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Today we’re talking about the 2002 film Treasure Planet.
On the surface, this seems like a straight adaptation of the book, but there are a lot of small subtle changes to adapt it to a 2002 audience. Mostly we see it in the way that the main character views the world. Instead of the naive, wide-eyed boy of the book, we get a sullen bad boy wannabe. Both are rutted in a childhood ignorance that mirrors when they were written.
The rest of the changes are just as clever and make the whole movie work in a way that seems improbable, but is quite lovely.
I find it interesting that in the book, we discover that the dad was killed to hide the treasure and that Silver knew him, but that story line is completely dropped in this version. Again, probably a sign of the times, in that an audience for the book would be shocked at a dad who just left instead of dying at sea, while more modern audiences wouldn’t blink an eye.
The protagonist is just the right level of innocent, sullen, and clever to make him likeable. The rest of the characters range from cartoony to downright terrifying. It’s impressive that the movie can have such a range without it feeling jarring.
The blend of pirate/sea talk, modern dialogue, and science fiction speak is fantastic. It’s at the perfect level to be understandable to anyone yet still have little nods to the original and science fiction movies.
Visuals and music
The blending of animation techniques works so well that despite the early 3D animation this is still absolutely stunning. From the textures to the starscapes, everything looks amazing. The 3D is used extremely well for shots that just would be impossible in traditional animation.
The music is a nice mix of early 2000’s, epic science fiction, and pirate movie.
I enjoyed the movie and always love the nuances of the characters. My 2 year repeated the title and ‘cook’ for the first half. Not sure why, but he still watched. My four year old loved it.
The movie has all the buckle and swash you’d want with just a nice pinch of science fiction cleverness. Definitely one of the most underrated Disney movies.
If you enjoy pirates in space, this is the movie for you.
Final Score: 5 Stars out of 5*
*A 5 star review doesn’t mean the movie was perfect nor that it is perfect for everyone but it is a movie I believe is as close to perfect as possible.