Friday, September 30, 2011

Films: Treasure Planet

The other night I finally got round to watching Treasure Planet. I've been meaning to for ages; the idea of a Disney film incorporating steampunk elements seemed almost too good to be true.

I'll admit I was slightly dubious after reading a couple of negative reviews, but in the end I'm glad I watched it.

To be honest I don't actually recall much of the story of Treasure Island. I remember watching the Muppet's version as a young kid, but other than that, not much crosses my memory. So the story itself did hold my interest - I'm aware this was a problem for some other audiences who were already more than familiar with it.

I didn't find Hawkins to be the most engaging protagonist, simply because the quiet, brooding and rebellious teenager is a character I've seen many times over. However I did feel pangs of emotion at the scenes showing his father leaving and some of the moments between Silver and him. The development of their relationship and the breaking down of Silver's tough, villain-like exterior, was very touching.

My slight fascination with steampunk meant that the scenery, character design and general style was more than enough to keep my eyes from ever leaving the screen. I found Silver to be a little too heavy and grotesque; I did like his robotic limbs though. My favourite was perhaps Amelia, I love her design and I thought she had some really funny lines.

I actually also found B.E.N's insane antics to be quite entertaining, I seem to be in the minority there though. I was amused when one review called him the "Jar Jar Binks of Treasure Planet". What a coincedence, I quite liked Jar Jar... (should I admit to that?)

Anyway, similarly to how the film wonderfully fuses traditional aesthetics with sci-fi, I thought the 2D and 3D animation complimented each other perfectly. The 3D brought a great sense of the vastness of the environment, something which might not have been achieved quite so well with 2D alone. The use of CG to animate robotic parts, such as Silver's arm, and characters such as B.E.N, also made the movements much smoother and more realistic.

However, the quality of animation between the characters seemed to vary somewhat. Hawkins' facial animation seemed much less fluid as some of the others, particularly in comparison to Delbert, whose animation was flawless; he was expressive without appearing ridiculous. Perhaps this is simply a matter of how defined their physical features are; Treasure Planet certainly hosts a fascinating array of non-human creatures.

All-in-all I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'm interesting in exploring more of the less mainstream Disney films.

Next on the list, I think, will be Atlantis.

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