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Treasure Planet

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG (For Adventure Action and Peril)

Running Time: 95 minutes

Starring the voices of: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Hyde-Pierce, Brian Murray, Emma Thompson, Martin Short, Roscoe Lee Browne, Laurie Metcalf, Patrick McGoohan, Dane A. Davis

Screenplay by: Ron Clements & John Musker and Rob Edwards
Animation Story by: Ron Clements & John Musker and Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Adapted from the novel "Treasure Island" by: Robert Louis Stevenson

Directed by: Ron Clements and John Musker

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Visual Commentary with Director Ron Clements, Director John Musker and Producer Ron Conli plus John Silver Supervising Animator Glen Keane, Jim Hawkins Supervising Animator John Ripa and Associate Art Director Ian Gooding, Deleted Scenes, RLS Legacy: Virtual 3D Tour and Treasure Hunt, DisneyPedia: The Life Of A Pirate Revealed, Disney's Animation Magic, Story, Art Design, The Characters, Animation, Dimensional Staging, Meging 2D and 3D Worlds, "I'm Still Here (Jim's Theme)" Music Video by John Rzeznik, Posters, Teaser Trailer, Theatrical Trailer, Sneak Peeks. DVD-ROM: Weblinks, Register Your DVD

Specs: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (20 Scenes), THX-Certified

Released: April 29th, 2003

 

 

It always pains me to see a really good movie get destroyed when it does not deserve to. While overrated trash fills multiplexes all over the world, get an overabundance of critical kudos and score big money for movie studios; there are always movies that critics are quick to dismiss, are ignored by the audience that should be seeing them and just plain bomb. Sadly, these good films that are written off by filmgoers and the media are always remembered more for failing to meet expectations than what they did right. "Treasure Planet" is one of those movies.

Many of you are probably well aware that "Treasure Planet," Disney's fall 2002 animated tentpole release, cost upwards of 140 million dollars to make and only ended up grossing around $40 million in North America (which, as a result, Disney directly blamed for bringing down profits). Some of you have probably read several reviews that weren't so kind to the movie and as a result, you skipped it during its theatrical run. Basically, I'm here to tell you to ignore all of that. Ignore the critics and ignore the fact the film wasn't a box office hit. I'm here to tell you that "Treasure Planet" is one of the best Disney animated features in recent years (I thought it was much better than their summer 2002 smash, "Lilo & Stitch") and that I pray it gains the viewers it deserves on the home video market (which means you better see this movie for yourself and then judge it!).

The story, based on the book Treasure Island, goes as follows: teen Jim Hawkins (wonderfully voiced by Jospeh Gordon-Levitt) seems to be going nowhere fast. After getting caught solar surfing on private property, his mother (voice of Laurie Metcalf) doesn't know what to do with him. But as fate would have it, an alien pirate by the name of Billy Bones crashes near the inn which Jim's mother runs (and where he and his mother live). In his last breaths, Bones gives Jim a strict warning and while Jim doesn't know it, the map to the legendary Treasure Planet which has the "loot of a thousand worlds." Shortly after, those after Bones wreck the inn, and from there, an extraordinary adventure begins.

Jim wants to pursue the planet, and while his mother is reluctant at first, she ultimately thinks the journey will be good for him. With the help from family friend Doctor Doppler (voice of David Hyde Pierce), a ship and crew is commissioned to set sail to the legendary planet. There's the cat-like Captain Amelia (voice of Emma Thompson), first officer Mr. Arrow (voice of Roscoe Lee Browne) and of course, the ship's cyborg cook (with what seems to be the ultimate swiss-army knife for an arm), John Silver (voice of Brian Murray).

Slowly but surely, tension builds among the ship as the journey goes along. As Jim goes on his life changing experience that will evolve him personally and his character, he is taken under John Silver's wing where a mentor/apprentice relationship blooms. But there are some on the R.L.S. Legacy who aren't happy with everything, and a lot happens as the crew faces action, adventure and even a crazy robot named B.E.N. (voiced by the hilarious Martin Short). Yet much looms on this quest. What will happen with the mythical planet? Will Jim become the man he's meant to be?

