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July 17, 2018 6:20 AM   Subscribe

 
This is enjoyable. I never watched Treasure Planet but should.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:51 AM on July 17, 2018


Treasure Planet's biggest mistake: B.E.N.. Could've been a been a decently good Disney classic if he hadn't teleported in from some other, much worse movie mid-way through.
posted by sfenders at 7:00 AM on July 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I dunno.... was it a bigger flop than The Black Cauldron? That movie almost bankrupted Disney.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:07 AM on July 17, 2018


I thought Black Cauldron was their biggest mistake, in that it almost sunk the animation part of that company. This is not to say that I think Black Cauldron is a bad movie, I absolutely adore it, it just sort of failed in a lot of ways with regards to its cost and how it was received by the audience at the time.
posted by Fizz at 7:08 AM on July 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


And I missed fimbulvetr comment just as I was typing mine a minute later.
posted by Fizz at 7:12 AM on July 17, 2018


Notice that both Treasure Planet and The Black Cauldron have human male central characters. This is not Disney's forte, Aladdin aside.
posted by ubiquity at 7:23 AM on July 17, 2018 [8 favorites]


I assume Treasure Planet is in the same 'Memory Hole' that Disney have stashed 'Atlantis:The Lost Empire' in.

Kidagakash seems permanently removed (invisible) in the Disney Princess line-up.

I mean occasionally something escapes from the Memory Hole that shouldn't ::cough:: Pete's Dragon' ::cough::, but otherwise Disney has turned having a selective Corporate memory into an art-form.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:25 AM on July 17, 2018 [10 favorites]


A few months ago I finally got around to watching Moana, and I loved it. Like, one the best movies I've ever seen; the pacing, the editing, the cinematography... Moana is a monster of a film, and despite being a huge success I still think it's underrated.

So I looked the team who directed it, these two guys Ron Clements and John Musker. It turns out they also did The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, The Princess and the Frog, and Treasure Planet. I thought: these guys are freaking legends, and what the hell is Treasure Planet? Somehow I'd completely missed that film.

I finally fixed that last night. It was a wild movie. It felt extremely 2002. But it has a lot of their playful inventiveness, and with a different script it could have been incredible. I mostly blame the source material. But the cinematography? Amazing!! So many good shots in Treasure Planet.

Tonight I'm going to watch another Musker and Clements film. Maybe Aladdin. Haven't seen that one in years.
posted by weed donkey at 7:37 AM on July 17, 2018 [13 favorites]


Notice that both Treasure Planet and The Black Cauldron have human male central characters. This is not Disney's forte, Aladdin aside.

Even Aladdin had a Princess™ who was central to the story.

I was thinking the same thing, though. The female characters are pretty strongly secondary in TP, which does seem to go against Disney's (by then) established methodology.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:38 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


It felt extremely 2002.

I feel like Treasure Planet was a direct response to Titan AE which came out 2 years previous, like, look at us, we're Disney, we can do space pirates stuff too!
posted by Fizz at 7:43 AM on July 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


I love Treasure Planet, but I think since I also love Spellajmmer and even kinda liked Galaxy Express 999, that's at least as much because I'm in love with sailing ships (or trains) in space as it was that Treasure Planet was a good movie.

I even kinda liked B.E.N. because there was a tragic aspect to him. He wasn't crazy because he was just a wacky robot, he was crazy because the pirate king ripped out half his frigging brain!

I still have a Captain Amelia toy/figure from the McDonald's promotion. My partner collects female action figures and we drove to several McDonalds before we found one that had some Amelia toys left.
posted by sotonohito at 7:43 AM on July 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


Treasure Planet's biggest mistake: B.E.N. Could've been a been a decently good Disney classic if he hadn't teleported in from some other, much worse movie mid-way through.

I think that he may have teleported in from Rick and Morty. Very respectably animated (better than the organic characters in that scene, IMO), but also a little... handsy.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:44 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was fully expecting a Lindsay Ellis video, since she refers to this movie in a lot of her Disney-related essays. Mildly disappointed, but I'll give it a watch anyway.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:47 AM on July 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I enjoyed Treasure Planet. So there.
posted by Gelatin at 7:47 AM on July 17, 2018


Huh. Treasure planet rang a bell, and looking at the screenshots I'm pretty damn sure I watched it - but I have no memory of it at all. Couldn't tell you a single plot point. Disney clearly aren't the only ones to shove this in the memory vault.
posted by stillnocturnal at 7:48 AM on July 17, 2018


From the third link: the writing actually does Treasure Island better than Treasure Island!

Um, no. But I love Treasure Planet anyway.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 7:49 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


And Galaxy Express 999, thank you!

