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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Young Jim Hawkins is, as always, virtuous and honest, always hoping that Long John Silver will reform. But the movie isn't named after Jim. Long John is a covetous scalawag who routinely double-crosses, robs, and tricks his enemies (it's a good thing that most of his enemies are worse than him). However, he does have a fatherly affection and respect for Jim. Despite the tropical settings, almost the entire cast is white -- not at all like a real pirate ship of the day.
Violence & Scariness
The pirates' "cuttin' and rippin'" are bloodless swordfights, stabbings, and shootings, plus a climactic barrage with explosives. One pirate threatens to cut out the boy hero's eyes. Long John takes a fall out a window. One hanging skeleton.
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Products & Purchases
Nothing but the obvious "for the seafood lover in you" chain-restaurant reference.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Much drinking of rum and grog among the piratical revelry.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is not the classic 1950 Disney version of Treasure Island but a slow-moving non-Disney sequel, done a few years later, with the same lead pirate. Because it's ubiquitous on a number of discount public-domain video labels (some sell it under the title Long John Silver's Return to Treasure Island), picture and sound quality may be inferior. Violence consists of mainly bloodless (but occasionally fatal) stabbings and swordfights, and Long John's crew are heavily into the rum (their captain isn't, though). There is some glorification of Long John's outlaw ways, compared to the snooty aristocrats who embody virtue (a pious, Bible-quoting sort turns out to be a nasty type). One pirate -- blind, scarred, and vengeful -- may frighten smaller viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Newton is the best part of this film, which seems like a couple of movies/TV episodes all wrapped up in one slightly messy heap. Long John has running intrigues with Mendoza while attempting to escape Purity's overtures of marriage while Jim encounters perils on the various ships and on Treasure Island itself. Jim actively tries to foil Long John's dastardly pirate plans. Yet they continue to rescue each other and be friends, "shipmates," into the fadeout. No other characters in the film show each other such respect, understanding, and loyalty.
This movie has an entertaining bedtime-storybook spirit and some good action near the end, even if the script is heavy on the gab and the overall pace and budget are outgunned by the pirate antics of more popular pirate films. Beware: Out of copyright and in the public domain, this film is distributed on a lot of cut-rate DVD and VHS labels, so picture and sound quality may be less than seaworthy.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.