It's been awhile since I've read the actual book Treasure Island, but I'm familiar enough with the original story and some of you would probably be hard pressed to believe that this movie does stay pretty faithful to Robert Louis Stevenson's literary classic. There are some obvious liberties taken, but this adaptation is more clever than it seems. The main story points are there and the film keeps in, perhaps even expanding, on what the book featured. There are some pretty interesting things to point out though. Silver doesn't have a parrot, but rather, a pink floating blob named Morph that can change into anything. Another character from the book, Benjamin Gunn, is now a robot named B.E.N. Then of course there is the whole matter of shifting the story from sea to space. Many didn't quite understand this concept, thinking there was something wrong with having sea ships just flying randomly in outer space. Personally, I think the whole concept of having sea-inspired travel in space is quite creative, works very well and stays true to the whole feel the original Stevenson book had. Some of you might think it's a bit weird, but I really enjoyed it and I think it helped the story as a whole, not to mention that this movie is a fantasy which means you can do any damn thing you please.

With that said, co-writers and directors Ron Clements and John Musker (who were responsible for the Disney smash hits "Aladdin" and "The Little Mermaid) perfectly understand the idea of fantasy. The duo's brilliant vision help make "Treasure Planet" succeed on all accounts. The film is structured quite evenly and progresses quite thoughtfully. The two are wise enough to not get bogged down in setting up all the little details, and knows how to tell something in an effective manner rather than in a long-winded one but also make it to have the same effect. The film's story is definitely a fun action adventure that is rather rousing and certainly entertaining, but the solid script has a whole lot of heart and plenty of interesting characters, not to mention a wide range of wit that ranges from dry to wacky. There are also some wonderfully crafted action scenes that may seem a bit formulatic, but are involving nonetheless.

Visually, "Treasure Planet" is nothing short of astonishing and groundbreaking. Certainly, it is a beautiful movie to behold and is painstakingly detailed. The animation used in the film, which combines traditional animated characters against computer-animated objects and backdrops, looks downright amazing. The character designs are very creative and look natural. Even though most of the characters are not human, it's quite admirable and certainly stupendous in how the animators capture so much emotion and body language within the film's players (John Silver is a prime example). The film's color scheme is bright and filled with strong variety to capture a variety of locations. I was very impressed in how seamlessly integrated, especially the 2-D and 3-D, were. Without question, this is one of Disney's best eye candy to date.

The film greatly benefits from, in my opinion, one of the absolute voice cast ensembles ever for an animated film (I really mean that). The film boasts a wide range of talent, as each actor is perfectly suited for his or her part. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, widely known from his work on the TV series "3rd Rock From The Sun," is an ideal Jim. Gordon-Levitt nicely plays to the character's strengths and weaknesses. He can be submersive, he can be moody and ultimately he can be heroic. There is real feeling in this performance, as Jim has apathy, shows a deep sense of loneliness and even self-concious thoughts as he considers himself a failure once he does something right, but something wrong happens. The actor wonderfully displays a troubled teen who gradually grows into a man due to his journey, and how he gains what he is missing and becomes a person who is true to himself. A perfect fit all around.

In smaller performances, Roscoe Lee Browne and Laurie Metcalf do shine. Browne maintains a fine sense of dignity as Mr. Arrow, while Metcalf shows quite a bit of vulnerability and pain as a struggling single mother who cares, but is deeply concerned, for her son. Metcalf shows quite a bit of affection too, but her character knows that she needs to take a chance on her son if he's to have a better future. Also, Patrick McGoohan is downright enjoyable in his brief role as Billy Bones.

Then we have more of the major players, all of who are quite strong. Emma Thompson is truly wry but nothing short of delightful as Captain Amelia. Her cozy British accent and dialect fits the power-fused female captain well. The character is a bit strict at times, but as the movie goes along, she becomes more and more appealing. Thompson delivers quite a few amusing lines, much of which will probably go over the heads of younger viewers. Nonetheless it's quite easy to tell her heart is into the movie, and her acting chops as well as character really do bring things up. There's some kind of unexplainable passion here that ultimately brings variety and complete sense to the movie.

