Treasure Planet (2002)
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Even though Disney's latest animated feature is based on Treasure Island, it owes just as much credit to Star Wars with it's futuristic story of a young man looking for adventure.
Taking it's cue from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, Treasure Planet adds an obvious sci-fi twist, as young Jim Hawkins leaves home in search of the legendary Treasure Planet. Along the way, he must fight off a villainous assortment of odd characters. There's also some creative supporting characters including a cute little shape shifter called Morph.
First and foremost, Treasure Planet is a visual stunner featuring stellar animation, and some truly spectacular action sequences. And despite a couple of scary moments, it's a terrific film for the entire family.
Treasure Planet lacks the charm of the best of Disney's work, and it is a bit gimmicky, but as animated features go, it returns to the scope of Beauty and the Beast and Lion King, while avoiding the bland tone of Atlantis. This is also a picture that benefits from a lack of intrusive musical numbers, something that almost killed Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (Bryan Adams' songs for that film stand well on their own, but they really pulled the reigns on the movie). Upon learning that John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls would be composing original songs for this picture, I couldn't help but cringe. Thankfully, Treasure Planet only contains two songs, and one of those is during the end credits. It is James Newton Howard (Unbreakable) that really adds life to this picture with yet another terrific score.
Treasure Planet is fittingly voiced by the likes of David Hyde Pierce, Laurie Metcalf, Emma Thompson, Michael Wincott, and Martin Short. The cast is picture perfect.
I've seen some terrific animated features this year (Ice Age, Lilo and Stitch, and the brilliant and underrated Spirited Away), and while Treasure Planet is my least favorite of the bunch, it's still a grand entertainment. On a final note, see it in a theater with good sound.
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