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  • Widescreen 1.66:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Arabic: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    English, Czech, Arabic, English - Hearing Impaired, Croatian, Bulgarian, Slovenian
  • Additional footage
  • Deleted scenes
  • Audio commentary
  • Animated menus
  • Music video
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Interviews
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  • Interactive game
  • Video commentary

Treasure Planet

Disney/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 92 mins . PG . PAL


I went to see this in the cinema originally, having never read the book by Robert Louis Stevenson, and really enjoyed it. Upon getting home after the feature I promptly read the book and really enjoyed that. When I compared the two in my head I felt the transition from old school book to new school SF animated fantasy was done as well as it could be. Whilst the original tale is a robust read (for everyone, not just boys) it wouldn’t translate all that well to an animated medium, at least, not with our modern attention spans and need for visual input. However, setting it in space during a retro future adds a certain visual impact that does it the justice it deserves. The tale hasn’t been corrupted in any major way, in fact it has an added romantic element that should appeal to the mums watching. (I also happen to know it appeals to the dads too; my brother, father of a little girl, took her to the cinema to see the film and raved to me on the phone later of ‘how hot that captain is’... I agreed with him).

If you can look beyond the minor flaws in the story and see the film for what it is; an exciting adventure in space searching for a lost treasure, you are bound to have a good time watching Treasure Planet. Don’t ask why they have such amazing technology but are flying around in pirate ships and don’t ask why a dog would fall in love with a cat, just enjoy the amazing visuals and cutting edge animation.

Our story follows Jim, a rebellious teen who comes upon a map to the fabled Treasure Planet. With a friend providing financial backing, he sets sail for adventure after hiring a less than savoury crew. It appears they also know of the map and mutiny is imminent until they arrive at the treasure and all loyalties are tested, mutiny erupts and it’s a race for the gold. Naturally it’s full of Disney’s trademarked ‘be-yourself-and-you-can-do-anythingness’ and there are all sorts of hidden moralistic messages throughout, but for the most part it’s a great story adapted well and animated on the cutting edge.


Because this film was created in the computer, from scanning and colouring right through to the 3D props, the transfer to DVD has been done very well.

As with most digital space images, the stars tend to shimmer/flicker a bit at times, but those creative boffins at Disney have helped get around this by having tons of lovely Magellenic cloud shots instead. They actually used genuine images from Hubble and NASA (and have credited them accordingly,) which adds a deeper realism to the fabulous space backgrounds. All of which is aided beautifully by the fabulous 1.66:1 widescreen, preserving its original cinema aspect. Black levels are excellent in the space shots that are used, but they tended to stray toward more earthy colours for characters and costumes, choosing to leave a lot of colour out in general. I feel this may have been done to emphasise the exciting palette of colours they use from arrival on the planet to the cliff-hanging ending. Beyond all this, the film looks quite amazing all over, from both an animator’s point of view and that of a general bum-on-seat. Some of the computer animation, however, still looks just a little too computer and there are occasions of aliasing as well, but these occur mostly in the ship’s rigging (with that many diagonal ropes, they’re bound get aliasing, so they can hardly be blamed.)


The sound is just what we’ve come to expect of Disney DVD films. Full on Dolby Digital 5.1 let’s us hear every inflection in the plaintive singing voice of their latest flavour-of-the-month (in this case, John Rzeznick of the Goo-Goo Dolls). Thankfully there aren’t any pirate songs, which is good, particularly after reviewing The Pirate Movie recently. Still twitching over that.

There's plenty of noisy explosions and swords clanging, and farting aliens sound so real you’ll think you can smell ‘em. No noise, no background static and, happily, none of that stupid noise they put in old shots of ships in space. (Check out Alien if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) The dialogue is clear, including alien dialects, and as usual the voices are so distinct you will be frustrated as hell trying to figure out to whom they belong. It’s a nice sound package on this DVD; yet another excellent vintage from the Disney Cellars.


This disc must be as near to full up as they get. The first thing people have asked me since viewing this is ‘how’s the Visual Commentary?’ The answer is, really well done. Being a fairly new gimmick, cooks galore do the speaking (six voices in all, none of whom are familiar) and every time something cool comes along in the film (quite regularly, actually) they pipe up with info. Then you get a 30 second vignette on how they did something before being dropped back to the exact frame you were on when you left. Rather nice in this format, but they cram each piece together later and call it a featurette. This is incredibly frustrating when you get a five second black screen break twice a minute for 15 minutes.

There are three other major features which are broken into smaller pieces; the Intergalactic Space Adventures which contain virtual tours of the ship, a treasure hunt game, Disney-Pedia about the real lives of Earth’s pirates and the aforementioned John Rzeznick filmclip (interesting animation with the sound down).

Then we have just six minutes of Deleted Scenes, including the original opening sequence of Jim as an adult recounting the story. It’s not rendered for the most part, but it’s interesting to see which pieces made it from this and which didn’t.

Finally there’s an extended look into Behind the Scenes at Disney, which is pretty cool for those unfamiliar with a working animation studio. All up, a pretty neat package of extras, although there is an odd disclaimer before the Visual Commentary, which confused me a little. However, most companies have a similar statement go out on their email these days, so I guess DVD would follow sooner or later. You gotta love lawyers.


I was impressed with this DVD from the beginning to the end. Sure, it has it’s quirks and its embarrassing moments with middle-aged men trying to sound hip, but hey, rad-dudes, we all do that, whattup?

Visually stunning, funny for the kids and a respectful homage to Robert Louis Stevenson’s well-loved book, this is a great little disc that will stand up well to repeated viewings over time for both kids and adults alike. The bonuses provide great insight into the workings of the animation world and the technology that makes it appear all the more awesome, plus there's some fun stuff thrown in for good measure. Land ho!

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      And I quote...
    "This disc must be as near to full up as they get. "
    - Jules Faber
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