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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:46 pm 
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Sotiris wrote:
At least with Treasure Planet, unlike with Tangled, Glen got to finish what he started and his vision for the character came through in the finished product. The movie may have under-performed in its initial release, but if it wasn't for Glen's excellent work, and everyone else's who worked on it, it wouldn't have gained the cult following and appreciation that it enjoys now.

It`s nice to see that Treasure Planet has gained such a cult following and appreciation. It truly deserves it and it didn`t deserve the massive underperformance that it got.

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Agreed. It was always on how they can exploit 2D animation and animators to make CG better, but never the other way around. It's sad that other studios like Sony or Netflix are more willing to experiment and try new techniques and approaches than Disney is.

Agreed. And the irony here is that Disney are practically responsible for 2D animation, so it`s contradictory for them to not exploring it more.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2021 1:32 pm 
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John Musker and Ron Clements gave a new interview where they talked about Treasure Planet. Here are some interesting tidbits.

• The executives at Disney really wanted them to do something else other than an adaptation of Treasure Island. At some point, they suggested turning the story into King Solomon's Mines in space or Romeo and Juliet in space. They also suggested making Long John Silver the protagonist and telling the story from his point of view, making Jim Hawkins an African-American or a girl, and giving Jim a love interest and have the story focus on their romance, all ideas Musker & Clements opposed and rejected.

• Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio had written an early script for it after finishing up Aladdin. They were the ones who introduced the character of Amelia, although she was bird-like instead of cat-like in their version. The space port being shaped like a crescent moon was their idea as well.

• Joe Ranft was the one who suggested turning the character of Jim Hawkins into a troubled teen. Initially, Musker and Clements were going to portray Jim as a typical courageous and noble adventurer.

• According to Ron Clements, the "missing piece" is a running motif in the film. It doesn't only refer to the missing piece of the map, but the main characters having a piece of their selves missing that they end up finding during their journey, just not in the way they expected.

• Ron Clements wanted the film to begin with Star Wars-like scroll saying "Another time, another place, another universe" to clarify this was not set in the future, but in a fantastical parallel universe.

• The film used the Deep Canvas technique that allowed the directors to get dynamic angles and perspectives similar to live-action filmmaking.

• There was pushback from management about making Long John Silver a 2D/CG hybrid character because it would require to essentially animate the same character twice which would slow down the production pipeline.

• Studio management had told Musker & Clements to convince Glenn Keane to come back from Paris and animate Long John Silver because it was very expensive for the studio to keep supporting him and his family living there.

• This is the first film by Musker & Clements where all of the backgrounds were painted digitally.

• At one point, Peter Schneider and Thomas Schumacher wanted Treasure Planet to be an all-CG film because at the time the CG crew was finishing up Dinosaur and they had no other projects lined up for them to do next. Musker & Clements considered it briefly, but ultimately turn the idea down because CG animation of human characters wasn't up to par at the time.

• Ron Clements said that because of the commercial success of Pixar films and the dwindling box office of 2D animated films, Disney decided to move away from 2D animation and commit to CG before Treasure Planet had even premiered. The last year of Treasure Planet's production was really rough because everybody at the studio could see the writing on the wall. There were severe salary cuts during production and it was announced there would be layoffs at the end of it.

• Morph was initially green-colored, but was changed to magenta to avoid similarities to 1997's Flubber.

• The directors wanted Emma Thompson from the start for the role of Amelia, but it almost didn't happen over a pay dispute. Eventually, Disney caved and offered her more money.

• Contrary to popular belief, the character of B.E.N. was not something executives came up or forced onto the directors. He was always conceived by the directors as a robot who had lost his mind and was very needy and the part was written with improv comedy in mind.

• One theory John Musker has as to why the film underperformed they way it did, is that Disney had become synonymous with girls entertainment by that point in time. Even during previews, the audience for it were mostly moms and their little girls. That's when he realized that Treasure Planet would be a difficult sell to an audience who had developed certain assumptions as to what a Disney movie is. Ron Clements added that they had a tough time getting boys to go and see the movie even though teenage boys was the group reacting most favorably towards the film during preview screenings.

• Ron Clements dispelled the myth that the film had gone over budget. Even though there was a high budget allocated to it from the start because of the 2D/CG hybrid technique, the film came significantly under budget.

