There were nights when the winds of the Etherium, so inviting in their promise of flight and freedom, made one's spirit soar.
For the Disney Animated Canon's 43rd entry, the studio proudly presents: Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island - IN SPACE!Literally.With great gusto at that, containing: Space-sailing ships, aliens, robots, cyborgs and Space Pirates. Telling: one boy's search for the treasure of the evil pirate Flint, the Loot of a Thousand Worlds. Starring: The human Jim Hawkins, the spry cat-lady Captain Amelia, a bookish dog-like alien named Dr. DelbertDoppler, the fiendish cybernetic shaven bear Silver, and a metamorphosing pink blob named Morph in a steampunk alternate pirate universe.This Disney film was released in an overcrowded market—right on the heels of the second Harry Potter Film and less than a week after Die Another Day. It may also have suffered due to the Disney Marketing Department's decision to advertise it primarily during time slots occupied by kids' shows, when its premise and content are more suitable for teenage audiences, especially regarding the absent father angle.Whatever the reason, many fans blame this film for rudely ending Disney's confidence in hand-drawn animation for features, and which is what started the decline in their production of such films, closing their studios until 2009. Today, it's become a Cult Film thanks to its intricate blend of CGI and traditional animation.It portrays a father-son bond between the two main characters and some amazingly choreographed action sequences. According to Word of God, this film was made to be Disney's big film for "single parent, Generation X" kids, as reflected in the darker family subtext. While it performed well with critics, the film flopped and flopped hard financially. As said previously, though, the film has gained a new lease on life thanks to DVD and television.
All There in the Manual: A good chunk of exposition is provided by the art book, "A Voyage of Discovery"; who built Treasure Planet, how Flint got B.E.N, Silver's early life, why Leland Hawkins left his family, and the names of every one of the Legacy's crew; very useful information and leaves just enough to the imagination to write a prequel fanfic. (Then again, that last part may not be a good thing.)
Anti-Hero: Jim, as far as Disney Animated Canon will allow it. Post-Timeskip, he's constantly running afoul of the law. His mother tells Doppler outright that the solar sailor sequence was a violation of his parole, he is failing all of his classes, and he is starting to become more withdrawn.
Anti-Villain: John Silver. He's supposed to be the main antagonist, and he remains so for any part of the film where Scroop doesn't show up, but it turns out he's even better at being a father figure to Jim.
Arm Cannon: Long John Silver is a cyborg and has an arm that transforms into a cannon at one point.
Artifact Title: Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon. Treasure Planet is only mentioned in Jim's logs between missions. One of the logs mentions a mapping device similar to the one in the movie, but the other mentions of Treasure Planet aren't really relevant except as backstory.
Artificial Gravity: Oddly played straight in a world where, among other things, people can breathe in space. Perhaps too straight, as it needs to be engaged even when the ship is close enough to the surface of Treasure Planet to be seen from it. And people start getting actively sucked into space if it's off, even if the ship is rising.
Artistic License - Astronomy: "Does an active galactic nucleus have superluminal jets?" No, Dr. Doppler. While they are relativistic, the particles do not exceed the speed of light. Being such a self-styled genius, he really ought to know better.
Doppler is most likely referring to the jets being emitted from some radio galaxies, quasars and microquasars, which indeed appear to travel faster than light. There is much debate in literature about whether these are actually superluminal or merely an optical illusion, although current consensus favors the latter view.
Batman Can Breathe in Space: But, really, how do characters in space suits convey a father-and-son relationship so perfectly? According to the art book, space isn't actually a vacuum. Instead, it is made of 'aether' a space-filling substance or field that explains how the ship moves through it (as well as other things) and how the crew can breathe. This fits with the stylistic decision to make this movie science fiction that Robert Louis Stevenson might have imagined based on his time period (when 'ether', 'phlogiston' and 'protoplasm' were actual hypotheses.)
Chance Activation: After the Benbow Inn has been burnt down and the Hawkinses are staying with Dr. Doppler, the good doctor is explaining that he has no clue of function of the "odd little sphere" which Jim now possesses. Cue Jim fiddling around with the sphere and unlocking it, thereby discovering its function: a map containing the location of the legendary Treasure Planet.
Conspicuous CG: Actually, it's deliberate. The technological parts of machines, most obviously the ships, were done with CGI, while organic things like aliens and nature were drawn by hand. It was deliberately about 40/60.
