'Treasure Planet' was always a bit of an anomaly to me. Despite a release that (at least among my peers) sort of just came and went, somehow the title 'Treasure Planet' stuck with me as a curiosity. There is the part of me that enjoys the old 'Treasure Island' tale (especially when told by Muppets), so a neat, sci-fi rendering of the story seemed like a cool idea. I did review this a few years ago as well, and not a whole lot has changed.
To simplify the plot completely, it is, exactly, 'Treasure Island' in space. If you are unfamiliar with 'Treasure Island', it's an adventure tale from all the way back to 1881, involving pirates, namely Long John Silver (Brian Murray), a boy named Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and the search for the evil Captain Flint's buried treasure. I know that's extremely simplified, but hey, it's a 140+-year-old story with about a million renditions that you've likely read at some point in school. It's legendary. That said, I have to admit that it seemed to take them long enough to come up with a sci-fi version of the story, because why the hell not? It's in the public domain, go nuts!
When I first reviewed this, I brought up the combination of the overall setting and how distracting it was. The idea is that the mechanics and backdrop are basically advanced technology, but the costume design is that of the pirate age along with the ship they're sailing on. And though I admit it's still a bit weird that Disney didn't go one way or the other on it (entirely traditional or entirely futuristic), it certainly takes nothing away from the film. It's interesting, given Disney's history of retelling tales that it wasn't just traditional. But I do give kudos for being creative. We can't always be purists (at least I can't).
For the most part, I still enjoyed this one, although it's not like it would make the top of my list as far as Disney animation goes. It's good, but being a story we've seen so many times before, it IS unfortunately somewhat forgettable. It keeps the original story alive and well, and we do get to like these characters as we go on this adventure. The key relationship here is the one between Long John and Jim, as they have a sort of mutual respect for one another that plays through the film, even when things go awry (I mean, spoiler alert, but Long John ends up being a double-crossing pirate).
It would feel wrong not to offer up a few more of the talented voices who worked on this. It's easy enough to explain that it's the plot of 'Treasure Island' in space, but several characters lend themselves to the great relationships we see forming throughout the film. Just a few of the more familiar voices include Emma Thompson as Captain Amelia, David Hyde Pierce as Doctor Doppler, Martin Short as B.E.N. and Laurie Metcalf as Sarah Hawkins. And yes, in case you are wondering, a couple of these characters are robots.
Perhaps my true appreciation for the film, however, lies in the fact that it looks so beautiful, using CG to its full advantage, providing us with a sort of grand scale of things. To see this on the big screen probably would have been much more of a treat than on my standard computer screen, streaming a Disney+ feature. In the end, it's a interesting rendition of an age-old classic tale, and it's perfectly fine. The thing of it is, it doesn't stand out in any parituclar way (aside from perhaps the animation of the time), and has since been completely shrouded by the new age of Disney animation, which dates any amount of CG from 2002.