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Treasure Planet: 10th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 6, 2012 by  



By no means was “Treasure Planet” a bad movie, nor was it great.  There are a lot of action sequences featured throughout the film but I can see if boys dig the film more than girls.  But for people who enjoy watching popcorn action sci-fi films, then definitely give “Treasure Planet: 10th Anniversary Edition” on Blu-ray a try!

Image courtesy of © 2012 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

BLU-RAY TITLE: Treasure Planet

MOVIE RELEASE DATE: 2004

DURATION: 95 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:66:1 Aspect Ratio, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (For Adventure Action and Peril)

DVD RELEASE DATE: July 3, 2012

Directed by Ron Clements, John Musker

Based on the novel “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson

Screenplay by Ron Clements, John Musker and Rob Edwards

Animation Story by Ron Clements, John Musker, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio

Produced by Ron Clements, Roy Conli, John Musker

Associate Producer: Peter Del Vecho

Music by James Newton Howard

Edited by Michael Kelly

Casting by Mary Hidalgo, Ruth Lambert

Production Design by Frank Nissen, Steven Olds

Art Direction by Andy Gaskill

Featuring the Voices of:

Roscoe Lee Browne as Mr. Arrow

Corey Burton as Onus

Dane A. Davis as Morph

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jim Hawkins

Tony Jay as Narrator

Austin Majors as Young Jim

Patrick McGoohan as Billy Bones

Michael McShane as Hands

Laurie Metcalf as Sarah Hawkins

Brian Murry as John Silver

David Hyde Pierce as Doctor Doppler

Martin Short as B.E.N.

Emma Thompson as Captain Amelia

Michael Wincott as Scroop

Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” gets a futuristic twist in this amazing tale of a brave young man’s thrilling journey to new frontiers aboard a flying ship.  The greatest adventure of all time is now even better on Blu-ray.  “Treasure Planet” 10th Anniversary Edition is a new experience for a new generation!

Back in the late 1800’s, Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson penned the novel “Treasure Island” which was a coming of age novel based on Jim Hawkins, who works on a pirate ship in hopes to find gold.

While “Treasure Island” has received several film adaptations as far back as 1918 and a talkie version starring Jackie Cooper and Wallace Beery in 1934, most people may be familiar with the 1950 version because it was Walt Disney Studios first foray into live action film.  And the popularity of Disney’s “Treasure Island” would lead to a 1954 sequel titled “Long John Silver”.

Over 50-years after Disney’s “Treasure Island” was screened in theaters, Disney would once again release go back to the “Treasure Island” storyline but give it a sci-fi adaptation titled “Treasure Planet” and the film would become the 43rd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics line.

“Treasure Planet” would be co-directed by Ron Clements and John Musker (the duo known for their work on “Aladdin”, “The Princess and the Frog”, “The Little Mermaid”) and a film that would feature the voices of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Inception”, “(500) Days of Summer”, “50/50”, “3rd Rock from the Sun”), Laurie Metcalf (“Roseanne”, “The Big Bang Theory”), Emma Thompson (“Sense and Sensibility”, “Harry Potter” films”), Martin Short (“Father of the Bride”, “Innerspace”), David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier”, “Sleepless in Seattle”), Roscoe Lee Brown (“Logan’s Run”, “The Cowboys”) and Patrick McGoohan (“Braveheart”, “Danger Man”, “Secret Agent”).

The film would employ the “70/30 Law” which mean the film would feature 70% traditional artwork and 30% sci-fi and featured art that was promoted by illustrators associated with the Brandywine School of Illustration.  And that was to give a “classic storybook illustration” style utilizing a painted style with a warm color pallette.

While the reviews from critics for the film was split, unfortunately, “Treasure Planet” was one of the few modern Disney animated films that did not do well in the box office but did very well in home video sales when the DVD was released back in 2003.

And now, “Treasure Planet: 10th Anniversary Edition” has been released on Blu-ray courtesy of Disney.

“Treasure Planet” begins with a young Jim Hawkins reading a storybook about the legendary pirate Captain Flint, as the pirates would try to hide his treasure, which was rumored to be hidden in the mysterious “Treasure Planet”.

Fast forward 12 years later and Jim (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a teenager who loves solar surfing.  Unfortunately, he solar surfs into private territory and is caught by the robotic authorities, which upsets his mother Sarah (as voiced by Laurie Metcalf).

One day while waiting outside, a spaceship crashes near his mother’s restaurant and a pilot named Billy Bones (as voiced by Patrick McGoohan) tells Jim that he is trying to escape from a group that is following him.  When he takes Bones back to the restaurant, the people following him have landed near the restaurant.  Billy quickly gives Jim a sphere and tells him to be careful for a cyborg and then dies.

Meanwhile, the group following Bones comes into the restaurant and destroys it.  Meanwhile, Dr. Delbert Doppler, helps both Jim and his mother escape.

With nowhere to go and staying in Dr. Doppler’s home and astrology lab, Jim plays around with Billy Bones sphere and automatically a holographic map is generated and it shows a path of where Captain Flint’s treasure is hidden.  While Jim is excited about the treasure, for Dr. Doppler, this is is his chance to pursue the discovery of planets, something he has worked his whole life doing and now this is his chance.

