Tuesday, November 27, 2007

There Be Pirates Ahead...


By Pirates, I mean Suits acting as pirates and hijacking Disney animation, of course...

On this day, five years ago, Walt Disney Pictures releases its 42nd animated feature "Treasure Planet". The film is loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel "Treasure Island". This is a film that was pitched to Jeffrey Katzenberg several times... he rejected it everytime. After he leaves the Mouse, apparently no one listened...

It does very badly at the box office.

While not nearly the worst film released by the Mouse over the last decade, it was not up to the caliber of "Mermaid", "Beauty" or "Lion King"... and was well known within the halls of the animation building as having been heavily interfered with by Suits. A bunch of animation executives that didn't know story, didn't know how to draw telling a bunch of animators how to tell story and how to draw.

And when it was a failure, who got the blame?

The animators. Sigh...

14 comments:

Tangaroa said...

This movie was a massive lost opportunity. Look at that poster! Amazing! The conceptual art for this film knocked my socks off. Good voice talent for several roles. Good character design. A male protagonist who wasn't completely a wet blanket. And an interesting concept.

I'd love to know more about the film's development. It never gelled, and hilarious farting alien pirates didn't help. They never do.

V.M.L. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Uhm v.m.l.,

I don't think he was saying it was a great movie. Notice what he said:

Amazing poster.
Conceptual art.
Good voice talent.
Male protagonist not being wasted.
Interesting concept.

Did you see anything about story? Nope. I think tangaroa was trying to say it had potential as an idea but the result was less than great.

It would be interesting to see what the directors would have done had the development executives not meddled in the process. Luckily, I think we don't have to worry about that now with "The Mousetro" in charge, as Honor would say.

Anonymous said...

When the film came out, I read an article which stated, the movie had been addressed at the wrong target group. It turned out that many girls found Jim (the main character) adorable and cute. I don't know if that is true, but it would have been worth the try.
I too find the look and feel of the movie very beautifull and the animation is very good indeed. But somehow, there is this awkwardness towards the people in it. You never really "get" what they do, why they do it. I found the Cyborgh impressive and way more human and threedimensional than Frolo in the Hunchback.
However. I don't really like the movie for its story, although I watch it every now and then and wonder what went wrong.

Scissorhands said...

Oh no!!! I LOVE Treasure Planet!!! It's a great, great movie and every Disney fan that I know think the same thing!!!!
I'm really sorry that it didn't go well at box office!!

Anonymous said...

You liked Shrek the Third too, I take it?

Richard Harrison said...

I think Honor's post raises lots of good discussion points relative to Katzenberg's departure. What's really difficult to stomach is that most of the blame fell on Roy Disney as this is always referred to as his pet project.

scissorhands said...

I'm sorry for you, but I didn't like Shrek the Third. I found it, unfunny,unoriginal,unispired...
Treasure Planet is a masterpiece!!And it gives us a great example of father and son relationship with the characters of Jim and Silver!!!

D.O.C. said...

I agree with scissorhands, I liked the film. No, it will not go down as one of Disney Animations finest moments. But being a fan of Disney background art I enjoyed the visual elements. I also found the RLS Legacy departure from the space port visually stunning. And for the record, I have not seen Shrek II or III.

liz said...

this film would be OK for a don bluth film...

for a disney film? it was a mess, in my opinion. not memorable at all for me.

stupid, foolish suits.

Anonymous said...

I love this film.

And least you forget, it scored a 71% with the critics (Rotten Tomatoes). That's higher then any of the animated movies that followed. (Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinson's.)

With suits or without, the story stays true to the Treasure Island book, is visually stunning, and is highly under-rated.

Anonymous said...

The only reason you people don't like this movie is because it wasn't a musical. All of Disney's hit animated films are musicals. Do the math.

king Louie said...

Uhm... no, actually. The reason I don't care for it as much as the others is the story.

The story just isn't on the level of Lion King, Mermaid, Beauty or Aladdin. I could care less if they break out into song.

MarkTwain said...

I really loved this film and still wonder what went wrong with it financially... I thought the story was fine, it was very well adapted from Treasure Island. And John Silver, IMO is one of the greatest characters to emerge from WDA in terms of depth. My guess with its financial doom was its lackluster script (which is different than story) and poor advertising.