Friday, October 5, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Treasure Island

Since Treasure Island was already done as their first ever full-length live-action movie, Disney decided to ride off the slight success of Titan A.E. by turning the old pirate story into a sci-fi adventure. This followed their other adventure movie, the previous steampunk feature, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, but prior to the first of their swashbuckling series, Pirates Of The Carribean.

Set in outer space, young troublemaker Jim Hawkins helps run an inn with his mother. One night, he helps a crashed pilot who hands him a mysterious orb. A gang of shadowy pirates then burn down the inn looking for the orb. Jim escapes with his mother, and has the family friend Delbert(an egotisitcal dogman doctor)look at it. He discovers that its a starmap that leads to the fabled Treasure Planet which is the stronghold of a legendary space pirate, Captain Flint, who left all his loot there. Delbert hires a ship lead by the foxy feline Captain Amelia to find Treasure Planet, although its unknown to them that most of the crew is made up of the pirates that were first looking for the orb. Jim is sent to work in the galley with the ship’s cook, Long John Silver, who is really the head of the pirate gang. They both eventually become friends during the journey. Although when Jim learns of Silver’s true intentions, he warns the Captain. Jim, Delbert, and Amelia escape to Treasure Planet. Once there, Jim befriends the brainless robot B.E.N. that worked for the pirate Flint. Silver eventually corners Jim and convinces him to show him how the orb works. Its revealed that the entire planet is really a space station that has warp gates leading to all points in the galaxy which Flint used to plunder starships. The planet then starts to break up, so Jim and the remaining pirates then team up to use their ship to escape in a warpgate back home. Jim then lets Silver go, and joins the space navy. His mother reopens the inn with some treasure that Silver gave Jim, and suprisingly, Delbert and Amelia get married and have kids.

This was a decent “space pirate” movie, although it for me falls more in the “pirates in space” category since it has the actual starships looking like 18th Century galleons. Anyway, I was impressed by Disney’s attempt at taking a children’s classic and reinterpreting it in a different way, although certainly better than what they did with Oliver & Company. They also managed to add some actual depth to their main male protagonist, who in most Disney productions is just your average dashing prince archetype, but also didn’t need to be singing about his problems every couple of minutes like Aladdin. The design of most of the characters was pretty good too, especially with the Chuck Jones-type facial features. Despite its initial lukewarm opening, Treasure Planet is a very watchable movie, and at least makes for a worthy rental.

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