Treasure Planet


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

For a writer to have one seminal work under his belt is an achievement. To have two is showing off. Robert Louis Stevenson, due to his Presbyterian Edinburgh grounding, was never a man to flaunt his talent and yet who hasn't heard of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde and Treasure Island?

Just about everyone in Hollywood has had a go at these, many times. The latest is Walt Disney. Making the T island a cartoon continues a fine tradition and locating it in space only adds to George Lucas's theory that wacky looking aliens are great box-office.

Jim Hawkins is a typical teenager, in trouble with the law, dangerous on a skateboard, moody, self-pitying and unfocused. The reason is spelt out in the language of political correctness: his daddy deserted the family. His mom, who is kind and good and true, works her fingers to the bone, running the inn. She's at her wit's end about what to do with the boy.

But you know and I know and the guy singing that song knows, the kid's all right. He just needs... a dad. He finds a surrogate in Long John Silver, except he isn't called that and is working, at least at the start, as cook on a space galleon.

The island, or planet, contains all the gold stolen by the galactic pirate, Capt Nathaniel Flint, an orc-faced monster with six eyes. The captain of the ship is a fine figure of a gel (voiced by headmistress Emma Thompson) and the crew are an assorted bunch of Men In Black extras. Silver has a peg leg, an arm like a Swiss army knife and one eye that operates as a telescopic lens. His pet is a shape-changing blob, called Morph. The other funny character - that's funny ha-ha - is B.E.N (aka Ben Gunn), a brain damaged robot who's been "living" on the planet all alone for donkeys until Jim and Co bump into him.

Luckily no one bothers with space suits, or any of that rot, and although they have a scare with a black hole, the galaxy looks like a view from Star Trek's waste paper basket. They follow the story reasonably faithfully, which means hardly at all, not that it matters, and have a lot of fun doing it. The sentimental stuff works for a change. Jim rides a mean solar surfer. You gotta be proud.

This is for single parent families.

Reviewed on: 13 Feb 2003
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Robert Louis Stephenson's reimagined classic, in outer space?!

Director: Ron Clements, John Musker

Writer: Ron Clements, John Musker, Rob Edwards

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brian Murray, Emma Thompson, David Hyde Pierce, Martin Short, Patrick McGoohan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Wincott, Dane A Davis

Year: 2002

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US


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