If you are a major film studio, like Disney, and you have two films to release in one year Then all power to you. However, if the second of those films is Treasure Planet then it might have been a better idea to take another look at whether you think it’s actually ready. With this film, I’m not actually sure whether more time would have helped much, but at least the CGI might have progressed further to the point whereby the space whales might have aged a little less poorly.
Treasure Planet is by no means the first time that Disney took a work of classic literature and moved it into a more modern setting. However, when the last time you did that was Oliver & Company, that really should give you pause. Especially when you are planning to do the same thing by taking a classic literary villain and redeem him. Seriously, it’s Long John Silver, why do you need to give him a redemption arc. This isn’t as heinous as the redemption of Fagin, but it’s still unneeded.
I guess that the big problem that I have with their film, other than the weird redemption arc, was that I was bored. This is a story that is meant to be a swashbuckling adventure and instead a lot of the actual treasure hunting takes a backseat to the storyline of giving the lead character a new father figure in the shape of the cyborg incarnation of Long John Silver… including a really unneeded musical montage.
Now, I have no problem with Disney transferring the story of Treasure Island into space. It’s a great idea that if Disney had doubled down on making everything either futuristic or alien or at least raypunk. Instead they limit the sense of otherworldly wonder, which is missing the point of the story. I also have a problem with the consistency in tone. The protagonist would make you believe that this film is for older children/teens. However, you also have an alien shipmate that communicates purely through the sounds of flatulence. Seriously, what were they thinking with that alien.
When I think that this is the Disney film that Emma Thompson’s voice is attached to, it makes me feel really sad. She deserved better than this. I also find it so hard to reconcile that the people that brought us Treasure Planet were the same directors that ushered in the Disney Renaissance with The Little Mermaid and then strengthened it with Aladdin. Then again, let’s just consider this a blip in their careers because they are soon going to be bringing be Moana and The Princess and the Frog. Just got to hold out until then.