If memory serves me correctly, there was much written in the entertainment press of the day that Disney had no idea how to market the film, the target audience -- ten-year-old boys, basically -- being outside their normal segment. But one would think a marketing juggernaut like Disney would figure it out

(Of course, they did -- they bought the Star Wars franchise.)
posted by Gelatin at 7:51 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Most of the characters are either robots or human-shaped aliens, none of which make good toys.
Exactly. This is why those Star Wars movies failed because they had no good toys.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 7:53 AM on July 17, 2018 [10 favorites]


Disney animated movies between 2000-2010 are rife with bad decisions. They put out a bunch of forgettable 2D movies (Brother Bear, Home on the Range) followed by embarrassingly bad 3D movies (Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons), and don't forget this was the era of DisneyToon Studios shoveling out garbage direct-to-video sequels to classic animated movies like Lady and the Tramp 2, the Hunchback of Notre Dame 2, and the Fox and the Hound 2. If Treasure Planet had come out after John Lasseter (ptui!) corrected Disney's course in 2006 it probably would have done much better.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:06 AM on July 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: Voiced by Niles Crane

I believe I've watched Treasure Planet at least once, but I don't really have any memory of it (pretty sure I had it playing in the background while I was cleaning, so i was only half-watching it). I'll probably watch it again at some point.
posted by littlesq at 8:11 AM on July 17, 2018


stillnocturnal: Treasure planet rang a bell, and looking at the screenshots I'm pretty damn sure I watched it - but I have no memory of it at all.

You may not have seen the movie, but you may have seen some of the characters/animation.
posted by carsonb at 8:13 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Their real mistake was not making the entire movie about Captain Amelia.
posted by RobotHero at 8:20 AM on July 17, 2018 [8 favorites]


‘Treasure Island in Space’ is just so obviously an idea for the reject bin.
posted by Segundus at 8:44 AM on July 17, 2018


Re-watched it a few weeks ago with my 10yo, who hadn't seen it. It holds up. The animation is really good, the story works, the characters are all great and it doesn't have a bunch of musical numbers shoehorned in for no gosh-durn reason.
Is it pixar? No, it's not, but it's a lot better than the Emperor's New Groove, Brother Bear or Hercules.
posted by signal at 8:47 AM on July 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


... followed by embarrassingly bad 3D movies (Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons)

MEET THE ROBINSONS IS WONDERFUL YOU TAKE THAT BACK RIGHT NOW.
posted by hanov3r at 8:50 AM on July 17, 2018 [8 favorites]


I LOVE TREASURE PLANET. It’s so fun, you get sailing ships in space.. it’s still a Disney kids movie and is a bit goofy in spots but I enjoy it every time I watch it.
posted by curious nu at 8:59 AM on July 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


it's a lot better than the Emperor's New Groove, Brother Bear or Hercules

It's better than one excellent movie and two crappy ones?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:01 AM on July 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


To those asking "But is it really worse than Black Cauldron?" I get the feeling you should watch the video, because it starts out by addressing Black Cauldron, and continues by singing the praises of Treasure Planet all the way through. The title of the video is actually a big con.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 9:02 AM on July 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


signal: but it's a lot better than the Emperor's New Groove, Brother Bear or Hercules

Uhh, disagree. I really like Treasure Planet, but Emperor's was really good. And Hercules has grown on me a LOT. Brother Bear just seems uninspired, like the worst parts of Treasure Planet.

Fizz: Black Cauldron was their biggest mistake

Concur! As much for the studio dynamics as much as the film itself. The edits done late by Katzenberg seem like a big FU to a development team.
posted by DigDoug at 9:03 AM on July 17, 2018



From the third link: the writing actually does Treasure Island better than Treasure Island!

Um, no. But


that link hates my adblocker so I can't pick it apart as I might like to. Because this is some writer who doesn't understand where his asshole is. Sorry, I just got into an unrelated argument with somebody. My overall point being, Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island is one of the greatest works of fiction of the 19th Century, so much so that you quickly forget that it's of a particular time, it's simply timeless. The characters, the plotting, the moral ambiguities, the voice that's doing the telling, the overall confident sparseness of the prose (no word wasted) -- I'd call it one of the very first modern novels. And in spite of endless adaptations and riffs, I'm still waiting for something to truly capture that. Which Treasure Planet didn't. I can't remember why exactly, just know that I started watching and quickly found it easy to do something else. They probably got the kid wrong. Too old or whatever. Also, the goofiness. There is no goof in Stevenson's novel.
posted by philip-random at 9:10 AM on July 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I, too, love this film. I had never heard of it until the last time I was at Disneyland I was waiting for my wife to come out of the facilities, just after entering. So I'm hanging around the little plaza by the gates before you walk down Main Street and I notice that the building I'm standing next to has a lottle shop window display with an elaborate model of a sailing ship. It looks odd somehow, but it's big, like two feet or three feet long, and I walk over to get a closer look.

