A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Treasure Planet is a swashbuckling pirate adventure in outer space that is a delight for kids who understand the difference between reality and fantasy. Time and again, the film puts young Jim Hawkins and his treasure-hunting partners in danger. Soaring cartoon mayhem and suspense come from mighty explosions, firestorms, black holes, mutinous interspecies creatures, air battles, and multiple narrow escapes. A few featured characters die; one falls into a black hole. Lots of comedy along with the derring-do, including a creature who speaks "flatula" loud, clear, and odiferous.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In TREASURE PLANET, Jim Hawkins (voice of Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a spirited kid who worries his single mother by getting into trouble with a contraption that is like a flying skateboard. A dying man gives him a map that can lead him to the planet where the greatest pirate in history hid his treasure. Dr. Doppler (voice of David Hyde Pierce), a family friend, finances an expedition to go in search of the treasure.
Doppler and Jim set off on a huge ship led by Captain Amelia (voice of Emma Thompson). Jim is assigned to work with the ship's gruff cook, John Silver, a cyborg who is part human, part machine. Jim thinks John is his friend until he overhears him talking to the crew about plans to take over and steal the treasure for themselves. Once on the planet where the treasure is hidden, Jim meets BEN, an oddball robot with half his memory missing (voice of Martin Short). Jim, John, and the others race each other and the pirate's booby-traps to get the treasure.
Is it any good?
This animated sci-fi adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic story is a dazzling vision, with masted schooners sailing past stars and planets. If Treasure Planet is not Disney at its best, it's Disney at its still-pretty-much-better-than-anyone else. Computer and hand animation are brilliantly combined, using the best of both worlds so that the characters have a full range of expressions while the vistas are magnificently three-dimensional. This is exactly what animation should be about, presenting us with a thrillingly imaginative adventure that's utterly liberated from trivialities like the laws of physics and possibility.
Treasure Planet is wonderfully visually inventive, with dozens of witty details. John Silver is a marvel of animation integration and form tied to content, his mechanical parts created by computer and his human parts created by hand. The voice talent is marvelous, especially Thompson, playing the captain as a sort of starchy governess who happens to be extremely brave and have a wicked sense of humor, and Short, who was born to be animated.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it was hard for Jim to behave well before the trip and what will be different for him afterward.
How doesTreasure Planet compare with pirate stories you've seen or read? What aspects are different? The same?
If you had all that treasure, what would you do with it?
- In theaters: November 27, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: April 29, 2003
- Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Laurie Metcalf, Martin Short
- Directors: John Musker, Ron Clements
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Book Characters, Pirates, Robots, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: scenes of peril, character death
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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