There's also David Hyde Pierce as Doctor Doppler, who provides the film with another connection to Jim, but he's mainly used as a foil for comic relief. Pierce, with his stern voice and intellect, is yet another example of perfect casting. He delivers some great one-liners and moments dead-on, but also provides a backbone for a decent romantic subplot. Doppler certainly steals plenty of moments and is a character with a pure heart who is well built and drawn out, but then we have another scene-stealer and that would be...

...Martin Short. If you're unfamiliar with the film but have heard something about it, chances are it's Short's performance. Short plays B.E.N., and while he only appears in the last third of the film (and rightfully so given the nature of the character), he's simply brilliant. I'm a big Martin Short fan, and in contrast his performance is a bit small. But let me tell you, the man certainly knows how to pack a very memorable punch. B.E.N. is a robot without most of his memory, which makes for a wired-out, funny and very zany character. I'm assuming Short improvised a good deal his role (and why not?), but the exuberance and energy that comes across due to his performance cannot be denied. It does tend to lighten the movie up, it does move the plot forward and it certainly entertains. And while I wish there was more of him, Short goes down with the other great animated sidekicks that helped make each respective film memorable, such as Eddie Murphy as Donkey in "Shrek" and Robin Williams as Genie in "Aladdin."

Still, as great as the other voice actors are, I personally think it is Brian Murray as John Silver who steals the whole show and captures what the film's context is all about. After seeing the movie, it's really hard to imagine anyone else playing the part but him. Murray, a veteran stage actor, gives a truly thrilling performance that simply is filled with a true sense of heart and force. In his full rogue pirate mode, Murray gives a pitch-perfect accent and tone that leaves it impossible for the viewer NOT to feel his performance and the range of emotions the character does carry. The execution here is flawless as Murray knows how to breathe life into a harsh man with a soft side obsessed with the pursuit of treasure, but how the soft side slowly takes over him due to his interactions with Jim. As Silver learns to value his heart and what true friendship is, Murray is nothing short of impressive as the conflicting pirate. He knows how to work the sensitivity, but can also be a bit villainous and dark. Murray's performance now ranks as one of my all-time favorites, if not my absolute favorite, voice-over for an animated movie. If there is one reason to see "Treasure Planet," then this is it.

And yes, "Treasure Planet" is not your traditional Disney musical as it's yet another animated feature from the studio to break away from that formula. Still, the music is truly worth noting. The movie features two songs from singer/songwriter John Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls fame. Rzeznik composed and sings two songs in the movie: "I'm Still Here" and "Always Know Where You Are" (the latter which, due to contract issues, is performed by BBMak on the movie's soundtrack). I'm still dumbfounded how each were never recognized by film awards for the year 2002, and how each have lacked airplay on radio. I think each pop song is quite memorable, and were certainly two of my favorite songs from 2002.

The first song, "I'm Still Here," is nothing short of symbolic as it plays against what I think is to be one of the most memorable moments in Disney animated history (and my favorite scene in the movie), right along with the opening to "The Lion King," the death of Bambi's mother and the ballroom scene in "Beauty and the Beast." The song and montage highlight the growing father/son-like relationship between John Silver and Jim, all while reaching into Jim's painful past as his own father neglects him and ultimately leaves his family. All of it is certainly powerful, and the lyrics are very reflective of Jim and how despite all the bad that has happened to him, he has survived and is stronger (let alone more mature) after everything. The second song, "Always Know Where You Are," symbolizes Jim's journey as a whole and the impact his relationship with John Silver has had on him. Both are great, catchy songs with beautiful melodies and terrific lyrics. I'm sure John Rzeznik didn't have too much of a problem writing these since he had his own depressing past, but there's no doubting how talented the man is.