• Ron Clements said that the Monday right after the film's opening weekend, Disney publicly announced they were writing the film off. It was underrepresented to do that so early during a film's theatrical run. Ron Clements mentioned he felt hurt by a Los Angeles Time article where it was insinuated that him and Musker had forced Disney to make this movie. This wasn't true, of course. Michael Eisner had used this project as an enticement to get them to stay at Disney and not move over to DreamWorks. The article in question also came down hard at Roy Disney who was a supporter of the film and of hand-drawn animation. He believes the film being painted in the press as a failure prematurely was premeditated. That Michael Eisner knew it would fail and had planned to use that as a tool against Roy Disney in their feud and as a justification of an already-made decision to abandon 2D animation and lay off veteran 2D animators from the studio.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2021 12:43 pm 
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It doesn't surprise me that Disney wasn't excited about this film and tried to get them interested in something else. It was more of a reward film for them for their past successes (and Disney had kept pushing it off as long as they could :lol: ). I think some viewers might've liked a more straight protagonist (not talking about sexuality there) rather than a troubled teen, but making him a more troubled character was what I found interesting about him. I think he would've been more that "noble adventurer" if the sequel had panned out--we would've got a love interest there, too. A real shame it hadn't been too far along to cancel. Thankfully John Silver did end up being a hybrid character--it's one of the few times 3D actually did elevate a hand-drawn film. The space whales were the exact opposite--horrendous eyesores that take you out of the movie. And that was the case even when it was first released, it's not like they just "aged badly" like, say, the chandelier in B&tB or the Hydra in Hercules.

A shame for Glen Keane that his family couldn't stay where they were. I wonder if he regrets coming back since after TP most of the stuff with Rapunzel went down which never went anywhere in the end and lead to his heart attack. It's good that M&C turned down the idea of it being all 3D, since they later wouldn't be given the option on Moana. It was one of their last opportunities to work with hand-drawn animation.

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Ron Clements said that because of the commercial success of Pixar films and the dwindling box office of 2D animated films, Disney decided to move away from 2D animation and commit to CG before Treasure Planet had even premiered. The last year of Treasure Planet's production was really rough because everybody at the studio could see the writing on the wall. There were severe salary cuts during production and it was announced there would be layoffs at the end of it.
Perhaps this explains TP's horrible marketing then.
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One theory John Musker has as to why the film underperformed they way it did, is that Disney had become synonymous with girls entertainment by that point in time. Even during previews, the audience for it were mostly moms and their little girls. That's when he realized that Treasure Planet would be a difficult sell to an audience who had developed certain assumptions of what a Disney movie is. Ron Clements added that they had a tough time getting boys to go and see the movie even though teenage boys was the group reacting most favorably towards the film during preview screenings.
I think that was the problem with both Atlantis and TP. And it's still a problem for WDAS even now really, which is why they've been mostly making films with female leads. I'm not going to complain about that since the opposite reality (almost nothing but male-centered films a la PIXAR) would be much worse for me, personally. :lol:

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Even though there was a high budget allocated to it from the start because of the 2D/CG hybrid technique, the film came significantly under budget.
I think Disney lied about most of the budgets for hand-drawn films in that last decade, to speed along dropping the medium.

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Michael Eisner had used this project as an enticement to get them to stay at Disney and not move over to DreamWorks. The article in question also came down hard at Roy Disney who was a supporter of the film and of hand-drawn animation. He believes the film being painted in the press as a failure prematurely was premeditated. That Michael Eisner knew it would fail and had planned to use that as a tool against Roy Disney in their feud and as a justification of an already-made decision to abandon 2D animation and lay off veteran 2D animators from the studio.
It shows how much control Disney has over the media to use them to play accomplice that way with all their decisions, and they likely have even more control now they're on their way to owning everything.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2021 1:02 pm 
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Disney's Divinity wrote:
Thankfully John Silver did end up being a hybrid character--it's one of the few times 3D actually did elevate a hand-drawn film. The space whales were the exact opposite--horrendous eyesores that take you out of the movie. And that was the case even when it was first released, it's not like they just "aged badly" like, say, the chandelier in B&tB or the Hydra in Hercules

Sorry, but I have to disagree with the Hydra. Even back at it`s release, the Hydra looked jarringly out of place with the rest of the hand drawn elements. Especially the last part of the battle, when Hydra transforms with it`s various heads. And while I do somewhat agree regarding the whales in Treasure Planet, at least they weren`t the worst example of a blend of CGI and hand drawn. But I agree with you regarding Silver, though.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2021 2:04 pm 
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Disney's Divinity wrote:
I think some viewers might've liked a more straight protagonist rather than a troubled teen, but making him a more troubled character was what I found interesting about him.

