their kids. And who could forget Martin Short as B.E.N.? Though he appears late in the course of the film, he is one of the main highlights for this feature.
Overall, Treasure Planet is quite possibly one of the best films of the year. One has to question why this film was delayed for so long. Maybe it was better that the technology needed to complete such a task was advanced enough to make it perfect as it is. There are little to no problems at all with this film. The only squabble is the small details missing from Jim's father leaving. Other then that, Treasure Planet is the perfect film to watch during the holiday season. The music was the best in a Disney Animated film for quite some time. Though there is only one song within the film, it is a fabulous one at that. The score is brilliantly done by James Newton Howard, who never ceases to amaze the music lovers out there. Some elements of Treasure Planet, though, maybe be too frightening and intense for younger viewers, so precaution is much needed from the parents. All and all, Treasure Planet joins the racks as one of the best of the year. A triumphant leap for animation, which shows it is still alive and well.
My Rating: ***** out of 5
Any thoughts now that the film is finally released?