Also on the music front is the score. I'm also puzzled while James Newton Howard's examplementary score did not receive more praise or any kind of recognition. Howard, a well renowned film composer, delivers some of his absolute best work with this movie and delivers one of the all time best Disney film scores. Certainly this score works well within the context of the movie, but if you hear it separate, it is also quite memorable. Howard captures every bit of the film perfectly through the instrumental music. Be it the exciting adventure that awaits when the R.L.S. Legacy takes off, Jim's arrival at the space port, Silver recounting how he chased his own dreams or the film's action-packed climax, Howard wonderfully blends so many musical elements to his score. There are very adventure-ish, spirited moments and more somber, bleak ones too. But it's a testament to his skill, artistry and creativity in how he captures what is essentially the pirate music you expect but makes it feel so new and fresh. Howard's fitting, bold score does not strike a single false note and like Rzeznik's song, knows and captures what "Treasure Planet" is all about and all the moods with it. I'll always believe that Howard is one of the greatest contemporary film composers of our time. Just perfect.

Drifting back to the story now I must say thematically, I found "Treasure Planet" to be at the top and makes me question other critics and filmgoers when they say they didn't find much to behold within its themes and messages. That had me asking if I saw the same movie as those people. Let me assure all of you that there is a lot to take away from this movie, and it's done in a sleek, subtle way and does not preach to its viewers.

There is something that still resonates to this very day about a boy growing into the man that he is meant to be. What I think makes the story so timeless is that it's a classic tale of destiny and friendship. At first, Jim may seem like a lost cause with no future, but he discovers himself and that he is indeed wanted during his life-changing journey. Jim realizes that he is strong, has the will to survive and does have his own breed of talents to claim his own fate. There is also something incredibly effective about the film's most integral relationship: Jim and John Silver. Jim learns so much from Silver, and Silver learns so much from Jim. Jim finds his own father figure - the one he never had - in Silver as he teaches him the ropes and that he does have "makens of greatness" in him, while Jim teaches Silver to value friendship over money. There is a mutual admiration and respect between them that is so beautifully captured in the movie. In the end, Jim finds what he's been looking for and discovers the things he once thought he would never have.

To me, "Treasure Planet" is the best kind of Disney animated feature since it holds exactly what all Disney animated films should. The film's narrative does stay true to its classic roots in the vein of what we expect these Disney films to be like (and why we enjoy them so much), yet the movie also branches off into bold, new directions in a number of different areas that are quite satisfying (future animated projects of the studio should take notice of this). I was lucky enough to see "Treasure Planet" twice in the theaters: once on a regular screen and again on an IMAX screen (which was an amazing experience given how great the film sounds and how beautiful it looks - and, by the way, was an industry first where a movie was released the same time in regular theaters and in IMAX theaters). And while I realize "Treasure Planet" was a major failure financially and to a good extent critically, I personally loved every moment of it - from the first frame to the incredibly satisfying final shot. And while I strongly believe it was one of the very best films of 2002, hopefully, years from now, the film will have captured the audience is truly deserves and will be singing three little words: "I'm still here."

 

Disney once again brings us a fabulous direct digital-to-digital transfer that is nothing short of breathaking. Presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen, this defnitive transfer of "Treasure Planet" truly comes to reflect and show off all of the film's visual beauty and details (chances are you're going to notice and admire a lot here). Since this is a digital transfer, you can expect everything to be pristine: there is not a single dirt piece, scratch or blemish. The colors are perfect: you won't find any bleeding here and every little bit is well saturaterd. The colors are very warm and quite flavorful, be it the reds and yellows during the finale, the greens on the actual Treasure Planet or the variety at the space port. You won't find any edge enhancment either. Detail is some of the most impressive I've ever seen on a DVD, while black levels are quite strong. Everything here is quite vibrant and wonderfully stands out. The image is greatly refined and very, very sharp. I hate to nitpick, but what keeps this from being a perfect score is that there are some slight edge halos, some noise and I noticed shimmering here and there. But most of that doesn't add up to much, and certainly doesn't ruin such a beautiful, mesmerizing transfer.

