Treasure Planet –
10th Anniversary Edition (2002)/Home on the Range (2004)/Newsies
– 20TH Anniversary Edition (1992/Disney Blu-rays)
10th Anniversary Edition
Picture: B+ Sound: B Extras: B- Film: B
Treasure Planet, Home on the Range, and Newsies are not considered Disney much
revered Diamond Blu-ray releases, but are still of great content and
quality. Treasure Planet was created in a weird “in between” time for
Disney. Treasure Planet was created in 2002 at a time when the very
successful partnership with Pixar had not fully formed yet and the Disney
Renaissance era had slowly dissipated.
The film was an innovative mash-up of Science Fiction and classic
literature as the well known Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island novel was entwined with modern notions
of space ships, aliens, and all in between.
It was the 43rd animated feature film for Disney and is
notable for being the first film to have both a ‘regular’ and IMAX theatrical
release. The animation styling was also admirable
as it mashed together (rather brilliantly) 2D hand-drawn animation and 3D
computer animation; delivering a visually pleasing result that displays
beautifully even by today’s standards.
What wasn’t pleasing was the box office return on the film as the nearly
$150 million venture made about 1/3 of that back in the US market. In the end, it earned an Oscar nod but did
not take home the statue.
The film has talented voice credits attached with the likes of Joseph
Gordon Levitt (Batman: Dark Knight Rises),
Martin Short, David Hyde Pierce, Emma Thompson, and Patrick McGoohan (Danger Man & The Prisoner; in his final role) each lending their unique
abilities. The story kicks off with a
young Jim Hawkins (ominously) reading about a pirate named Captain Flint who
raids passing ships only to quickly disappear and hide his loot on a mysterious
‘Treasure Planet.’ Flash forward 12
years and Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is caring for an Inn
with his mother while getting into trouble ‘solar surfing’ (some new wind
surfing-like sport). The outcast teen is
soon thrown into a whirlwind adventure when a ‘spaceman’ named Billy Bones
(Patrick McGoohan) crashes (and quickly dies) giving Jim a mysterious ‘space
orb’ and warning him to ‘Beware the Cyborg.’
Soon after that rattling event a band of pirates arrive only to burn
Jim’s Inn to the ground, putting Jim, his
mother, and dog-like friend Dr Delbert Doppler on the run.
After discovering that the mysterious space orb is a holographic
projector showcasing a map, Doppler commissions a ship called RLS Legacy to
seek out the ‘Treasure Planet’ that the holographic map supposedly leads to. The ship’s captain is Captain Amelia (Emma
Thompson) who along with her first mate Mr. Arrow (Roscoe Lee Brown) will
attempt to lead Jim and his friends to the planet. The crew members of the RLS Legacy are an
unscrupulous bunch who are secretly led by cook John Silver (Brian Murray); Jim
does not trust Silver, but unwittingly forms a bond with the rogue. The tale quickly unfolds into one of bonds,
betrayal, loss, and mutiny…leaving Treasure Planet up for grabs, but who will
be the victor is anyone’s guess.
I had forgotten about this film since its original release (as most
have), but I would say it is a hidden gem.
It isn’t lackadaisical like Disney’s Black Cauldron of the 1980s and far from the solid gold quality of The Lion King or Aladdin, but a solid production nevertheless.
The extras on Treasure Planet are
all of the standard definition extras as found on the previous DVD release and
are as follows (no high def extras included):
Disney Animation Magic: Hosted by Roy Disney
Intro by Laurie Metcalf
RLS Legacy: Virtual 3D Tour
DisneyPedia: Life of a Pirate Revealed
Home on the Range
B+ Sound: B Extras: C Film: B-
Now, Home on the Range falls
into that same odd “in between” timeframe as Treasure Planet, but not quite as good of a production. The animation is still very good, but the
musical numbers and storyline are a tad week.
