A couple days ago I rated The Incredibles, yesterday I did Shrek 2 and now it is time for me to rate my favourite film from Disney; is it as good as the other two, well... not so much, is it still a great film in it's own right, absolutely.
I will mark any obvious spoilers as such but some things I say might give some hints towards one of the twists in the middle of the film; this twist is fairly obvious but just be aware that these will not be marked as it would be impractical to do so.
I may have said a couple of times that I only this year got back into western animated films, well this was the first one I watched this year; as I was well into anime and I was umming and aahing about whether I wanted to give this medium a chance again, I thought this would be the best film to get started; the art style is not dissimilar to the anime style and no more so than One Piece, with that said, the animation style is quite different, using Disney's signature squashing and stretching from time to time.
On the note of the animation, it is incredible, according to a list I found on wikipedia
this was the most expensive traditional animation film to produce and it shows; in the scene around the beginning, that shows Jim riding on his solar surfer, the animation is so good that the only other films I have seen that come close are Redline and One Piece film Z, both also absolute powerhouses in terms of animation; some people theorise that it was so expensive that Disney wanted it to fail so that it would not become the standard expected of them, I don't know whether the bad efforts at advertising it were clumsy or deliberate as it is just a theory, as far as I'm aware, and the only people who can know for sure are those who made the decision in the first place.
The story and setting are truly inspiring; the chemistry between Jim and Silver make for an incredible piece of narrative with a maturity and complexity that I rarely see in Disney films, both characters sell the film tenfold, Jim is a young man who's father abandoned him at a young age, as a result he had no father figure to guide him and keeps getting into trouble as a result; Silver is a member of a crew who are out to find Treasure Planet and it is one of his lifelong obsessions, Jim is given a map to Treasure Planet and somehow knows how to open it, a small gripe I have is that this is a bit daft, how can he open it when no one else can, but I can suspend my disbelief over this, after this he and Dr Doppler join a crew who are also looking for the treasure, here Jim meets Silver, easily the most complex Disney villan ever; he has a motive but it clashes with another side to him, at one point he serves as the father figure that Jim never had, which is a cornerstone for both of their character development.
The setting is a sci-fi rendition of Treasure Island by Robert Louise Stevenson, perhaps the most transformative use of a public domain story ever done by Disney; the mix of sci-fi and fantasy create a truly epic setting that is so much grander and has a far greater sense of scale than anything else Disney have made.
The music is perhaps the best I have heard from a Disney film, none of their usual singing, that gets on my wick, there is one song with lyrics and it is incedental, as I prefer it, it's a pretty good song as well; one of my favourite tracks plays at the aforementioned scene with Jim and his solar surfer.
All should be golden right?... Disney should have what I would say is their first 10/10 film right?... well... it would if not for one pile of absolute scrap, B.E.N; I can't stand this rusted bucket of scrap metal who vomits so much tar all over what would otherwise be a home run for Disney that it can cheese the entirety of Mortal Shell from start to end; there are a couple of other gripes I have but I could still maybe give this a 10 if they were the only gripes, as there is a lot to love about this film, but B.E.N... ooh no; first off, he is the most irritating character who was chucked in for the purpose of comic relief, I get he has not seen anyone else for a long time, but he is so over the top and not in a good way; he relies on some of the most unfunny jokes as well but that is not the worst thing; the worst thing is the fact that he nearly gets Jim killed multiple times, despite the fact that he is supposed to be on his side, by just being such an idiot, like that time when Jim told him to wait and he was like, OK I'm going to run in and start tinkering with some wires, literally kicking off an alarm that alerts the villan who is more akin to a typical Disney villan that leads to a battle that so nearly ends up with Jim getting chucked into space; all because B.E.N couldn't not be himself for 5 minutes.
B.E.N is like that AI teammate in a co-op game where one of the fail conditions has said teammate dying only for the AI to keep jumping off of cliffs for some reason; irritating enough to drive anyone insane.
To top it off, there was already a comic relief character, Morph, only Morph does not really talk much at all, he does cause Jim problems but it is more understandable due the fact that he does not know any better and more importantly, Morph can do subtlety; something that is to B.E.N, what climbing Mount Everest is to a car with square wheels.
Another thing I didn't like was the fact that there is an alien who talks in flatulence though, unlike B.E.N, he only shows up for a grand total of approximately 2 minutes so I could forgive this.
B.E.N really drags this film down; so much so that I can say that, despite the fact that it is my favourite Disney film, it is not quite the best one I've seen, that would be Atlantis; when Treasure Planet is good, it is a masterpiece but when B.E.N shows up, beware, beware the cyb... I mean beware the nutty robot for his hand is like the hand of Midas, if it turned everthing to rust instead of gold.
Atlantis is a far more consistant film, it is a 9 throughout with little to detract from that but Treasure Planet reaches for that score of 10 and mostly stays there for a good while, after B.E.N shows up though the film goes down to a 6, why not lower? because Silver, here he shows the darker side to himself and must make a choice between Jim and the treasure,
this makes for a powerful and emotional climax to the story that somewhat helps to redeem B.E.N's schenanigans but I cannot give this a 10 because of B.E.N, I cannot even give it a 9, he drags the film down to a 6 in the second half while it is a 10 during the first, so it makes perfect sense for the film to be rated.