 

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track certainly lives up to the film's wild and extensive sound design. This is one booming and kickin' mix! "Treasure Planet" has plenty of action, and this is where the film's mix does not disappoint. The channels simply blast out everything in a very creative, clear cut manner that is very engaging, aggressive and sharp. While there are plenty of surrounds, the mix does tend to lean toward being pretty heavy toward the front channels. Personally, I did not mind this too much because the way it all comes together really sucks you in and pummels you with full force. There are a good deal of surround effects and those also tend to immerse you, but the front channels do help make this mix so strong. There are plenty of sweeping moments on this track such as Jim's arrival at the space port, the big mutiny scene and of course, the grand and action packed climax. Even the smaller moments bring their own kind of tension, such as Jim picking his first battle on the ship and the first scene at the Inn. There is plenty to enjoy here.

Imaging on the track is extraoridnary, as there is such a deep and full sound that pops right at you. The sound effects are certainly terrific, like the gold spilling (how sharp and clingy that is!) or Jim riding his Solar Surfer. Dialogue is crystal clear and very easy to hear. The music also plays a strong part on the mix, as it is mixed quite creatively. James Newton Howard's score is thunderous and fills across the channels quite nicely, adding an extra layer to the sound design and being more crucial to the mix than one would expect. The John Rzeznik songs also pack their own punch and bring its own brand of life too. Perhaps best of all, none of the sound elements are cluttered together but you can hear them all equally. They all come together with each other to create a very even mix. Subwoofer use is fantastic here, as the 5.1 track offers quite a lot and brings you deeper into the "Treasure Planet" experience. Certainly, it's a heavy but intense mix that is damn good. Also included is a French Dolby Surround track, Spanish Dolby Surround track, English subtitles, French subtitles, Spanish subtitles and English closed captions. Now just imagine if there was a DTS track on here...

 

It's true that "Treasure Planet" can't compare to Disney's benchmark two-disc special editions that they have provided for a few other animated films, but at least it's not given the cold shoulder when it comes to extras. If the film was more successful, maybe they would have provided such treatment, but it seems doubtful they'll be revisiting this title. A man can dream though, can't he?

This single disc edition does pack some nice stuff, starting with a Visual Commentary with Director Ron Clements, Director John Musker and Producer Ron Conli plus John Silver Supervising Animator Glen Keane, Jim Hawkins Supervising Animator John Ripa and Associate Art Director Ian Gooding. The commentary can only be accessed through the bonus materials menu. Anyhow, after a fun introduction explaining what a "visual commentary" is with Clements, Musker and Conli, the film starts off. That trio is together, the three other animators were recorded seperate and are spliced in (though it's mainly Clements, Musker and Conli talking). Many of you might even notice that given how smooth the editing for this commentary is. So what is this visual commentary you ask? It's your standard audio commentary, but throughout the film and suddenly, you'll be taken to behind-the-scenes footage. When it ends, you return to the film. Be it something on the origins of the film or deleted scenes, I have to admit this did get a little annoying at times. You can't choose which behind-the-scenes portions you want to watch. Basically, you watch and it'll take you there for you (and the segments do consist of some other bonus materials found on this DVD). The visual portions do tend to overlap, but there is some interesting stuff throughout to see. As far as the actual commentary goes, I really enjoyed it and there is PLENTY to learn about the film. There are some pretty fun production anectodes, discussion on voice casting, the animation process, how things were originally envisioned then reworked and so much more. There's even talk on blowing the movie up for large format screens (such as IMAX). A lot of names are thrown around and remembered too by the main trio, and they really remember every single thing that went in to making the movie. I learned so much about "Treasure Planet" from all this, and I was glad to hear all the big as well as tiny aspects that went in to creating such a fabulous film. So despite the annoyance of the film being interrupted (but you can chapter skip over segments), this is a very strong and insightful commentary that fans of the film should definitely listen through - it certainly is one of the most interesting and enthusiastic ones I've heard in quite a long time. I just wish that Disney included a way to listen to the audio portion alone. Oh well - better than no commentary at all!

There are also a few Deleted Scenes, each with nice introductions by Musker and Clements. One scene is the original prologue where Jim as an adult opens the story, the "alternate ending" really is just an extension to the original ending and "Jim Meets Ethan" is what the directing duo calls their tribute to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye, where Jim is shown as having a soft spot for kids (it actually is a very nice scene). The scenes are in non-anamorphic widescreen and are a hybrid of completed animation, semi-completed animation and rough animation. They're definitely worth a watch at least once, and there's even a fourth deleted scene as an easter egg... will you able to find this buried treasure?

