The Pitch: Disney relocates Treasure Island to outer space, with cabin boy Jim Hawkins (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Leavitt) outracing alien pirates en route to a galactic buccaneer's hidden fortune. In space!
Money shots: Our first sight of the space port, a gravity-defying crescent crowded by schooners with billowing "solar sails." Any of Jim's run-ins with Scroop, a vicious cutthroat built like a giant spider. A spectacular encounter with a fiery supernova that collapses into a swirling black hole.
Celebrity Voices: "Frasier's" David Hyde Pierce as Doctor Doppler, a bookish, half-canine astrophysicist. Emma Thompson as Amelia, the half-feline captain of the ship, whose Britishisms like "Oh, tish-tosh!" adds some dry wit to the stellar swashbuckling.
Wacky Sidekicks: Wisecracking, addle-minded robot B.E.N. (Martin Short) burdens the film with unfunny ballast. Silver has a big-eyed pink blob called Morph that imitates sounds and shapes like a visual "parrot" -- and would make a perfect Happy Meal toy.
Cliches: Criss-crossing rings encircle the title planet, so "X" marks the spot.
Bathroom humor: A crewmen speaks the alien language of "Flatula," which sounds entirely like, um, raspberries.
Body count: Despite plenty of cutlasses and ray guns, the rare deaths involve being bloodlessly knocked free of the ship -- the space-faring answer to walking the plank.
Hit Single: The Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik sings "I'm Still Here" over an otherwise sweet montage of bonding scenes between fatherless Jim and surrogate dad Silver. But why no big space chantey number?
Inside joke: The ship is the RLS Legacy, with the initials referring to Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson.
The Bottom Line: After the box office scuttled Fox's Titan A.E. and Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Continent, we finally get a neat-o cartoon adventure flick. Too bad an uninspired ending and persistent pandering to all possible audiences keep Treasure Planet from reaching the upper echelon of Disney's cartoon canon.
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