Most of the CGI is actually integrated very well with the 2D animation. The Space Whales, on the other hand, are rather egregious.
Jim Hawkins: If I'm not back in five minutes, leave without me. Ben: I am not leaving my buddy Jimmy! (Death Glare) Ben: ... Unless he looks at me like that. Bye, Jim!
Also, Captain Amelia gives Doctor Doppler a quick one before turning around then grabbing his jaw to stop him from babbling.
Silver himself gives a non comedic example to Jim. If not for a convenient explosion, he probably would have done more than just glare.
The entire negotiation between Jim and Silver, when Silver tries to convince him to give over the map and join him in sharing the treasure, basically consists of Jim giving him a several minute long Death Glare while Silver tries (and fails) to soften him up.
Despair Speech: Dr. Doppler gives a short one when Captain Amelia is seriously injured and he can't help her, outpouring his emotions in a tremendous run-on sentence, seriously believing all is lost.
Dr. Doppler: Dang it, Jim. I'm an astronomer, not a doctor! I mean, I am a doctor but I'm not that kind of doctor I have a doctorate; it's not the same thing, you can't help people with a doctorate, you just sit there and you're useless!
Disappeared Dad: One of the few—if only—Disney movies where the parent actually walks out on his family rather than dying.
Disneyfication: Silver isn't anywhere as nice in the original book. And Billy Bones was a most unwelcome guest at the Benbow, staying several months before he died. And Mr. Arrow was a drunk.
Disney Villain Death: Misters Hands, Dogbreath and Mackriki when they fall from the longboat room. Misters Pigors and Turnbuckle fall towards the exploding planet's core. Last but not least, Mr. Scroop: in his case, a villain falls up. So, Inverted Trope?
When Fridge Horror kicks in, one realises that Scroop won't die from falling upwards. Since in this universe space is filled with air, Scroop won't suffocate, instead he will drift in the interplanetary emptiness until he dies of starvation or of dehydration.
Amelia: Actually, Doctor, your astronomical advice was most helpful. Doppler: Well, u-uh, thank you. Thank you very much. Well, I have a lot of help to offer, anatomically—amanamonically—as...astronomically. *Facepalm*
Friend or Idol Decision: Played with in that it's the villain who has to make the choice. And he chooses the friend.
When the two cops ask Doppler whether or not he is Jim's father, Sarah frantically rejects such a notion, emphasizing that by throwing in a "Eww!" sound. The look Doppler's gives her in reply is priceless.
When Silver first meets Dr. Doppler, the cyborg scans the doctor with his laser eye. Doppler covers his groin with his hands when Silver scans down there.
Amelia's mention of Silver's "spaceport floozies".
Hyperspace Arsenal: In his cyberneticarm, Silver has about a dozen cooking tools, a pistol, a sword, a crutch, and a vice, as well as all the necessary gears and other cyborg guts. He also has an Arm Cannon, but half of that appears to be strapped to his leg.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Awesomely played straight, and even more awesomely lampshaded. During their escape from the ship, Dr. Doppler screws up his eyes and fires a pistol for the first time in his life (well... for the first time on purpose, anyway)—and the shot hits a hatch, ends up tossing several pirates out into space. Amelia stares, wild-eyed in surprise. Dr. Doppler stares at his gun, every bit as surprised as she is.
Amelia: Did you actually aim for that? Dr. Doppler: You know, actually, I did.
Doubles as a Chekhov's Skill, early in the movie we see his status as a physicist give him spatial/vector awareness required for making those sorts of calculations mentally.
The PC game Battle at Procyon offers more evidence for this, as you can have a number of dog and cat people join your crew. All the males are canine, while the females are all feline.
Ironic Echo: "All my life I've dreamed of an adventure like this."
Jail Bait: Even the babysitters say, "Jim's hot for a cartoon." More of a harmless fandom running joke; Jim seems to appeal to some 17 - 26 year old devotees who still adore him in spite of the fifteen year old age range, and he's the subject of every Disney crossover involving an older woman, raunchily or not.
Jerkass: Leland Hawkins. Leaving his wife and child behind and never even bother to write to them. He definitely qualifies.
Karma Houdini: Silver may be a much better person by the end, but he still gets away with theft, mutiny and a lot of child endangerment.
