Saturday, July 4, 2009

Treasure Planet

Treasure Planet; Animated science-fiction adventure, 2002; D: Ron Clements, John Musker, S: Joseph Gordon-Lewitt, Brian Murray, Emma Thompson, David Hyde Pierce, Martin Short

The future, planet Mestross. Boy Jim Hawkins is fascinated by the stories of the treasure of pirate Flint. 12 years later, he works in his mother's restaurant which gets set on fire by pirates after he discovered a map that shows the planet with the treasure. Together with astronomer Dobbert, he organizes a journey on a ship where the captain is a cat-woman, Amelia. Cyborg cook Silver plans to kill the crew after the discovery of the treasure, but gets to like Jim and shows him his pet Morph that can change shapes. Getting away from a Supernova, the ship arrives at the treasure planet. During a mutiny, Jim, Dobbert and Amelia run away to a mountain and discover Flint's robot Ben. The crew finds the treasure but the planet starts collapsing on itself. Jim gets the ship through a space portal, releases Silver and uses the gold to restart his mother job.

Despite an Oscar nomination for best animated film and an 140 million $ budget, "The Treasure Planet" grossed only 40 million $ at the US box office, which is truly a pity since it is one of the better products of the later Walt Disney studio animated films. Directors Clements and Musker, two old Disney pros, directed this futuristic version of the novel "Treasure Island" with a frapant style: the crescent moon turns out to be a giant space station full of houses (a wonderfully esoteric "camouflage"); the map is a spherical machine that screens the green hologram of the space though the whole room; hero Jim is driving through the sky with a skateboard whereas cyborg Silver has a mechanical arm that can transform into a weapon and an apparatus. It's naive that the space ships in the story are designed like ordinary ships, the aliens are trashy whereas a lot of the points in the story are rushed and illogical, yet the film is imaginative and deviates a lot from the cliches: for instance, Silver is not a black and white bad guy, but a sympathetic nihilist who even starts to like Jim, the character of cat-woman Amelia is so alive it's fantastic while the real equivalent to poetry is the scene where morph, a shapeless alien creature, during the farewell transforms into a cluster of tears.


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