So, Dr. Doppler uses his finances to finance the whole journey in which he and Jim can go find this mysterious treasure.  So, Doppler commissions a ship called the RLS Legacy which is piloted by Captain Amelia (voiced by Emma Thompson) and her First Mate, Mr. Arrow (As voiced by Roscoe Lee Browne).

While Dr. Doppler works closely with Captain Amelia is left aboard to work for the cook, John Silver (as voiced by Brian Murray).  But John happens to be a cyborg.

With Jim having been warned about a cyborg, can he trust John Silver?  Meanwhile, as Jim works with John, the two develop a good relationship, almost like father and son.  And because Jim’s father was never home and left his family, Jim never really had a father figure.  But when John tries to be there for him, is his emotions genuine or is John Silver trying to get close to Jim in order to gain access to the sphere that Billy Bones had taken?

VIDEO:

“Treasure Planet” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:66:1 aspect ratio).  And one thing I can say for this film is that it is very colorful.  Utilizing the 70/30 law of creating 70% traditional art and 30% sci-fi, while the CG renderings are good for its time and still manage to hold up quite well in 2012 (despite not having great detail as today’s CG films), the film still looks good.  Colors are vibrant (with little banding and also mild artifacts are preset) and detail is present.  Having owned the 2003 DVD, I can say that the detail seen in this film is the biggest difference between the Blu-ray and DVD versions is the detail.   But the film looks incredible on Blu-ray, not perfect but still a major upgrade from its 2003 DVD counterpart.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Treasure Planet” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  And this soundtrack is quite immersive!  From the ambiance of Jim outside his mother’s restaurant, you can hear the thunder rumbling.  Or during the more action intense sequences as weapons are being shot at each other, the booby traps that cause severe damage sounds fantastic via lossless.  There are many action scenes in which the lossless soundtrack just sounds incredible and immersive.  Surround channels are used frequently, as with the LFE.  And also, the dialogue and music composition by James Newton Howard (“The Sixth Sense”, “The Fugitive”, “Unbreakable”) are crystal clear.  Audiophiles should be happy with the lossless soundtrack of “Treasure Island”.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Treasure Planet: 10th Anniversary Edition” comes with the following special features:

  • Introduction by Laurie Metcalf – (:57) Laurie talks about taking viewers behind-the-scenes of the making of “Treasure Planet”.
  • RLS Legacy: Virtual 3D Tour  – Featuring the technical virtual 3D tour (9:29) by the artist coordinator and the nautical virtual 3D tour (7:40) by the production designer.
  • Disneypedia: The Life of a Pirate Revealed – (12:13) Featuring various mini-featurettes such as pirate definitions, pirate flags, real pirates, code of conduct, pirate ships, treasure: lost and found.
  • Disney Animation Magic – (14:18) A featurette with Roy Disney talking about Disney magic.
  • Deleted Scenes – (6:33) Featuring an intro by Laurie Metcalf and introduction of each deleted scene (a total of three including alternative ending) by John Musker and Ron Clements.
  • Story – Featuring an intro by Laurie Metcalf (1:01) and the trailer of the film “Treasure Planet” was inspired from, “Treasure Island” (2:08)
  • Music – Intro. by Laurie Metcalf (1:38) and featuring “Jim’s Theme” music video by John Rzeznik of The Goo Goo Dolls (4:13).
  • Art Design – Intro. by Laurie Metcalf (:48), The Brandywine School (2:24) and short feature about the 70/30 Law (1:39)
  • The Characters – Intro by Laurie Metcalf (:48), Jon Silver the Hook Test with Glen Keane (Supervising Animator for John Silver) (1:00), Silver Arm Test with Eric Daniels, CGI lead animator (:37), b.e.n. intro by Laurie Metcalf (:48), 3D Character 2D world (1:05) with Roy Conli, producer and a feature on maquettes (3:11).
  • Animation – Featuring an intro. by Laurie Metcalf (1:13), Delbert Doppler (1:09) with Supervising Animator Sergio Pablos, Silver Progression Animation (2:25) with Supervising Animator Glen Keane, Pencil Animation: Amelias Cabin (2:10) featuring Ken Duncan, supervising Animator for Captain Amelia, Rough Animation to Final Film Comparison (1:38) with Supervising Animator, Jim Hawkins.
  • Dimensional Staging – Introduction by Laurie Metcalf (1:08), Effects animation with Neil Eskuri (Artistic Coordinator) and Kyle Odermatt (Artistic Supervisor CGI) (1:19), Pose Camera with Neil Eskuri (1:42), Layout demonstration with Neil and Kyle (1:23), Treasure Planet Found with Neil and Kyle (2:08) and Lighting with both Neil and Kyle (1:12)
  • Release – Introduction by Laurie Metcalf (:35), Teaser Trailer (1:24) and Theatrical Trailer (2:22).

