Unlike Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights, the animation in Disney’s Treasure Planet is absolutely gorgeous, which is the best thing going for it. It’s not that the essence of Robert Louis Stevenson’s story loses anything in the translation from the high seas to the faraway stars. It’s that most of the supporting characters introduced as a result of the change range from uninteresting to annoying.
The film opens with a gorgeous shot of an old ship’s bow piercing the outer-space sky, setting a precedent for the eye candy that follows in nearly every frame. The film’s action sequences have a furious, immediate feel to them that’s rarely seen in a hand-drawn film. And the richly detailed settings, particularly a spaceport in a crescent-moon shape, are stellar.
It’s a pity, then, that outside of the nicely nuanced relationship between teen rebel Jim Hawkins and the duplicitous Long John Silver, there are few interesting characters inhabiting these worlds. David Hyde Pierce and Emma Thompson have voices tailor-made for animation, but their characters get little screen time. As a frazzled robot, Martin Short’s incessant yelling grates on the nerves. Of the supporting characters, only Morph, a pink blob able to transform into anything at all, registers as memorable.
Nevertheless, like last year’s similar Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Treasure Planet has a captivating, almost-anime look to it and an admirable go-for-broke mentality in the third act. It’s not one of Disney’s greatest, but it’s solid entertainment.