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Treasure Planet

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
Treasure Planet

from Film Forum, 11/27/02

Treasure Planet mixes Disney animators' work in traditional drawing and in digital invention. They sketch a whole new take on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure, making it an interplanetary thrill-ride for the family. Young Jim Hawkins jumps aboard a ship that, at times, bears a striking resemblance to Captain Hook's pirate ship. There, he makes the acquaintance of a cantankerous captain named Silver who is questing for buried treasure.

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) calls the movie "a rip-roaring thrill ride of a movie that will excite young and old alike. Both [Silver and Jim] set out to find riches, adventure, and personal glory only to discover something that proves to be far more valuable and rewarding." As a caution, he adds, "The very young may want to sit this one out, however. The action is loud, frenetic and full of life-threatening situations which may be overly frightening to them."

David DiCerto (Catholic News) praises the film's animation and story, which "explores the complexities of father-son relations, the alienating repercussions wreaked by severed bonds. The film's timeless theme of empowerment through the realization of one's true self-worth is much needed for a generation lost in space." But DiCerto is not entirely satisfied. "Unfortunately, eclipsing [Disney's] acumen and artistry are the omnipresent merchandising efforts sure to accompany the film's release. This strategy that dominates much of Disney's corporate thinking is ironic, given the picture's strong message of valuing personal relations over material gain."

The film opens Friday, and Film Forum will offer more reviews next week.

from Film Forum, 12/05/02

Disney's Treasure Planet, which transforms Robert Louis Stevenson's classic island adventure into a Star Wars-style space epic, continues to draw high praise from Christian press critics, just as it did last week.

Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) says, "In addition to being visually dynamic and flat-out entertaining, the movie includes themes parents and teens can explore together: The source of true wealth. Choosing friends and judging character. The transformation of Jim from an aimless troublemaker to a young man of purpose. Self-sacrifice. Loyalty. Mercy. Justice. Families may wonder if a film with so much going for it has anything working against it. Not really."

Phil Boatwright says, "The film … has a visually stunning look. The perfectly chosen voices, the humorous dialogue, and the adventurous story are each engrossing, making this one of the most creative children's films of this year. There's also an important message about friendship, integrity and self-sacrifice interwoven into the action."

Lisa A. Rice and Tom Snyder (Movieguide) agree: "Treasure Planet is an excellent movie for the whole family. In fact, it may be the best animated movie of the whole year."

Holly McClure (Crosswalk) offers a caution to parents: "While I enjoyed the movie and liked the fact that an old classic was remade into a modern sort of 'pirate tale' for kids, this one still has a few scenes that prevent it from being kiddie-friendly."

James Akin (Decent Films) writes, "Stevenson's book is a ripping adventure tale with more plot twists and more character depth than many children's books. By following its story as closely as they have, the filmmakers have retained much of what made the novel a classic." Paul Bicking (Preview) concludes, "Stevenson's story loses none of its excitement in this reimagined tale that's sure to be a holiday treat."

But many mainstream critics were not quite so enthusiastic. Owen Gleiberman (Entertainment Weekly) asks, "What can you say about a cartoon in which the super-ultra-bland teen adventurer hero has not one, not two, but three annoying jabber-happy sidekicks?" And Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) asks, "Why not challenge the kids with a version of an actual book written by a great writer, instead of catering to them with what looks like the prototype for a video game?"