RLS Legacy: Virtual 3D Tour and Treasure Hunt is actually pretty nifty. Here, you can explore all aspects of the ship in pure 3-D that is sometimes animated and is rather detailed. Under "Technical Tour," the filmmakers talk about their approach to creating the ship and what little details it holds. The "Nautical Tour" features more details by one of the film's production designers as you go around the ship and listen to him talk more about some of the features of the RLS Legacy. Both might be a bit boring to some, but even if this ship is fake, I learned some stuff about real ships. Finally, you can hunt for that deleted scene I just mentioned by going around eight areas and clicking around (try spotting some hidden yellow shapes in your crosshairs). What makes this feature great too is that I believe Roscoe Lee Browne, who played Mr. Arrow, narrates all of the game portions. He also narrates some information about the ship and stays in character, so it's all referenced directly to the movie for the most part while giving true facts about real ships. What I also liked about the treasure hunt was that you could explore the ship at your own pace. So feel free to see the bridge, Ameila's cabin, the crow's nest, the bowsprit, the galley, the crew's quarters, the longboat bay and the cannon. Very well done and worth going through.

DisneyPedia: The Life Of A Pirate Revealed is narrated by what I assume is a kid with a cute face and is certainly aimed for younger folk. This is also meant to give informative information in an entertaining and decent way. Here you can learn about the life of a pirate, what certain pirate stuff means and what pirates exactly used and did. Yes, who knew there was so much to our sea robber friends! This DisneyPedia is divided into six sections: "Pirate Definitions," "Pirate Flags," "Real Pirates," "Code Of Conduct," "Pirate Ships" and "Treasures: Lost and Found." Using actual live action clips, stills and animation, if you wanted to know something about pirates chances are you'll find it here.

Disney's Animation Magic is a featurette hosted by Roy Edward Disney that more or less covers the making of the movie and is another behind-the-scenes look worth watching, consisting of a few things from the behind-the-scenes section of the DVD. Stocked with clips from the movie (as well as "Peter Pan"), stills, animation tests and behind-the-scenes footage of the Disney studio in the old days as well as currently, the filmmakers (such as animation legend Glen Keane and character sculptor Kent Melton) talk about using their resources and how they went about creating the movie. It's not a huge documentary, but it gets the job done and gives you a good glimpse of how the movie was created without going through the behind-the-scenes section (I think it's aimed for a younger audience). Since this was a complex production, it's interesting to see how certain things were done like animation John Silver (complete with computer generated arm). Very well worth watching, and it's even chapter encoded.

Now it's on to the bulk of the supplements. Story features the trailer for "Treasure Island" in full screen (I guess to show origins somewhat and cheaply plug the new DVD release of that movie) and "Story Art Gallery" which is just a bunch of cool storyboards and sketches. Art Design features "The Brandywine School." This near two-and-a-half minute featurette is hosted by Roy Disney who gives some history about who started and what the Brandywine School is. With clips, stills and behind-the-scenes footage of the film, artistic supervisor for backgrounds Dan Cooper, art director Andy Gaskill and associate art director Ian Gooding talk about the Brandywine method, reflecting off of Stevenson's work and what kind of animated look they were going for with the movie in that vein. Very nice. "Still Art Galleries" is divided into three sections: "Visual Development," "Paintings" and "Moments." All three offer quite a variety of intriguing images, most of which are lovely. Finally, "The 70/30 Law" has more stills and interviews with Gaskill and Gooding about Clements' world was that 70 percent of the movie would be traditional and 30 percent different. Lasting a bit over a minute-and-a-half, it's a nice watch.

