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Treasure Planet

Daddy issues in space


Release date: November 27, 2002
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
Language: English

Who should watch this movie: 90s kids. People who grew up playing the Tony Hawk video games.

When should you watch this movie: When you feel the call for adventure. When the DNC refuses to cancel student loans again.

The sell: Treasure Island is a novel published in 1883 by Robert Louis Stevenson. It is a self proclaimed tale of “buccaneers and buried gold.” Muppet Treasure Island is a 1996 film adaptation of Stevenson’s popular novel, starring Kermit The Frog alongside a cast of equally accomplished puppets. This brings us to the 2002 animated adventure, Treasure Planet, which at first glance is simply another installment in a long line of Stevenson adaptations. However, the world building in this movie renders the source material irrelevant. The universe of this film is full, vibrant, and fleshed out in spectacular detail. The rich textures of setting provide more than a beautiful backdrop. The characters are clearly products of their environment and in interacting with said environment, they grow and change, deepening personality and driving plot simultaneously. Our main character, Jim, is a typically developing adolescent, i.e. a prick, and deeply relatable. Adventure transforms teenage angst into compassion, compassion into courage, and courage into maturity. And yet, the film never treats Jim’s early behavior with condescension. In fact, in a surprising departure from the genre’s typical reliance on archetypes, all of the characters – with the exception of a few particularly evil henchmen – are given three dimensional treatment and allowed multifaceted character arcs. Yes, this is still a story about “buccaneers and buried treasure,” but it is worth watching for everything else it is.

Note: If you loved this movie as a kid, you’re gay now. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

Note 2: Let’s all just pretend that Jim doesn’t become a cop in the end. I choose not to see it, therefore it didn’t happen.


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