It kinda looks like a sailing-ship version of Battleship Yamato, that animé about a battleship turned into a spaceship, and I'm really wondering what the hell is this thing? Is it from an animé? Is this from a forthcoming Ghibli film that Disney is gonna distribute? Hunh, there's some character sheets and sketches and oh, a poster and the film is called, uh, Treasure Planet? Hm, wonder when it comes out. Boy, this ship is neat! Oh, here's my wife.

A month later I remembered that moment and googled for a bit to find that it was an old film regarded as a bomb. A week later, we watched it, and boy was I skeptical at first, but by the end of the film I was quite taken with it! There's no meaningful way the film can be classified as a seafaring film but the cinematography is really among the very best tall-ship shot design anyone's ever made.
posted by mwhybark at 9:14 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I feel like Treasure Planet was a direct response to Titan AE

I feel like any chain of thought that starts with feeling a need to respond to a movie that lost $100 million, wasn't particularly well-reviewed, caused the closure of the studio that made it, and basically ended Don Bluth's career is not going to lead to anything good. Particularly so since their response would come two years after Titan AE, which is a movie where I'm not sure I remembered anything about it 20 minutes after I left the theater. Two years later it had completely vanished from public consciousness.
posted by Copronymus at 9:15 AM on July 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


Spoiler: The premise of the linked video is that Treasure Planet was a great movie that was sent out to die so Disney could change direction away from traditional animation, chasing Pixar into full 3D.

"Disney's Biggest Mistake" wasn't the movie, but their leadership decisions.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 9:16 AM on July 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


Treasure Planet was conceived in the late 80s and greenlit before Titan AE was even a thing. Seriously, go watch the video.

"One of Disney's most visually compelling features ever produced, and my personal favorite from the 'Happiest Animation Studio on Earth'"
posted by I-Write-Essays at 9:25 AM on July 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


it's a lot better than the Emperor's New Groove

*record-scratch*

I mean, I know I've watched Treasure Planet and liked it enough to put it in my Netflix queue for a rewatch someday but to rate it higher than ENG . . . . . .
posted by soundguy99 at 9:28 AM on July 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


I, uh, really like Treasure Planet and have since it came out. I wish more people would give it a shot, the animation and story are great.
posted by lydhre at 9:30 AM on July 17, 2018


This guy's reviews & criticisms are really good. Happily subscribed, and may add him to my patreon queue too. I'll decide after I watch his other 3 hours of content.
posted by DigDoug at 9:32 AM on July 17, 2018


Titan AE, which is a movie where I'm not sure I remembered anything about it 20 minutes after I left the theater

But it had that hit song from Creed!
posted by straight at 9:55 AM on July 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


I saw Treasure Planet in theaters with my now-wife. We fully expected it to be terrible and planned to make out in the empty theater the whole time. Except, towards the end, I got into it and she'll never let me forget when I told her "hang on, I want to see what happens".

It's certainly not the worst late 90s/early 2000s Disney movie, but it's not the best one either. It was born of an odd time in American animation where the producers, writers and directors were enamored with the idea of more mature animated fare because they were all in love with anime, but American audiences hadn't yet caught up. There's tons of these not-quite-kiddie animated movies in that time period, and they universally flopped but have surged in popularity as anime has grown in popularity in the American market.

Also, Emperor's New Groove is such an odd duck, because it was an attempt to salvage a failed Disney musical blockbuster by turning it into a buddy comedy. It's by far one of the funniest Disney movie, but it only came out because Disney was just dumping failed projects so they could recoup in the rental market.
posted by sleeping bear at 9:55 AM on July 17, 2018 [12 favorites]


‘Treasure Island in Space’ is just so obviously an idea for the reject bin.

I dunno. Sounds like a great starting point for a Netflix series to me.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:32 AM on July 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


philip-random: Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island is one of the greatest works of fiction of the 19th Century, so much so that you quickly forget that it's of a particular time, it's simply timeless. The characters, the plotting, the moral ambiguities, the voice that's doing the telling, the overall confident sparseness of the prose (no word wasted) -- I'd call it one of the very first modern novels. And in spite of endless adaptations and riffs, I'm still waiting for something to truly capture that. Which Treasure Planet didn't.

No argument here, but "not as good as Treasure Island" is praising with faint damns. And Stevenson didn't manage first-rate and still unique animation*, so there's that.

