Picks and Pans Review: Treasure Planet
Is it just me, or are children's cartoons more entertaining today than most of the dismal pap aimed at adult moviegoers? Treasure Planet, which reconfigures Robert Louis Stevenson's classic 18th-century adventure tale Treasure Planet as an intergalactic spectacle, is a delightful case in point. It has imagination, humor aplenty and moves briskly. The animation, combining traditional and digital techniques, is ravishing.
As in the novel (which has been filmed more than a half-dozen times, including a 1996 version with the Muppets), Planet's adolescent hero is Jim Hawkins (voiced by Gordon-Levitt). He's still hunting for a massive treasure hidden years ago by a notorious pirate, but in this futuristic version he journeys in a spaceship (literally, a galleon that sails the galaxies), and the creatures he meets, both friendly and evil, are distinctly non-human. Even the story's softie pseudo-villain, John Silver (voiced by Murray), is now a pirate cyborg with a mechanical eye, arm and leg. Adding to the fun with strong vocal work are David Hyde Pierce as a befuddled astrophysicist, Emma Thompson as a take-charge ship's commander and Martin Short as a ditsy robot. (PG)
BOTTOM LINE: Truly a treasure