003797Reviews & Counting
Treasure Planet
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Treasure Planet order
John Musker & Ron Clements

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Brian Murray
Patrick McGoohan


star Printer-Friendly version
Disney boards ship with this galactic, animated revision of Robert Louis Stevensonís classic Treasure Island. Jim Hawkins is a mischievous, fatherless boy in whose hands falls a secret treasure map pointing the way towards a planet that holds the loot of a legendary space pirate. On board the space galleon RLS Legacy, Jim and a cantankerous crew take off to seek the Booty of a Thousand Planets.
Disneyís biggest ever money loser, TREASURE PLANET is, in fact, a wonderfully, well told story and a wonderfully, well animated film. With Disneyís usual blend of creative characters and the studioís magical way of turning any story into a fairy tale, the world of pirates and hidden treasures, explored many times in the past takes yet another turn towards legend with this new and refreshing approach that is filled with drama, excitement and non-stop action.

At the helm of the story is young Jim Hawkins, the latest in Disneyís line of heroes with a chip on his shoulder. Longing for his father, who walked out on his family, Jim takes to becoming the local rebel much to the dismay of his innkeeper mother. When his chance to make something of himself comes along, Jim hops aboard the RLS Legacy and takes off for new worlds, new life and new civilizations...oops, wrong story... but you get the picture, he takes off in search of the Universeís biggest treasure. Along the way, Jim runs into some great characters such as the feline Captain Amelia and Mr. Silver, the half-man/half cyborg cook who also just happens to be a technological breakthrough in the art of animation. The story soon becomes an exciting blend of action, heartbreak and adventure with something for everyone. This is not one of those childrenís films that parents will eventually climb curtains to avoid.

The revolutionary matching of traditional animation and CG is also most definitely impressive, if only because of the seamless way both styles flow into each other. While the Special Features on the DVD allow you to understand the techniques, the film itself will simply leave you in awe of them with the Spanish-style galleons floating through space, offering two of historyís most dramatic elements in the same environment. Along with the great soundtrack and inherent excitement of the hunt for hidden treasure, TREASURE PLANET is a definite must-see and despite its box-office disappointment, sure to become yet another lasting jewel in Disneyís well-rounded cinematic trasure chest.
The DVD, as most Disney releases, contains a substantial amount of interesting bonus material. Although theyíve stopped releasing their double-disc sets, they have managed to cram enough stuff into this single disc, to make for some fun extra hours of interaction.

RLS Legacy: Virtual 3D Tour and Treasure Hunt:

Technical Tour (10 minutes): Andy Gaskins, the film's artistic director takes us on a tour of the RLS Legacy and explains the technical aspects of making the ship. This is pretty neat, even for technical morons such as myself. For someone who is actually knowledgeable enough, the interest is probably even greater.

Nautical Tour (10 minutes): Production Designer Steve Olds follows the same tour as above but this time, he fills us in on how the ship is supposed to work in the film. Solar sails, gravity generators and such are briefly explained.

Treasure Hunt: Treasure Hunt is an interactive game in which you search for pieces of a map in order to get to the treasure. I have to admit that I quickly lost patience and didnít see this through to end. Itís pretty slow and not very well explained so kids may get pretty sick of this real quick.

DisneyPedia: The Life of a Pirate Revealed (15 minutes): Kids (and myself) will enjoy this little tutorial on the topic of pirates. Topics touched are the different types of pirates, their flags and insignias, a brief recap of some legendary pirates and more. Donít expect it to go into a lot of detail, but it will definitely be enough to send the younger ones on a treasure hunt to find out more about pirates and hopefully even encourage them to maybe pick up a book and find out more!

Disneyís Animation Magic: Hosted by Roy E. Disney (15 minutes): The affable Roy Disney goes through several topics related to a bunch of cool things about the many techniques used to blend traditional animation techniques and modern CG, as well as character design, the editing process as well as other topics. The presentations are a bit fractured with each topic appearing sort of like a different episode instead of flowing into one another, but it does make it simpler for the younger ones and easier to repeat them individually.

Music Video: Iím Still Here (Jimís theme) by John Reznik of the Goo-Goo Dolls: The song is pretty decent and seeing as this is the first time in a while that a DVD actually includes a tune that isnít some stupid rap thing and features actual music...thumbs up from me

Feature Length Audio and Video Commentary: This combines two different features into a huge, very detailed explanation of the film. While you hear a regular audio commentary during the movie, you sometimes get branched off into a video vignette hosted by producer Roy Conly and directors Clements and Musker. These little breaks feature all kinds of stuff ranging from technical info to deleted & alternate scenes and more. The audio commentary features a crew of animators talking about the making of the film. If you have a few hours to kill, this is a real interesting way of going about it.

Deleted Scenes (5 minutes): Three scenes are featured here, all of which are actually quite interesting. It should, however, be noted that if youíve gone through all of the other features, especially the video commentary, then youíll have seen all three of these by the time you reach this extra. Still nice to have them grouped together on their own though.

Behind The Scenes (45 minutes): This item branches out into another larger menu in which youíll find all kinds of miscellaneous stuff on various topics. Youíll have access to scores of photo galleries, character sketches, storyboards, posters, theatrical trailers and much more if you have the patience to sift through the menu.
I canít really come up with a good explanation as to why this film didnít have any measurable success in theatres. Maybe it's because it's a bit gloomier than most Disney films or maybe the sci-fi aspect turned some off or maybe the whole HARRY POTTER craze around that time allowed it to slip through the cracks, but hopefully a bit of time and support will give its DVD sales a chance to build on some solid word of mouth. The handsome DVD package should help as well since you get both a great film and some good features. If your kids (or yourself) are the type with big imaginations, this should definitely find a home in your collection.
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