Treasure Planet (2002)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some good voice actors

Premise feels gimmicky

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Treasure Planet

Studio:  Walt Disney Feature Animation

Genre(s):  Animated/Action/Adventure/Family

Release Date(s):  November 27, 2002

MPAA Rating:  PG


Come sail away…come sail away with me…

Jim Hawkins has dreamed of more since being a child. When a stranger comes into his mother’s port restaurant with a map to the legendary Treasure Planet, Jim sees the opportunity a different future for himself. Setting out with Dr. Delbert Doppler aboard the RLS Legacy captained by Amelia, Jim finds himself reduced to a cook’s aide. The cook is John Silver and forms a bond with Jim who sees him as the father he never had. When Silver betrays him, Jim finds himself, Doppler, Amelia, a robot named B.E.N., and a shape-changing creature called Morph trying to beat Silver and his men to the treasure.


Can I call you Dad, Mr. Silver?

Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, Treasure Planet was the forty-third film in the Walt Disney Animated Classic series. Following Lilo & Stitch (also released in 2002), Treasure Planet was a futuristic adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 novel Treasure Island. The movie was met with modest reviews but was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (losing to Spirited Away).

I was never a huge fan of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel and the idea of setting it in space seemed pretty gimmicky. Now having watched Treasure Planet, I feel setting it in space was an unnecessary gimmick. It doesn’t seem to really add much to the story except a sci-fi element.


What are you staring at space boy!!!

I will say however, that Disney did this gimmick well. The animators and storytellers allegedly took a 70/30% rule when creating the story. 70% of the movie is traditional pirate look, and 30% of the story is futuristic. In 2002 when the movie was released, Pirates were not back in vogue. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was not released until 2003, and pirates were returned to popularity. I understand not doing a straight-up adaptation of Treasure Island, but I would much rather have preferred that.

The movie smartly cast a strong group of voice actors to tell the story. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (before his real “actor” phase of his career) voiced Jim and was backed up nicely by Brian Murray as the crusty John Silver.  Laurie Metcalf voices Jim’s frustrated mother Sarah and David Hyde Pierce plays the professor like Dr. Delbert Doppler.  Emma Thompson brings some nice flair to the underdeveloped Captain Amelia and Martin Short brings his recognizable voice and anctics to the neurotic robot B.E.N.  The movie also features the final work of The Prisoner himself Patrick McGoohan who voiced the dying Billy Bones.


Oh yeah, booty!!!

The movie’s visuals are more traditional animation than some of the other stories at the time this was released. With mostly traditional animation, the movie used computer animation for aspects of the story. I found the effect rather generic and not very memorable.

The story is much like the animation. It doesn’t have much of a feel that you leave with…Treasure Planet isn’t very memorable. The story much like Stevenson’s story in that it feels pretty episodic. The events don’t flow very well and sometimes feel tedious. The relationship between Silver and Jim is the heart of the book and the heart of the film. It is the only thing that really comes out of the film.

Treasure Planet isn’t Disney’s best effort. It feels more like a straight-to-video film…a solid straight-to-video film, but still not as big picture as some other animated films. There has been talk of a sequel (like many of Disney’s films), but as of yet, nothing has developed. Treasure Planet was followed by in 2003 by Brother Bear.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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