Karmic Death: Scroop, who meets his end in a nearly identical fashion to the way he sent Mr. Arrow to his own demise.
Kubrick Stare: Both Jim and Silver have their fair share of this throughout the film.
Large and in Charge: While Silver isn't exactly the biggest of the pirates (Mr. Hands is bigger still), he's bigger and stronger than most of them. Especially clear when he brutally manhandles Mr. Scroop.
Leitmotif: Several. Jim has a very prominent one, as well as Silver - or, particularly, Silver's good side.
Lethal Chef: B.E.N. tries to serve Amelia and Delbert "drinks" that appear to consist of machine fluids, although that's more the old "robots drink motor oil" gag coupled with a robot who hasn't had any contact with carbon-based lifeforms in over a century. Apparently, he gets better once he starts working at the new Benbow Inn in the finale.
Limited Wardrobe: Apparently no one aboard the Legacy bothered to take an extra change of clothing for the voyage. Except for Silver, who changed his pants halfway through (because the stripes were too time consuming to draw).
Justified in the case of Amelia and Arrow, as they are both in uniform.
Lost Technology: Any mother's son calling himself a troper can recognize this one, even if it's only hinted at remotely: The Treasure Planet, the map, and the portal are on a whole different level from anything else in the film, and promotional material makes reference to some really smart aliens having built them. Supposedly Flint stumbled upon them and had a really profitable idea.
Mad Oracle: The hermit robot, B.E.N., is a bit scatterbrained from being marooned on a desert island... Er, planet. Literally having lost his "mind" helps too. Although is not so much as lost, as Flint "holding onto it" for him.
B.E.N.: Jimmy, I—I don't know about you, but I'm starting to see my life pass in front of my eyes. At least, I think it's my life. WAS I EVER DANCING WITH AN ANDROID NAMED LUPE?!
Mythology Gag: When the pirate crew accuses Silver of having a soft spot for Jim, Silver excuses himself by claiming he's only trying to avoid suspicion by cozying up to him. While this isn't true for the film's Silver, it perfectly describes Long John Silver from the original novel.
Never Trust a Title: No part of Battle at Procyon actually takes place at Procyon, not even the skirmish maps in Procyon territory. It's lampshaded in the credits.
This is also a shout-out to Star Trek's Doctor McCoy: "Dang it, Jim. I'm an astronomer, not a doctor!"
Obviously Evil: Scroop. Also, Captain Flint from the introduction story.
Oh Crap: Ben gets one of these moments when he goes to disable the laser cannons.
Ben: Disable a few laser cannons, what is the big deal? All we gotta do is find that one little wire... [Ben opens some electrical doors, revealing a mess of wires] Ben: Oh mama!
Meltdown (the fat pirate) also fits this trope:
Doppler: Excuse me, brutish pirate. Meltdown:[Belches] Doppler: Yes, you. I have a question. Is it that your body is too massive for your teeny-tiny head... or is it that your head is too teeny-tiny for your big, fat body?! Meltdown:[Grabs Doppler] I PUMMEL YOU GOOD! Doppler: Yes, I'm sure you will, but before you do, I have one more question! [pulls out a gun and points it at pirate] Is this yours? Meltdown:[Stares at the gun in shock] Uhhhhhh....
The black hole sequence, where they actually use the fireball itself to give them enough power to outrun it.
This is pure Rule of Cool; if anyone actually tried that at that distance, they would first die from radiation burns, then be vaporized by the heat. When the red 'mist' starts wafting around the ship is the worst moment; that 'mist' is plasma.
The climax, where they sail through the portal and to Montressor spaceport just ahead of Treasure Planet exploding behind them.
Papa Wolf: John Silver. He becomes fiercely protective of Jim and essentially gives up everything, including his life's dream, for him in the end.
Parental Abandonment: The only song in the movie is about Parental Abandonment. In fact, Disney said they specifically geared the film to single-parent households. Appropriate, since it is Jim's motivation for befriending Silver.
The Chinese title of the movie translates into what can best be described as "The Star Island of Silver," ("星银岛") which is a pun on the standard Chinese translation of the novel's title, i.e. "The Island of Gold and Silver" ("金银岛"). The first two characters of either of them rhyme.