*But check out Mervyn Peake's illustrations!
posted by doubtfulpalace at 11:26 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Notice that both Treasure Planet and The Black Cauldron have human male central characters. This is not Disney's forte, Aladdin aside.

Disney has a much better batting average with "girl" movies than with "boy" adventures. Considering something like only 20% of all animation creatives are women, I don't know if that's a positive that the men make most of these films are so good at producing films about singing princesses, or it's evidence that the 80% of their staff that are men keep trying and failing to do these "boy" movies instead of sticking with what works and they're actually good at.
posted by thecjm at 12:48 PM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


To all those misguided souls who express doubt in my dislike of The Emperor's New Groove, you are aware that it stars David Spade, in a role that seems like it was written not just for him but by him?
It's definitely the davidspadeist movie I've ever suffered through.
posted by signal at 4:41 PM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Plus, the wholesale misappropriation of 'inca' elements hit a little too close to home for me, living fairly close to what used to be the Tawantinsuyu, and having a lot of immigrants descended from the Incas in my city.
posted by signal at 4:59 PM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I remember Treasure Planet well. I think a few things cruelled it:

- Awful songs by GooGoo Dolls Frontman
- Bad script with too much exposition and pacebreaking set pieces that weren't incorporated into the narrative
- (the big one) fundamentally misunderstanding the appeal of Treasure Island, and what it's about, as typified by their terrible changes to Long John Silver.

I submit that one of the things that makes Treasure Island work so well is Jim's relationship to Long John Silver. John is the father figure Jim desperately craves. He's aware that John is not on the level, but it still lured in by his charm. A lot of tension in the novel comes from Jim's almost helpless attraction to John, mingled with fear and uncertainty. This resonates as a YA topic, but it's an age where young adults are starting to look beyond their parents for role models (not authority figures), and making tentative judgment calls about the character of a person beyond how that person treats them individually. Like a darker Captain Hook in some ways, John is a possible future for Jim, and as readers we - like Jim - are both attracted and repelled by this possibility.

This dovetails nicely into the theme of growing up, taking action etc, which a good YA text almost always have. Jim is put in multiple situations where he has to decide what to do, and at various points he emulates a Silver-like craftiness with Hawkins morals.

The film jettisons a lot of this. The book's Silver is an amoral, charismatic, rogue. The film is a gruff softie with a heart of gold, it robs the film of so much tension. Likewise, the book thrives on sense of genuine danger and isolation for Jim - he spends much of it alone or hiding. The film doesn't do this, and you're never really worried about him.

It had a lot of potential and the animation is gorgeous, though a little too anime influenced (Jim is just a fleshy blob with huge eyes).
posted by smoke at 5:28 PM on July 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


Worth reading this thread to triple the number of people I thought knew about Galaxy Express.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:54 PM on July 17, 2018


under_petticoat_rule, you can quadruple that, because I know about it, too. Actually, you can quintuple or more, because my family knows about it -- it's a favourite of my aunt's, especially.
posted by tickingclock at 6:27 AM on July 18, 2018


"Disney's Biggest Mistake" wasn't the movie, but their leadership decisions.

Very much this. The video touches upon the competition at the box office from Harry Potter, but in fairness, there's not much Disney can do about Warner Brothers' release schedule unless they were willing to entirely concede by not releaseing anything. What they do have full control over however, is their own schedule and Disney sabotaged themselves by releasing The Santa Clause 2 at the beginning of November, and Treasure Planet at the end.

A studio puts out a family-demographic Christmas movie on November first, you know they're expecting it to be playing in theaters through 12/25. It's a double-dog-tongue-on-the-frozen-flagpole-dare to the cinema operators: "Go ahead, try and rotate this one out in the middle of the busiest retail season of the year, at a time when you know the kids will be out of school and frazzled parents will be wanting to do something to quiet them down; we know you won't be able to, you like money too much."

So when not even a month later, Disney puts out Treasure Planet, cinemas were like "You want us to devote how many screen-hours to Disney family fare? Ok, we'll throw it up there for the minimum number of showings our contract will let us get away with, but you're only competing with yourself."

And when the mouse competes against himself? Guess what -- the mouse loses. And it had to be deliberate too, someone at the executive level would have had to have seen that the two films were going to be cannibalizing each other's box offices, and decided not to care.

It's not like this was some rushed-to-production sequel because the first one was so profitable. 8 years separated Santa Clause 2 from the first one. Disney could have easily held it back another year for the 2003 Christmas season if they had cared about not torpedoing their other film. Or they could have moved Treasure Planet's release date, but I imagine that they had some contract with McDonalds over happy meal toys that said that they WILL have a feature length animated release sometime in 2002.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:10 PM on July 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


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