Treasure Planet

I just saw two movies, the Rock (an old favorite. One of the few Jerry Bruckheimer films I enjoy and find infinitely quotable) and Treasure Planet.

The Rock will be covered perhaps some other day. Especially a quote I like (that I'm mangling): "Hoping that there is something left to hope for."

But right now, I'm going to talk about Treasure Planet.

I'm going to talk about it on three levels, because I appreciated it on three levels.

First, the Dialogue writers were good. Not great, but better than average. Good jokes, solid follow-through, good thoughts brought to life in believable, convincing conversation full of personality and life. Rare in a childrens film, esp. the more recent Disney drivel I've seen.

Second, the characters themselves were authentic. Silver's obsession and turncoat attitude, Hawkins' drive to succeed and live a life worth living, Hawkin's need for a father.

In particular, there was a montage of memories near the middle of the film, which includes a sequence where Hawkins watches Silver demonstrating how to cast off a longboat as he's going to run some errand. Hawkins has a flashback and discovers that he's watching a young version of himself desperately chase his father down the dock as his father is leaving them. It's a moment filled with drama and pain, and we are brought back to the present by Hawkins' realizing that Silver has doubled back and asked him to come along on the errand.

Suddenly his new mentor has recognized his fear of isolation, and his need to be welcomed and accepted by a man that he respects, and he has reached out to fill that role. It's a powerful scene that would speak volumes to some of the people I know. Heck, it speaks volumes to me, if only indirectly through my knowledge of the struggles that others have endured.

Third, the movie is visually pristine. The toy designer who built the concepts for the weapons, devices, vehicles, and other gear in the film was brilliant, both inventive and artistic without losing the overal authentic flair the movie was going for. Simultaneously it's the best animation that Disney has done since the Lion King. It's detailed, vivid, and it has a lot of depth and fantastic use of dynamic light and 3 dimensional realism.

If I were asked to assemble the 'A list' of the top animated movies I've seen that should get in based on merit as films and as artistic endeavours, this movie would sit in between Hayao Miyazaki's original and beautiful Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds and Hiroyuki Okiura's heartrending and stunningly masterful Jin-Rô: The Wolf Brigade.

Yes, visually it is that good.

And now, I'm off to write. I've got some new thoughts about a new direction in which I want to take this book idea.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


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