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'Treasure Planet' Film Review: One of the Best Films No One Ever Saw

By Brad Miller

Features Editor

Have you ever seen a film and wondered why more people hadn't seen it? In 2002, Treasure Planet was released in theaters to a resounding whisper as it completely bombed at the box office.

Sadly the film was lost in the vast array of Disney films. However, I believe it warrants another chance at greatness.


Fifteen-year-old Jim Hawkens (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a rebellious teen going through a rough period in his life. All of that changed the day he found a map that leads to "the loot of a thousand worlds."

Knowing that finding the treasure will help his family, Jim travels across the universe in this thrilling space voyage.

Sets the Tone Immediately

From the opening moments of the film, you see two ships waged in battle. There's no water to be seen, just the two ships locked in battle in outer space. The fight is shown in the form of a hologram being displayed by a book.

Somehow blending old with new, and at the time, that didn't happen much.

I love the world this story takes place in. Filled with objects that we are used to seeing daily; however, now they have more of a futuristic take.

For example, there are curtains with the flick of a button that can change the background from a flowery meadow to a monstrous volcano.

Deep Themes

When darker themes are discussed in films where the primary audience will consist of children, I always tend to enjoy the fact that some stories are willing to dive that deep.

The main character Jim deals with much more than the average teenager has to. He doesn't have an easy life, but that adds to his character.

Colorful Cast

Right off the bat, we're introduced to Doctor Doppler (David Hyde Pierce), a close family friend to the Hawkins family.

He's your stereotypical intelligent character who's also kind of a goofball. However, it's not fair to say he doesn't stand out. As surprising as it is, he takes a forgettable role and makes it memorable.

John Silver (Brian Murray) is another welcomed addition to the cast. His relationship with Jim is a major contributing factor to why I enjoy the film so much.

The movie's best scenes always occur when these two share the limelight, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Alluring Animation

The leaps and progress that this movie took to stand out from its competition are insane. I'm shocked that this motion picture wouldn't be left in the dust animation-wise, even by today's standards.


You're thrown in the world of Treasure Planet without delay. There aren't minutes of exposition. Things are just the way they are, which keeps the pacing steady. You begin to enjoy what you see instead of questioning: “Was that a ship flying?” It's simply a fun film.

Outside of the characters I've already mentioned, numerous others deserve just as much praise. The voice talent is immaculate, and I still feel chills during tense scenes because of that fact.

There are themes I didn't understand when I was younger but that never ended up mattering. However, returning to the film older and wiser, I can't help but appreciate the mature themes. Lastly, the animation is top-notch.

The only flaw I'd say the film has is that its second half can feel a bit weird with pacing at times. The first half felt more thought out, but even so, it stays enjoyable from start to end.

Verdict 9.5 out of 10 Stars

Now available on Disney Plus!

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