Twenty years ago Disney set off on a voyage across the stars with the science fiction film Treasure Planet. The film was based on Robert Louis’ 1883 novel Treasure Island. Oddly enough this wasn’t the first time Disney had adapted the story. Most notably in 1950’s Treasure Island and in 1996’s Muppet Treasure Island.
The film follows a young boy named Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he and his friend Dr. Delbert Doppler (David Hyde Pierce) set off on a journey on the RLS Legacy under the command of Captain Amelia (Emma Thompson). Their goal is the find the lost treasure of Captain Flint, a notorious pirate who his his horde of treasure on a far away planet, and Jim has the map to find said planet. Jim also meets a cook by the name of Long John Silver (Brian Murray) who is actually a pirate captain himself. Jim earns his sealers under Silver and the two form a close friendship.
The film was helmed by directing duo John Musker and Ron Clements who had previously done The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Hercules. Instead of making a fully faithful adaptation of being set in 1700s England they took inspiration from the popular steampunk genre to influence their designs. They also took it from the high seas to outer space with all sorts of strange alien creatures and bizarre worlds.
Even though the film was an action adventure story the song “I’m Still Here” was composed by Goo Goo Dolls lead singer John Rzeznik. The song is considered one of the most memorable parts of the film.
The film released on November 27th, 2002. Despite receiving mostly positive reviews from critics the film was a financial failure grossing only $110 Million against a $140 Million budget. This, along with the disappointment of 2001’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire, lead to Disney slowly putting more focus on Pixar animation and moving into developing 3D animated films themselves.
There was also a planned direct-to-video sequel in development which would have seen Jim and a new character named Kate work with Long John Silver to battle a robot pirate named Ironbeard (who would have been voiced by Willem Dafoe). Sadly due to the poor box office it was canceled.
Despite the film not doing that well upon release it has since become a cult classic, especially with those who saw it in the theaters two decades ago.
What did you think of Treasure Planet? Did you see it when it originally came out?
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.