EXTRAS:

“Treasure Planet: 10th Anniversary Edition” comes with a slipcover case and also a DVD version of the film presented in widescreen (1:66:1), English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles are in English SDH.

A coming-of-age story.  A story about adventure.  A story filled with excitement, action and more!

Disney’s sci-fi animated film, “Treasure Planet” is indeed a Disney family film that is exciting and entertaining but sometimes there are films that you feel are good but yet don’t resonate well with the audience.  This is one of them.

In the case of “Treasure Planet”, many critics enjoyed the film but yet many people didn’t watch it when it came out and unfortunately, “Treasure Planet” has the distinction of being one of Disney’s modern animated films that didn’t do well in the box office.

The film tried to be different by focusing on sci-fi action, space pirates and a futuristic alternate version of “Treasure Island” and I enjoyed the action and the visuals at the time.  And its storyline of a young man getting the opportunity to make something of himself and traveling through the universe is quite exciting.

But then again…I realized that watching it ten years later, the storyline plot didn’t have the Disney magic that people are used to. And the characters, unlike other Disney films that tend to lean towards fantasy or feature a younger or cuter character, there is an obvious trend of how animated films perform of those that stick to the Disney formula of being a family film that attracts people of all ages.  And then there are animated films that tend to reach out to not necessarily the young children but slightly older kids and families.

The thing is, Ron Clements and John Musker are a directorial duo who are known for revitalizing Disney with “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin”.  But they are also creators who are creative and think outside of the box and during this age of animated cinema where people are used to seeing Pixar-based films, both Clements and Musker have continued to go the path of creating animation the traditional way.

From 1985 and working on “The Black Cauldron” (a film that did terribly for Disney but yet has its cult followers who appreciate it because it was different and also quite dark).  The same thing can be said with the duo’s last film “The Priness and the Frog”, a return to traditional animation, having a happy but also dark storyline and so different than what people are used to seeing from Disney.

Both Clements and Musker are used to thinking outside of the box and its a great thing.  They revitalized Disney through the creation of “The Little Mermaid” and I’m glad that Disney has let them continue.  But the problem is that compared to Pixar animated films which have been consistent moneymaking films for the company, these type of films that Clements and Musker make may be appreciated by their fans who appreciate their creativity and use of traditional animation.  I sure am a fan of the duo and their work, but I also realize, that Disney is an everchanging company that prides itself on big money making films.

So, what could have caused people to not watch the film?  For one, Disney films tend to captivate their young viewers.  Yes, the films captivate people of all ages but the characters are important for a Disney film.  The majority of the people focused in this film are guys.  There was no princess, there was no female character aside from Jim’s mother and Captain Amelia who are barely seen in the film.  And when watching the film with my nine-year-old, he thought the character of Jim Hawkins was cool but found the character of John Silver, too creepy!

According to my son, when I asked him what he didn’t like about the film, he felt that outside of Jimmy and his mother, everyone else seemed to creepy for him.  Granted, this is in an era where humans interact with alien species.  So, aliens that are not cute, may turn some children off.

I also suppose that back then, I was drawn by the action and the special effects and overall animation a bit too much and I never really sat back and enjoyed the plot of the film. When you consider the children watching the film, the special effects are not what they are keeping an eye out for.  They care about how fun the film is, the humor, the craziness but also their desire for a captivating plot but most importantly, how likeable the characters are and I realize that although the creative crew went outside of the box of this film, the children who are used to seeing cute characters in Disney films were not getting that in “Treasure Planet”.

You had an alien with many extensions out of his body that makes flatulent sounds, you have alien pirates who are not exactly likeable, a lobster like antagonist who was not likeable and it leaves you with few characters that the children can get into.  Doctor Doppler and Captain Amelia are used sporadically and the film literally relies on Jim Hawkins, John Silver and Morph.  Jim may be cool, Morph may be cute and funny but John Silver, as my son would say… too creepy!

I realize now that while I enjoyed the popcorn action aspect of the film, for a Disney film, the storyline was not as dramatic and it was missing a little of that Disney magic.  And when the film premiered back during the 2002 holiday season, especially with Christmas coming up, you want to see Disney magic in full force.  And “Treasure Planet” wasn’t that type of film.  Dare I say, an animated sci-fi popcorn action film.  It’s what it is!

For parents who are concerned about the PG rating, the alien characters may frighten younger children but for the most part, the film is not scary.  The PG deals with adventure and peril, as these characters do risk their lives in finding the mysterious treasure.  And there are characters that do die in this film.  So, parental guidance is suggested!

As for the Blu-ray release, there are a lot of special features included on this Blu-ray release of “Treasure Planet”. Granted, if you own the original 2003 DVD, this is the same release in terms of special features but you do get an awesome transfer with a pretty solid lossless soundtrack.  Also, you do get a DVD included with the Blu-ray release.

Overall, by no means was “Treasure Planet” a bad movie, nor was it great.  There are a lot of action sequences featured throughout the film but I can see if young boys dig the film more than girls.  But for people who enjoy watching popcorn action films, then definitely give “Treasure Planet: 10th Anniversary Edition” on Blu-ray a try!

 






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