(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Treasure Planet. Snippets of the film's score by James Newton Howard play in the background)
Doug (vo): Treasure Planet. Just saying that name sounds...kind of...silly. And I’m not gonna lie, that’s sort of the major issue I have with this movie. It’s Treasure Island, only we’re not telling it like most people tell Treasure Island. We’re telling it in space, in the future. But the spaceships aren’t really spaceships, they’re water...ships. But the people are dressed futuristically, at least, some of them, the ones not wearing bonnets and...okay, let’s start from the beginning.
Doug (vo): A young Jim Hawkins hears about the legend of buried treasure, only like we said before, it’s not at Treasure Island, it’s on Treasure Planet. Years go by and Jim Hawkins, it turns out, is now a delinquent, always getting in trouble and...feeling bad that his father left. Wow, is that really in a Disney film? No car accident, no tragic death, he actually just up and left. Wow, that’s actually pretty rare. Well, anyway, his mother has a hard enough time trying to raise him while also trying to look after a restaurant. But all that changes when he comes across a treasure map...or treasure sphere, whatever...that apparently shows them the location of Treasure Planet. He comes across one of his mother’s friends called Dr. Doppler, and he recommends that they find a ship and go looking for the treasure. The mother kind of bizarrely agrees, and thus, Jim and Doppler are off on an adventure. The captain this time around is a cat lady...no, I don’t mean she likes cats, I mean, literally, she’s half-cat half-lady...played by Emma Thompson. The cook is John Silver, played by Brian Murray. And he also comes across a few other little friends, like this little glob of goo named Morph, a robot voiced by Martin Short, and all sorts of other weird oddities.
Doug (vo): Okay, so what’s good about the movie? Because actually, there are a lot of good things about it. First of all, it gets down what I think really any Disney film should get down first: the relationships with the characters. For example, the relationship between Hawkins and his mother is great. The relationship between him and John Silver is great. The relationship between Doppler and the captain is great. And to the film’s credit, the reason the relationships are so great is because all the characters are pretty darn good, too. Hawkins is sort of your generic, rebellious hero, but at the same time, they do leave it open for people to leave impressions on him. He will observe what people are telling him, and that’s a good trait for a character. The captain is a lot of fun. She’s very dignified, very intelligent, but she’s also a fast-talker and likes to show off. Doppler, at times, can get annoying, and, yeah, I’m not a fan of the Martin Short robot, but he’s not in it for that long. John Silver is great as the character should be, both being diabolical but also having a soft side for Hawkins.
[Several scenes mostly showing the film's versions of the pirate ships are shown]
Doug (vo): So, okay, it seems to follow the book pretty well, the characters are strong. What’s actually wrong with this film? This seems like the most important stuff. Well, as I said before, it’s the setting. Why is this set in the future? Okay, let me put it this way. You can set it in the future, that’s fine, but go all out. If you want to show us spaceships, show us spaceships, some cool-looking ones. When you just have giant boats in space, that’s all we’re gonna see. You have futuristic parasailing in the sky, but then you also have people in 19th Century dress. Honestly, it’s just distracting. Sometimes, it really works, like all the mechanics on John Silver. Instead of just having a fake leg, he has a fake arm, a fake eye, and all of its technologically advanced. That’s pretty cool. I just wish the rest of the movie went that far. Instead of trying to create this world that they just wanted to create on its own, they kept trying to combine it with what was popular, what was advanced, and then what was also sort of true of the time period the book was written. And that just sort of turns out a cluttered mess. And I don’t think it’s a pet peeve because it’s constantly distracting. I’m always asking, "How do these two things go together?" These are two totally different time periods that really have almost nothing to do with one another. You can borrow some things, but this is really weird. On top of that, the same way that something like Oliver and Company felt very manipulative, you know, like half the visuals were something a marketing agent came up with, yeah, you feel that throughout the entire movie. I mean, it opens with sky-surfing. All I could think of was that opening in the Power Rangers movie where they go sky-surfing, too. It’s like, "Really? Look, you can relate with Jim Hawkins! He’s doing cool stuff! Ooh! He wears a short black jacket, he has a cool haircut, he’s got a ponytail! Rad! He goes to his mother who looks like something out of Moby Dick...wait, what?"
Doug (vo): So, yeah, I wasn’t onboard with the idea, I constantly felt like I was being manipulated, and really, I wanted to see Disney do Treasure Island. No gimmicks, no "whatever’s cool at the time", just tell Treasure Island. So, I guess my final sum-up is, when they do tell Treasure Island, it’s good. And when they try to do something cool and hip, it’s lame. Sometimes, the sci-fi designs are neat, but mostly, it’s just distracting. I don’t know. If you can look at these visuals and they don’t bother you, in fact, you actually find yourself getting into it, you’ll probably like this movie fine. For me, it just constantly took me out of it, and I would’ve liked to have seen the original source material really come to life as told by Disney. But, it’s not horrible. It’s not even really that bad. I could just never get into it as much as the movie wants me to get into it. Hopefully, you can draw your own conclusions and you can see if this movie is worth your time.
[The film's opening scene, showing Captain Flint's ship approaching a larger ship, is shown]