Treasure Planet
3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
treasure planet Disney takes on another classic, Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, although this time instead of subtly undermining the original themes, the filmmakers basically throw everything out the window and set a very simplified version of the story in outer space. But this is a parallel universe kind of space, where people travel on tall, masted solar sailing ships and live in Jolly Olde Englande type houses. The story centres on the fatherless teen Jim Hawkins (voice of Gordon Levitt), who finds a map to the legendary planet where a legendary pirate stashed his legendary treasure. Jim joins up with the nincompoop Dr Doppler (Hyde Pierce), leaves his mother (Metcalf) and heads out to space. But a mutiny is afoot, as the crewman John Silver (Murray) is planning to overthrow the feisty Captain Amelia (Thompson).

While the animation is absolutely gorgeous, combining traditional hand-drawn art with computer wizardry, the production as a whole is slightly over-obsessed with wacky creatures and gadgets. This might not be a problem if there was more depth to the story, but the look of the film and the extra gizmos in it become everything here. It's obviously aimed squarely at young boys, with the central male narrative as well as lots of mild gross-out humour (one crew member is from the planet Flatula and speaks only in a series of ... yes, you get the idea). There are also not one but three comic-relief characters on hand. And the characters are as simple as the story; most seem only half-formed no matter how great they look. Doppler and Amelia are cleverly drawn as a dog-like man and a cat-like woman, and Hyde Pierce and Thompson make the most of this with their vocal work, but the script itself never goes anywhere with the idea. Fortunately though, the plot is so action packed that we hardly notice its thinness. Each scene looks wonderful, and the action is energetic and exciting enough to keep us hooked. Forget where it came from and it's not half bad.

cert U themes, violence 15.Dec.02

dir Ron Clements, John Musker
scr Ron Clements, John Musker, Rob Edwards
voices Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Hyde Pierce, Emma Thompson, Brian Murray, Martin Short, Laurie Metcalf, Roscoe Lee Browne, Michael Wincott, Patrick McGoohan, Dane A Davis, Corey Burton, Austin Majors
release US 27.Nov.02; UK 14.Feb.03
02/US 1h35

King of the world! Jim gets a big rush on his first trip into space...

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R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... treasure planet "Definitely a good movie; Disney may just be coming out of its slight slump, what with Atlantis, Lilo & Stitch and then this! The movie is wonderful, and you just can't help but 'aw' at Morph, our dear little shape-shifting friend." --Maitiu, Canada 24.Feb.03
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall