Young tearaway Jim Hawkins gains possession of a holographic map detailing the location of Treasure Planet, where legendary space-age pirate Nathaniel Flint stashed the “loot of a thousand foes”. Chartering a decidedly motley crew, Jim goes in search of the intergalactic booty.
Disproving Empire’s recent theory that any movie is better simply by being set in space, Disney’s latest re-run of Robert Louis Stevenson’s yarn doesn’t benefit from its Star Wars-styled fittings. Graced with an impressive look, Treasure Planet lacks the verve and fizz of its premise.
Aimed squarely at current kid culture, Gordon-Levitt’s Jim Hawkins is a pony-tailed skate kid with attitude meaning we have a sullen hero who is difficult to root for. From Hawkins’ benefactor, Dr. Doppler, to Emma Thompson’s Captain Amelia, via the pivotal John Silver (here a cyborg), the character dynamics are ill-delineated.
That said, the film’s signature imagery is impressive and there are some good set-pieces: Jim steering a turbo-powered surfboard through rocky canyons (very Podrace). But factor in some misguided attempts at comedy and a few unmemorable rock tracks, and the result is Disney in a minor key.
While there is nothing particularly inept about Treasure Planet, the pedigree of directors Musker and Clements (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin) promised better things.