Treasure Planet (2002)

Treasure Planet is an American animated science-fiction film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios.  The 43rd animated feature in the Walt Disney animated classics, the film is a sci-fi adaption of Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventure novel, Treasure Island.  The film was co-directed and co-written by frequent collaborating Disney partners Ron Clements and John Musker, who have previously made such timeless classics like The Great Mouse Detective (1886), The Little Mermaid (1889), Aladdin (1994), Hercules (1997), and most recently The Princess and the Frog (2008).  It features the voice talents of Joseph Gordan Levitt, Brian Murray, Martin Short, Emma Thompson, and Patrick McGoohan (in his final film role).  (Running Time: 95 minutes)(Rated PG for adventure action and peril)

There were three main classic animated Disney films I had never seen in my ___ of living, but now there are only two.  The ones I have left are The Princess and the Frog and The Black Cauldron.  But I have to admit, I did enjoy myself with this one.  It has been quite some time since I sat down to a new Disney movie and been pleased with the thing in whole.

But before we jump into my opinion, let us look into the past of this particular animated epic…

Ron Clements and John Musker originally pitched the story in 1885 to Walt Disney Animation Studios, who turned it down because they were busy with The Black Cauldron.  They came back after The Great Mouse Detective and were turned down.  After the success of The Little Mermaid, Disney said they could make it after Aladdin.  After Aladdin, Disney postponed it till after Hercules, but Clements and Musker had to make contracts for their next film to be Treasure Planet.  They employed a unique mix of oil paintings, 2d animation, and 3d animation all in one film.  They looked back on Robert Louis Stevenson’s book for inspiration constantly, and had their animators draw pictures much like the original illustrations from the first edition book as storyboards.

Well, Treasure Planet I think is a well-explored adaption of Stevenson’s novel, keeping true to the jist of the story, but by adding in a few Disney-like attractions and tip-of-the-hat here and there.  In all, a pretty impressive animated film with some fun characters, an impressive musical score by James Newton Howard, colorful animation, and a fun story.

Clements and Musker considered this film to be their best yet, but unfortunately the film performed poorly at the box office, making Disney lose over $80 million.  The critics were not so favorable of the film either.  On a extremely high budget of $140 million (not including $40 million spent on the film’s promotion), the film barely made it over the $100 million worldwide.  It went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Picture, though.

I’d give it a “mild” 4 out of 7 stars.  An enjoyable film to watch, and if you are in the mood for a family-movie-night and you have not seen this one and are a die-hard animated Disney lover, you may want to pick it up!


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January 2016 Update: This blog is under reconstruction. Please be patient while we gradually remove old material, posts, and pages, and create new ones. Thank you.
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