I also think that the troubled teen angle made him more interesting and relatable and made sense given his father issues, an element that was already present in the book.

Disney's Divinity wrote:
I think Disney lied about most of the budgets for hand-drawn films in that last decade, to speed along dropping the medium.

It's interesting that two of Musker & Clements' films, Treasure Planet and The Princess and the Frog, had their budgets misreported and their failure exaggerated in order to kill off 2D animation.

Disney's Divinity wrote:
It shows how much control Disney has over the media to use them to play accomplice that way with all their decisions, and they likely have even more control now they're on their way to owning everything.

It's true; we've seen it how much the media propped up and fawned over Lasseter. Until the sexual assault allegations came out, there wasn't a single piece from the mainstream press even remotely critical of him. Not even during the whole Brave debacle.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:15 pm 
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Thanks so much for giving us info from the podcast, Sotiris, and for posting the LAT article!! :pink:

Sotiris wrote:
Joe Ranft was the one who suggested turning the character of Jim Hawkins into a troubled teen. Initially, Musker and Clements were going to portray Jim as a typical courageous and noble adventurer.

Such a great idea by Joe Ranft. I love that Jim isn't perfect and has such a growth arc through the movie. He's relatable and I've always appreciated that about him.

Sotiris wrote:
Musker & Clements considered it briefly, but ultimately turn the idea down because CG animation of human characters wasn't up to par at the time.

THANK YOU R&J!

Sotiris wrote:
the film came significantly under budget

Hmm. That's good to hear. So even though it was underbudget, it was still underperforming at the box office (and then the Marketing budget contributed to it too)...

LA Times article wrote:
Publicly, Disney executives are putting up a brave front amid the fallout. They say the movie was received well by test audiences and was hurt by stiff box-office competition from such family-oriented fare as “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and Disney’s own “The Santa Clause 2.”

I mean, that's not incorrect. Nothing really stands a chance competing with Harry Potter...

LA Times article wrote:
In reality, the studio had no choice. Under a promotional deal with its longtime partner McDonald’s Corp., the studio was locked into the Nov. 27 release date a year ago.

So when Disney and McD's made that deal, had Harry Potter's release date not yet been announced?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2021 12:45 am 
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Thanks for posting that interview and for the summary, Sotiris! I've only listened to the first half hour of the podcast, but it's very interesting so far. I finally understood why Eisner, Katzenberg and the other bosses at Disney didn't like the project. They saw from the beginning that it wouldn't be appealing to all audiences. That's probably why they wanted to add a romance into the story. They were right to be worried about the film, but I'm glad Musker and Clements didn't give in and didn't give Jim a girlfriend because then it wouldn't have been a true Treasure Island adaptation. Plus, I don't think it would've changed anything. Atlantis did have a romance and wasn't successful either.

I too agree that turning Jim into a troubled teen was a great idea.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2021 10:15 am 
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I think the underwhelming performance of "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" also played a role in "Treasure Planet" not doing well. Speaking from personal experience, I wasn't all that interested in seeing "Treasure Planet", because I didn't like Atlantis very much and it looked to be a movie in a similar vein. Thinking about it, I wonder if the box-office failure of "Titan A.E." also made Disney nervous about "Treasure Planet."

"Lilo & Stitch", on the other hand, I was very excited for and did see in theatres. Something about the funny concept and it centering on an alien crash-landing on Earth and getting into hijinks really appealed to me. The marketing with Stitch entering the earlier Disney movies was also brilliant.

