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Treasure Planet (2002)

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 96 minutes

UK Certificate: u

It's like Treasure Island , only set in space. What an idea! Why didn't anyone think of it sooner? Probably because it's rubbish.

If fans of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic were peeved by the Muppet's attempted reworking a few years ago, then they should definitely hide their eyes now. For this charmless sci-fi caper, Disney have taken it upon themselves to make Jim Hawkins a sulky floppy-haired space-surfing delinquent, and Long John Silver a robot-armed cyborg with a cutesy shape-shifting pink blob where once you'd have expected a parrot. Disney have provided us with some wonderful characters over the years, but you'll struggle to find any in here.

Hawkins gets the opportunity to escape the whining of his suspiciously young-looking single mum when he discovers a star chart leading him to the hidden “loot of a thousand worlds”. So, accompanied by a particularly irritating friend of the family going by the name of Dr Doppler, he sets off on a ship captained by an Emma Thompson-voiced captain and a crew of predictably mutinous mutants.

It's all formulaic Disney fare, but from the directors who brought us the triumphs that were Aladdin and The Little Mermaid you expect much more. Yes, the animation is brilliant, and the space theme provides the perfect opportunity for Disney to show off the full whack of its' cartoon capabilities. But we already know Disney can do that. It just wouldn't be one of Walt's flicks if it didn't utilise the latest cutting edge technology, but that's no substitute for good ideas, a sharp script, likable characters and a fun soundtrack. Unfortunately, Treasure Planet struggles to keep its head above water in all four of those areas.

This contrived attempt at recapturing the spirit of Disney adventures of old is to be followed swiftly into cinemas by a sequel to The Jungle Book. Is that the sound of great minds whirring we hear emanating from Disney HQ? Nope, it's the sound of a barrel being scraped.

It's Got: Martin Short as the malfunctioning hyper-annoying robot B.E.N. – the things you see when you don’t have a tin-opener.

It Needs: To dump the groaning "adult" soundtrack and inject some proper fun.


The quality of the animation never fails to impress, but can’t cover up for the fact that this is one of the blandest cartoon tales ever to come out of the Disney studios. Extremely disappointing.