Treasure Planet - Movie Review
by Michael Elliott

Artistic Rating: 4.0 Stars
Comments: The stuff that young boys' dreams are made of: Heroics, action and adventure.
Directed By: John Musker and Ron Clements
Starring: Brian Murray, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Thompson, David Hyde Pierce, Martin Short
Written By: Ron Clements, John Musker and Rob Edward
Rated: PG for adventure action peril
Running Time: 1 hr : 30 min
Scripture References: Proverbs 22:1, Psalms 37:16, Proverbs 11:28

Young boys used to imagine themselves having swashbuckling adventures on the high seas; battling pirates and searching for buried treasure. The imagination of today's youth may lean more toward the space age... Blasting aliens and visiting strange new worlds. Walt Disney Pictures gives us both with Treasure Planet, an updated animated version of Robert Louis Stevenson's 19th century classic tale.

Set in the future and on a distant world, Jim Hawkins (voice by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 3rd Rock From the Sun) is a teen aged and reckless thrill seeker who dreams of having big adventures despite the fact that his life consists of little more than helping his mother (voice by Laurie Metcalf, Toy Story) clear tables at the Benbow Inn, a small space waystation for weary intergalactic travelers.

His big opportunity comes when Billy Bones (voice by Patrick McGoohan, The Prisoner), a turtle-like alien crash-lands outside the diner and just before dying, gives Jim a map that contains the location of the legendary Captain Flint's treasure trove. The map is accompanied by a warning: "Beware the cyborg."

Undeterred by the potential danger, Jim, along with the dog-like Dr. Delbert Doppler (voice by David Hyde Pierce, Frasier), sets out to claim Flint's treasure and in doing so, live the adventure of a lifetime. He signs aboard the space schooner Legacy as a cabin boy. There, he befriends the ship's cook, John Silver (voice by Brian Murray, Bob Roberts). Silver, a charismatic cyborg with a swiss army knife of a prosthesis and a protoplasmic pet named Morph, takes a liking to the young adventurer and becomes the father figure that Jim never had.

Just as the bond between these two characters is beginning to solidify, Jim discovers that Silver has been planning a mutiny to claim Flint's treasure as his own. Feeling betrayed, Jim flees with Doppler, Morph, and the Legacy's feline captain, Amelia (voice by Emma Thompson, Howard's End), to Treasure Planet. There, they find B.E.N. (voice by Martin Short, Primetime Glick), Flint's old robot navigator, still operational after 100 years although he's clearly working with a few loose screws.

Silver and his mutineers are hot on their trail and all this leads to the eventual confrontation where Jim and Silver will be forced to choose between the fulfillment of a dream or the salvation of a friend. Even when set in the future, Stevenson's classic adventure works. Treasure Planet is a rip-roaring thrill ride of a movie that will excite young and old alike. The very young may want to sit this one out, however. The action is loud, frenetic and full of life-threatening situations, which may be overly frightening to them.

The blending of hand drawn animation with 3-D computer animation is seamless, providing the detailed expressiveness of the characters' emotions set amidst the awesome expanse of deep space. Visually, the film is a triumph. I could have done without some of the Star Wars-like alien creatures that make up the crew of the Legacy, but that is a minor complaint in the face of a well-crafted artistic achievement.

The key to appreciating the story is found in the relationship between Silver and Jim. Both set out to find riches, adventure, and personal glory only to discover something that proves to be far more valuable and rewarding.

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1 (KJV)

The redemption of the two main characters occurs as they act selflessly, placing the needs of others above their own concerns, interest, or self-preservation. It just goes to show us that whenever we act from a motivation of love rather than greed, we'll always be the richer for it.

Editor's Warning: Typical Disney flick

-Michael Elliott-c/o Movie Parables

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