Review: Treasure Planet-Pirate Planet (2002)

Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker | 91 minutes | action, drama, comedy, animation, family, romance, adventure, science fiction | Original Voice Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brian Murray, David Hyde Pierce, Martin Short, Emma Thompson, Laurie Metcalf, Roscoe Lee Browne, Corey Burton, Dane A. Davis, Tony Jay, Austin Majors, Patrick McGoohan, Michael McShane, Michael Wincott

By casting the classic story of Scotsman Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘Treasure Island’ (‘Treasure Island, 1883’) in a modern, in fact, futuristic guise, Disney has succeeded in making an already timeless story even more attractive to young and old. Disney’s ‘Treasure Planet’ has become a spectacular adventure that young and old can enjoy.

The directors of ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Hercules’ wanted to make ‘Treasure Planet’ as early as 1985, but each time they were offered a different job. After all, they directed ‘Hercules’ in 1997, on the condition that they were allowed to do ‘Treasure Planet’. It’s been worth the wait, the animations are fantastic, the film is a sight to behold. CGI was often used for the background, the combination of this with traditional animation is very nice. Fans of the original story may take it hard to see Jim Hawkins and John Silver in a ‘Star Wars’ setting, but if you indulge in them, you’ll love the funny similarities and the clever transformations some have undergone elements of the story. For example, the Disney version of John Silver is not a pirate with a wooden leg,

The humor in the film mainly comes from the funny robot BEN, who has fun one-liners. The aforementioned figure Morph is also very touching and humorous. The character Dr. Doppler, who accompanies Jim in search of the treasure, has some amusing scenes with the (female!) Captain of the ship, Amelia. The action scenes are really exciting and draw the viewer into the story. Unlike in previous Disney classics, the characters in ‘Treasure Planet’ don’t burst into song every few minutes. There is only one song in the movie, during the scene of the growing friendship between Silver and Jim, and this song actually reinforces the scene.

The main theme in the film is the struggle between good and evil in humans. This is an important aspect in RL Stevenson’s publications (see also his later work as’ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)). This is what makes the story so special. (Almost) nobody is completely good or bad in this movie, not even the hero of the movie, Jim.

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