The artbook, A Voyage of Discovery, explains that Treasure Planet was actually built by an ancient race called the Forefathers who used the portal to learn more about other alien cultures. They eventually disappeared and left the entire planet behind.
Sexy Discretion Shot: Surprisingly, for a Disney movie. Amelia has a broken rib, and Dr. Dopper says "Let me take a look at that." The camera pans away.
Another reason is to avoid showing the nature of Amelia's injury.
Shoo Out the Clowns: Every time the movie takes a dramatic or serious turn, Morph disappears. Not B.E.N., but that's because he's plot important.
Most noticeable when Morph is sucked away in a pipe while Jim takes out the Big Bad.
Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Though he's not completely absent from the trailers, it's pretty clear from the promotional material that Doppler must have been considered the least marketable character. Perhaps most tellingly, the VHS and DVD cover used the same poster as shown above on this page, except edited to remove Doppler and replace him with Silver (and put a very goofy an uncharacteristic smile on Amelia's face). Note that Silver already is on the original poster, just farther in the background and not in the main group of heroes - his place was taken by Scroop on the edited poster.
Stealth Pun: Dr. Doppler is a dog-like alien. The meal Sarah serves him in his first scene at the Benbow Inn looks like dog food and is served in what looks like a dog dish, but even the name follows this theme: Alponian chowder.
Also Morph as a substitute for the traditional pirate's parrot. He's a polymorph.
And for the children of Delbert and Amelia: The girls (despite each having a different hair color) are a spitting image of their mother, especially the one with Amelia's hair color. And their son is an exact replica of his father.
Take That: As Dr. Delbert Doppler begins to freak out over Captain Amelia's worsening condition in the aftermath of escaping the ship after the pirates take it over, he goes on a rant that he's not an actual doctor, claiming that having a Doctorate is useless when it comes to actually helping people.
Teens Are Short: Jim is fifteen, but he can't be more than 5-and-a-half feet tall; he's even shorter than his mother. Granted, his shortness makes Silver's and Mr. Arrow's downright hugeness stand out more, as well as making Scroop and the larger aliens appear more menacing by comparison. It even accentuates Capt. Amelia's statuesque height.
If you watch the reunion scene closely, you can see that Jim's actually as tall as his mother, and later at the inn's reopening, Jim's grown taller. Obviously, he was just waiting for a growth spurt.
That's No Moon: Treasure Planet turns out to be a giant artificial construct, with Flint's trove hidden in the core, and the whole planet was rigged to explode should anyone try to take it.
There's also the spaceport, which was intentionally built to resemble a crescent moon from a distance.
Troubled, but Cute: Jim. Hawkins. Fangirl reactions defined this Trope for you without saying.
Weld The Lock: Captain Amelia welds the hatch to prevent the pirates from getting in.
What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: So, Amelia is a Cat Folk, Doppler is a Dog Man, John Silver looks like some kind of shaved bear, Morph is a Squishy Pink Thing, and Scroop is a Spider-Scorpion. Guess who the bad one is!
What Happened to the Mouse?: Quite a few of Silver's crew members just disappear without explanation throughout the movie. We see several of them being killed both in the fights with Jim and his friends and during the destruction of the planet. At the end of the movie we see less than ten surviving crew members tied up in the ship's hold, despite the fact than not nearly that many had been shown dying. The farting alien is notably last seen sleeping and snoring loudly in the bunk above Jim and takes no part in any of the ensuing action sequences.
What Song Was This Again?: The French version of "I'm Still Here" is translated to "Un Homme Libre" (A Free Man) and becomes less of a song about a boy telling off the universe and something more like 'if you feel like a reject, maybe you should run away'.
Wooden Ships and Iron Men: To a degree. It's been somewhat Disneyfied, but the pirates themselves evoke this trope. Quite literally in Silver's case.
Yank the Dog's Chain: So Silver's got the treasure that he's spent a good chunk of his life searching for, and given up an arm, leg, and eye for. A few kabooms later pretty much all of it's gone. Ouch.
Silver: Just a lifelong obsession, Jim. I'll get over it.
Earlier, while hiding in a barrel, Jim overhears Silver disavow his previous encouraging speech about Jim having "the makings of greatness in you" to the other pirates. The look on the Jim's face is clearly resigned disappointment; he's had this kind of thing happen before.