26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining, if flawed, TREASURE PLANET,
This review is from: Treasure Planet (DVD)
It's always a gamble when you adapt a timeless classic like Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island." It's even especially dicey when you take the story out of its original setting and time. In this case, Walt Disney studios try to give the old swashbuckler a futuristic sci-fi spin in TREASURE PLANET, a film that partially succeeds in that task. Set in a future time on a far off planet, the familiar story of heroic cabin-boy Jim Hawkins and the charming pirate Long John Silver is given the space ace treatment. Instead of the one legged pirate we know, Long John is now a cyborg. The Squire and Doctor characters who lead the treasure expedition are combined into one eccentric type (David Hyde-Pierce), while the ship's captain is a no nonsense feline voiced by Emma Thompson. Finally, the castaway Ben Gunn is reimagined as a run-at-the mouth robot (Martin Short), who has lost his memory chip. The animation is stunning and many of these characterizations work for the most part. The one exception is the cyborg Silver. Played with an Irish brogue and charm, I found it hard to really see this character as being totally capable of evil, as is his counterpart in the original book. Indeed, it's hard to take this softie seriously at times. Part of the attraction of the Long John Silver creation is that he is a balance of good and evil. He becomes a character we like, even as we loath his deeds.
Other than that, this film is suprisingly faithful to the book in the basic plot, and it deserved better than what the critics gave the film when it was first released. Overall, this is a version that I would recommend, despite the fact that there are better adaptations and better portrayals of Long John Silver elsewhere.