The Characters is more stills of the film's main and supporting characters - tons of stuff to see here. Under John Silver, you'll find a slide show of drawings for him, a "Hook" test (introduced by Keane) shows inspiration from a certain Disney classic while the Silver Arm test shows the creation of Silver's computer generated arm. Under B.E.N., you'll find a slide show for him too and 3D Character/2D world where Musker and Clements talk about changing Benjamin Gunn into a robot. Using animation tests and clips from Disney's live-action "Treasure Island," we see the creation and complexity of this great character of making him more than 2D but less than 3D to make him fit more seamlessly. Nice.

Animation has the "Hook" test yet again as well as the Silver Progression animation as in the "Animation Magic" featurette. There's also "Animation: Doctor Doppler" where supervising animator Sergio Pablos talks about the character and shows stills as well as rough animation of the character (he was actually originally a human for the movie). Pablos talks about the aspects of the character briefly but nicely. Meanwhile, "Pencil Animation" is broken down into two more segments. "Ameila's Cabin" where supervising animator for Amelia, Ken Duncan, talks about the creation of Amelia with (various stills, final animation and rough animation) and how different she was in the design stages. There's also "Rough Animation To Final Film Comparison" where supervising animator for Jim Hawkins, John Ripa, introduces split-screen segments of the final movie and rough animation.

Dimensional Staging has four more portions to check out and are more technical in nature. "Color Keys" shows of four panels of drawings that capture the color schemes of certain settings. "Layout Demonstrations" is hosted by artistic supervisor Neil Eskuri and artistic supervisor CGI Kyle Odermatt and talk about how layout is formed with the animation. There's a focus on camera movements too, which is pretty interesting. There are some animation tests too, making this interesting to see how what they did was accomplished. "Treasure Planet Found" is hosted by the same duo, showing rough animation and what they wanted to accomplish with the actual planet and it's core. Pretty fascinating as creating effects and executing ideas is much more complex than it seems. Finally, the two are back again for "Lighting." The two explain it's actually pretty similar to doing it in a live action film. This is quite technical, especially in how painted strokes are vital to the success of lighting. There are more tests to be seen. These might not appeal to everyone, but are interesting to watch.

Merging 2D and 3D Worlds has the "RLS Legacy Virtual 3D Tour and Treasure Hunt" once again as well as two new things to watch. "Pose Camera" features artistic coordinatior Neil Eskuri (yep, again) as he talks about blending 2-D and 3D together. Featuring clips of rough animation and rough camera momements to give the viewer an idea of how it comes together. Nice stuff. "Effects Animation" has Eskuri and Odermatt on creating effects for the movie. You can see tests for the storm sequence, the sails on the ship coming down and a bit more.

Rounding the extras out are more promotional items. There's the "I'm Still Here (Jim's Theme)" Music Video by John Rzeznik (again, it's a great song and really cool video - presented in non-anamorphic widescreen), two Posters plus the Teaser Trailer and Theatrical Trailer in non-anamorphic widescreen and English Dolby Surround. And what would a Disney DVD release be without Sneak Peeks? There are plenty: you get previews for the latest Pixar opus "Finding Nemo," the next Disney animated feature "Brother Bear" (maybe it'll be a bigger success than "Treasure Planet" - looks interesting), "Atltantis: Milo's Return," "Stitch: The Movie," "Bionicle," "The Lion King: Special Edition," "George Of The Jungle" and one of my favorite films, the Miyazaki classic "Castle In The Sky." For you DVD-ROM users, standard Disney stuff: you can register your DVD and check out some weblinks. Seems like a missed opportunity for interactive games and activities, but given the movie's performance... yeah, probably wasn't happening. Oh well.

 

I really can't help but wonder that if perhaps Disney swapped the release date with their other November family release, "The Santa Clause 2," if "Treasure Planet" would have been a box office hit instead of a huge financial loss. Nonetheless, I found "Treasure Planet" to be a great movie and of the best films of 2002, even if you might have heard otherwise. And while this DVD doesn't pack a giant amount of extras like two-disc editions from Disney in the past, what's provided is quite satisfying - all while backed by a beautiful transfer and really cool 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. I urge everyone to see "Treasure Planet" - it really is that good. Simply put, this is a Disney classic and is truly worth owning. I can only hope it will be remembered for years to come.