Treasure Planet review


I read Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” a long time ago. Like, Richard Nixon was president ago. But I remember the gist of it…

What I didn’t know until I grew up and Wikipedia was invented and my kids grew up and I went bald and retired and Diane and I had time to watch a 2002 animated adaptation, was how influential that novel had been. Over fifty movies! Multiple comic and book adaptations! Plays! The whole pirate-romance shtick with the parrot on the shoulder and treasure on a hidden island; it all came from that book.

Treasure Planet puts the whole drama in space, except there are still sailing ships, and I think captain Smollett is a squirrel now? Pew is a giant, terrifying spider. John Silver is a cyborg and Ben Gunn is a malfunctioning robot. The scene and action direction is first-rate; especially the chases and fights inside the ship. It’s a weird crossover and I’d buy a ticket to sit with Robert Louis Stevenson as he watched it. Do you think he had any idea how influential that fanciful tale would become?

Robert Louis Stevenson, portrait

Mind you, I love weird crossovers. It was a lot of fun recognizing the whole story in this animated feature. Of course not everything in the book (what I remember of it) is in the movie, but it tracks surprisingly close to the novel. Which, as was the style of the time, was serialized over a period of more than a year. The story is not profound or anything; it’s just for fun. I can only imagine how it must have boosted Young Folks magazine sales.

We made popcorn and enjoyed it. My favorite character was definitely squirrel captain Amelia. I recommend it for your kids – maybe not for real young kids because it’s pretty violent in places, and Scroop (the Pew character I think) is sort of nightmare fuel.

The CGI is not super-advanced but it’s still Disney animation. I have seen some of it in drawing tutorials. The world-building was first-rate. I mean, how do you animate a sailing ship escaping a black hole? They got it done, and it was good.

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Older technology guy with photography and history background