Arriving on the big screen in 2004 Home
on the Range would be the last ‘classically animated’ Disney film until the
studio resurrected that department in 2009 with The Princess Frog; having focused more on its own and Pixar CGI
The story (set in the Wild West) focuses on a group of dairy cows on
the trail of infamous cattle rustler named Alamida Slim to collect the $750
bounty that comes with his capture. Who
better to catch a cattle rustler than a group of cows right?! So the three cows from Patch of Heaven Farm named Maggie, Mrs. Calloway, and Grace
(respectively voiced by Roseanne Barr, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Tilly) set out
for the glory and bounty, taking Lucky Jack an aggressive peg-legged rabbit
along for the ride. To their dismay an
energetic /rude horse named Buck and his (Bounty Hunter) owner Raco are hot on
the trail as well…possibly ending the cows’ chances of getting the $750 that
would save their farm. For a simple case
of cow versus cattle rustler Home on the
Range takes many twists and turns that are creative for a seemingly
straightforward Disney tale, but falls short of the epic, classic Disney
adventures fans are accustomed to.
Like Treasure Planet, Home on the Range has no High
Definition extras, but has ported over all standard definition extras from the
DVD release: Extras are as follows:
Trailblazers: The Making of ‘Home on the Range’
Joke Corral: Herd of Jokes
A Dairy Tale: Three Little Pigs
Picture: B Sound: B Extras: B Film: B+
I have an overwhelming sense of nostalgia when it comes to Newsies as it was a film that I must
have watched 1,000 times as a child and my sisters were/are even more obsessed
with the film than I; perhaps having to do with the fact that a young Christian
Bale is the film’s lead. The 1992
musical drama takes place in 1899 and centers on the newsboy strike of the
day. Christian Bale plays Jack “Cowboy”
Kelly who is the main protagonist of the newsboys and the one to initiate the
uprising. Jack is the top newsboy in New
York selling a hundred newspapers daily, embellishing headlines to sell more
‘papes’ and keep his belly full. The
story focuses mainly on Jack and his new found friend David (David Moscow) as
they form a partnership in the paper selling business. David is a smart kid who dropped out of
school to help support his family after his father lost his job. David’s little brother Les (Luke Jacobs) tags
along for the ride and quickly begins to idolize the charismatic, cool Jack;
much to David’s chagrin.
Robert Duvall plays big time baddy Mr. Pulitzer who raises the prices
on newspapers; raising the prices for newsboys to buy, not for the public. Taking money out of the already impoverished
newsboys’ pockets is the final straw and they go on strike. The film is a very cheery, romanticized take
on a hard time for Americans as Newsies sings
and dances its way to glory it fails to focus on the down and dirty. There are glimpses here and there of the
hardships of 1899, but the unemployed, starving, illness stricken society takes
a back burner to Disney-fied song and dance.
In other words if you are looking for a true, fact based account of the
day read a book, because you won’t get it here.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Newsies for both nostalgic and just pure, ‘good movie’ reasons; but
it is certainly not a true, true fact based film. It is full of catchy, well written songs with
fun choreography that stands the test of time.
Both new and old fans alike will enjoy this film.
Extras for Newsies are all
ported over from the 2002 DVD release and include the following ‘standard
‘Newsies: The Inside Story’
‘Newsies: See All About it’
‘The Strike: The True Story’
Story Board to Screen Comparison
The technical features on all three of these films are all oddly
similar, animated or not. Treasure Planet and Home on the Range are presented in a
1.66 X 1, 1080p image that boasts brilliantly vivid colors and crisp, clean
image from beginning to end. Both films
(more so Home on the Range) have
bumps along the way with image quality though they are far and few in between,
even with the picture looking great they ARE NOT ‘Diamond Edition’
quality. The image on Newsies is the least impressive of the
three and though supposedly a 1080p image it feels soft at times. Crispness and color quality vary as the film
still feels like FILM and hasn’t been wiped clean or sanitized; not to say it
doesn’t still need some work, but Disney did a nice job on this 20+ year old
film. The sound presentations on all three films are in the same vein as the picture
quality in their 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless presentations using the full
sound spectrum to bring the films to life.
The audience will feel fully immersed in the action, adventure of each
film especially when the surrounds kick in for the musical numbers (the most
noticeable being Newsies).
Again Disney delivers three solid films, proving that Disney’s “worst”
is better than the most studios “best.”
- Michael P. Dougherty II