**½/**** Image A Sound A- Extras B-
screenplay by Ron Clements & John Musker and Rob Edwards, based on the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
directed by John Musker & Ron Clements
by Walter Chaw Beginning as a clever updating of Robert Louis Stevenson's kiddie adventure classic Treasure Island, by its end Disney's Treasure Planet washes out as another bombastic familial reconciliation fable that marks the flat trajectory of most Disney "boy" animations. Released just a few months removed from Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away in North America, Treasure Planet's narrative and character shortfalls are all the more glaring for their studied lack of depth and the picture's general overreliance on excess, broad comic relief, and all of the stale portfolio of hackneyed Disneyisms. Treasure Planet even comes complete with that most irritating of cutesy crutches: an anthropomorphic globular whatzit created with what appears to be more of a concern for ease of holiday season polymer mass-reproduction than narrative foundation. The existence of one slapstick comic relief gag not enough, enter Martin Short as homosexual robot B.E.N.--an animated caricature of Short's Ed Grimley character whose appearance mid-film is as handy a signal as any that Treasure Planet, for all serious intents and aesthetic purposes, is over.