|It is a rare feat when an animated film can entertain audiences both young and old. Though this film doesn't have the highest I.Q., it still is smartly made and won't bore the older members of the audience, even though it was obviously created for an under twelve audience. The simple story of a boy abandoned by his father only to grow up longing to have the guidance of one is one of the main ideas of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, Treasure Island, and it is faithfully adhered to in Treasure Planet.|
This is a Disney film through and through and it has the innocent comedy to prove it. Treasure Planet has a lot of laughs in it and while it will certainly keep the youngest members of the audience laughing, the older members will probably find themselves entertained as well. This film is rather innocent with its standard Disney characters and the added bonus of Stevenson's classic story makes for a very successful combination. It's never dull and makes sure to entertain the audience with creative visuals in every scene.
In fact, the first element that takes one by surprise in this picture is the intense visual world that the computer animators and hand drawn animators worked together to create. Virtually every color that exists in nature and beyond is used in the most incredible stars, nebulae, and galaxies that populate this world. The tagline for this film, "Robert Louis Stevenson's classic as you've never see it before," is quite accurate. Although the screenwriters (there are about a dozen on this film) stayed true to the basic story of the original Treasure Island, the fact remains that they changed many of the physical aspects of the book.
As it is easy to see from the movie previews and the poster, the characters in the story no longer sail around the ocean, they sail around outer space. Ignoring the fact that the characters can mysteriously breathe in space without the aid of any machines or space suits, whoever thought to place the story in space still had quite a good idea. The Disney animators probably pulled a fast one with their visual creation as it one of the most interesting elements of the film and is something which should help keep people viewing until the end credits start to roll.
But the real stars of Treasure Planet reside on the soundtrack of the movie. The various comedians picked to voice these characters combine to recite dialogue that isnít just entertaining, it's hilarious. In more than one scene and from more than one character. David Hyde Pierce and Martin Short play "Dr. Doppler" and "B.E.N.," respectively, and are responsible for quite a few of the lighter moments in the script. Much of their dialogue seems improvised and the film is better for it. The overt cuteness of this Disney film is tempered by the simple hilarity of what the characters say.
The additional voice talents of Emma Thompson, as the ship's captain, Michael Wincott as the evil Scroopf, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the young and adventurous Jim Hawkins all make sure that leaving behind one's logic for the duration of this film is an easy task to accomplish. So what if the characters can breathe in space. It's a cartoon! It's allowed some levity. Perhaps the only thing that will make the older members of the audience roll their eyes a few times is the inclusion of a character, an alien, who speaks by farting.
The gelatinous alien has a few scenes where it can be seen farting from various tubed orifices on its body and it might put off some audience members looking for a little more sophistication. Which the film actually does have in greater quantities than some of its contemporaries. Although this is not the smartest animated picture to come down the pipe, it is certainly the most enjoyable of the past few years. And it is certainly a step in the right direction by Disney, whose animation star has seemed to fade with the releases of the past few years. Treasure Planet is highly enjoyable for audiences of all ages and has the magic and spark of a traditional Disney film with the creativity needed to pick Disney's "stock" up out of the basement.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.