Treasure Planet (DVD)
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Neil, Goodwood. 30 June 2003
The included trailer of Pixar’s next fully computer animated movie, the undersea adventure Nemo, is a like a foreshadowing as to what is wrong with Disney’s Treasure Planet. Other than the delightful Lilo & Stitch earlier this year from Disney, with its blend of hand drawn animation and pastel colored backdrops, computer animation these days is what is hot at the box office. With all the technical razzle - dazzle of Shrek and Toy Story 1 & 2 as well as the witty Ice Age, do people still want to traditional animated movies?
Treasure Planet has been a major flop for Disney, causing the corporate to revise its earnings for the year because of the spectacular way it bombed at the US box office. Other for the argument of, do want people, especially teenage kids brought up with the fantastic graphics they now can experience on their PlayStation 2’s and Xbox’s nowadays prefer to watch CGI instead of hand drawn animation?, is there another reason why Treasure Planet has failed to draw audiences?
Allow me to answer my own question. What bugged me about the movie is probably what put others of as well, is the strange aliens used in the movie. Aliens come in all shapes and sizes and there is even one which has multiple appendages and talks in flatulence. In other words, farts are what it uses to talk with. Also I found the colours used in Treasure Planet very drab. There is an over abundance of brown and orange, with very few bright colours to help perk up the visual template of the movie.
Treasure Planet is a sci-fi reworking of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale of sailing boats, pirates and hidden treasure. All these elements remain in this new Treasure Planet except for the setting, which is now in space. The sailing boats now use solar sales to travel the galaxy far and wide with. One has to wonder if Disney should not have dropped the sci-fi elements and instead rather have told the original story as is? Would it have been more successful then?
Don’t get me wrong. I quite liked Treasure Planet despite all its problems and the problems are many. There is the irritating morph, a shape changing alien in place of Long John Silver’s parrot and then the most irritating character of all, B.E.N, the robot lost on Treasure Planet whose memory is incomplete.
Luckily there are some stronger characters as well. The ships captain, voiced by Emma Thompson, who is the every cheerful British officer personified. After getting badly hurt she says, all she will need is a nice cuppa tea and she will be as right as rain, or words to that effect. Her nice dry delivery of her lines cuased a smile whenever she was one screen
And then we have the strongest character of all, the vicious Cyborg Long John Silver, who dispute his crass nature might still have some good in him after all. He looks and manner reminded me a lot of the actor Ernest Borgnine.
The hero of the story James is some angst driven teenage ‘skater boi’, desperately in need of a father figure and direction in his life. This is of course a character model we have seen countless times in other Disney movies such as Aladdin and even the recent Lilo and Stictch.
All in all though Treasure Planet is not too bad. Enough elements of the classic story remain, so once you get past the strange looking aliens you can sit back and enjoy the story as it enfolds. There are also more than a few speculator action sequences to keep things bubbling nicely along, and more than a few people die along the way to make this somewhat more serious toned that what you would come to expect in a Disney animated movie. Also the Heinz Winkler (2002’s Idols winner) song is actually quite cool. It is a nice rock song and fits in very well with the movie. If you liked Disney’s Atlantis you may very much likely like Treasure Planet as well. For the rest stay clear.
Region 2 - Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories.