Treasure Planet Blu-ray Review
TREASURE PLANET hit movie theaters in 2002. It was an interesting time for Disney with the age of animated musicals having run its course and the rise of the Pixar division in a pop culture explosion. About a decade before, Disney developed an adventure film of Robert Louis Stevenson’s TREASURE ISLAND. Directors Ron Clements and John Musker took the story from the high seas to galaxies far, far away and replaced the humans with a wide array of characters typically reserved for STAR WARS films. They placed a modern twist on an old classic while featuring both illustrated drawings and CGI. The result was really gorgeous.
Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a misfit who longs for a life full of adventure. After discovering a digital map that uncovers the secret location of the famous Treasure Planet, he embarks on a journey that thrusts him into the devilish lives of pirates in order to find Captain Flint’s mountain of gold doubloons and precious jewels. Scientist Dr. Dobbler (David Hyde Pierce) offers to fund the expedition and hires Captain Amelia to plot out a course. Unfortunately, Jim and company must overcome John Silver, the mechanical arm wielding cyborg pirate who leads the other crew members in mutiny against the ship. It’s up to Jim to lead his rag tag group through space to reach the treasure first before the pirates are victorious.
One of my favorite things about TREASURE PLANET was the comedic timing and witty comments from Hyde Pierce’s Dr. Dobbler and Martin Short’s B.E.N who was a robot that suffered from dementia due to a missing memory chip. Their characters were brilliantly written and delivered beautifully.
Until I watched the bonus features, I couldn’t put my finger on why I was confused by certain parts of the animation. It wasn’t until I learned about the morphing of digital CGI and drawn animation that it all made sense. An illustrated John Silver with a CGI mechanical arm and stumped leg wasn’t necessarily distracting, but you could tell something was different. It was as if parts of the film were “more clear” than others. It was interesting to see how far animation has come from the days of flip drawings.
TREASURE PLANET is a wild, space adventure that little boys will embrace with a passion. The background scenes and attention to detail in the CGI department is truly worth tuning in, as well as the opening scene with Jim on his space surf board. It’s definitely worth a rental or download.
Video: The backgrounds were visually stunning.
Audio: The wild and crazy efforts of the monster pirates were entertaining.
R.L.S. Legacy: Virtual 3D Tour (17:10): This featurette gives a virtual tour of the ship Dr. Doppler secures to find Treasure Planet. It’s very long and not worth more than a few seconds viewing.
Disneypedia; The Life of a Pirate Revealed (12:13): A small child goes through the different types of pirates, their flags and rules. He also educates the viewer on famous pirates and what makes a good treasure. It was completely unnecessary.
Disney’s Animation Magic: Hosted by Roy Disney (14:18): Mr. Disney gives a private tour backstage as TRESURE PLANET artists take traditional animation and merged it with digital.
Deleted Scenes (5:57): In the deleted scenes, Jim meets a young boy named Ethan and helps him fix his solar surfer. There’s also an alternate ending. I enjoyed the film’s ending better and I can see why the Ethan story was left out.
I’m Still Here (2:32): Music video performed by The Goo Goo Dolls.
The Brandywine School (2:24): This is a famous school where students learn the art of illustrations, including old oil painting options. It was interesting.
The 70/30 Law (1:39): I’m still a little confused about what the 70/30 law means. It has something to do with traditional scale vs. a modern feel. Perhaps this is a hint that viewers should skip this bonus feature.
Making John Silver (1:00): Animators practiced the CGI hook on an old animated Captain Hook from PETER PAN. I loved it!
B.E.N (0:48): B.E.N was also a CGI/animated character. They talked about how the two departments NEVER work together and how this was groundbreaking for Disney. When I got interested, it was over.
Maquettes (3:11): Maquettes are the small statues the animators use as reference for their characters. This was a history of the sculptures. PINOCCHIO was the first film to use maquettes and they’ve been utilized since.
Delbert Doppler (1:09): The animator in charge of Dr. Doppler talks about how he was an alien at first, then human, then changed into a dog-like character. I enjoyed the feature.
Pencil Animation: Amelia’s Cabin (2:10): This was a very boring segment on Captain Amelia’s cabin. Skip it.
Dimensional Staging (5:23): This was another uninteresting segment about dimensions in illustrations of the sails on the ship and how difficult it was to blend 2D with 3D animation. Skip it too.
Treasure Planet Found (2:08): I’m not sure of the point of this segment. It basically tells the story of the digital map and how to find Treasure Planet. It was all revealed in the actual movie, so it’s not worth wasting your time watching.