This was also around the time that audience tastes in animated film shifted more towards films that were more comedy-focused (Shrek, Ice Age, Lilo & Stitch) over the grand and epic animated movies that did well in the '90s. I feel like if "Fraidy Cat" had gone through and been made, it would have performed decent numbers at the box-office.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2021 10:24 pm 
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estefan wrote:
I think the underwhelming performance of "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" also played a role in "Treasure Planet" not doing well.

True. According to Jim Hills Media`s article about why Treasure Planet tanked, the marketing tried desperately to not market Planet the same way they did with Atlantis. So it`s remarkable how Planet turned out to be a bigger bomb than Atlantis. And I`ve always liked them both for many reasons. And it`s a pity that their underperformances made studios not pursue for Sci-Fi in animation. Since animation should have variety, anyways.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2021 11:16 pm 
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I hadn't thought Atlantis might have had something to do with Treasure Planet underperforming before, but it makes a lot of sense. You're probably right, estefan. I also think the fact that Treasure Island is such a well-known work of literature and there have been so many adaptations of it may have caused people not to to see the film as something new and exciting despite the sci-fi twist of this adaptation.

Although I didn't like Atlantis much either, personally, I was very excited for Treasure Planet. There were several reasons why I was anticipating it so much, but I think the main one was that it was by John Musker and Ron Clements, who were already my favorite Disney directors. I also read the original novel when I learned Disney was making an adaptation of it and I loved it, so that also contributed to my excitement. Visually, it was a return to a more classic Disney style after Atlantis and Lilo & Stitch and that attracted me to it as well.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2021 12:11 am 
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It was sad to hear Clements say it was his roughest time on Disney and that it wasn't fun. It also explains why Brother Bear and Home on the Range were so thoughtless, animators probably lacked motivation with their salary being cut and knowing that there are no more projects afterwards, between them and the garbage cheapquels, it was bizarre to see Disney actively destroying themselves (or rather Eisner trying to destroy Disney).

I also remember in a different podcast Musker and Clements said that they didn't get approval for any of their ideas, which probably meant that they were on their way out, which is why they eventually left in 2005. They were about to sign with a different studio (I don't remember which) until Lasseter told them not to do that, but he told them he couldn't tell them why, eventually they realized that's because of the new management replacement, and they were brought back to Disney.

I probably enjoy watching Lilo and Stitch more than Treasure Planet, but in retrospect I have more appreciation to Treasure Planet, with what they were trying to do technology wise. It is probably their most ambitious film, even though personally it is my least favorite out of their filmography.

D82, I also prefer Treasure Planet to Atlantis, though I do like Kirk Wise, Gary Trousdale and Don Hahn. I really wanted to like Atlantis, but something about it never appealed to me, it has great art design but I find the characters dull and unlikable and I also don't like that the submarine was basically wasted (like the only reason they used it is for marketing because I have no idea why they just didn't go with the main characters on a smaller expedition). I also find the film sort of lacking emotion, unlike Treasure Planet where the emotion lies in the relationship of Jim and Silver. I don't think Disney has ever done this sort of a nuanced villain where the villain from Atlantis is basically the same boring villain from Pocahontas and Tarzan.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2021 12:50 am 
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I actually didn't know much about the people behind the scenes like Ashman, M&C, Menken, etc. until I was around high school age and joined this forum. I just liked whatever movies / characters I liked before that. It took time before I realized how so many of the modern films' characters I liked most came from the same directing team (Meg, Hercules, Hades, Ursula, Ariel, Jim Hawkins, Basil, Aladdin) and then TP&TF came out and cemented that feeling because I loved Tiana so much as well as Charlotte, Ray, Naveen, and Facilier.

From what I remember, the 2000's were the time my family sort of checked out of Disney films because my sister and I were no longer children. I believe Atlantis might've been the last one we saw in theaters? I'm not sure. We saw Treasure Planet when it came out on DVD, Titan AE through renting it via cable, and then I saw The Emperor's New Groove only because I asked my mother to buy the VHS so I could. I don't think the rest of my family ever watched that one. I showed my mother the film on Blu-ray some time last year when she was doing a Disney binge for some reason because she had no memory of it at all. :lol: I believe Home On the Range was one only I ever saw and that I had to buy the DVD with my own money.

My feelings on those films have evolved over the years. I actually really enjoy both Atlantis and Lilo & Stitch now, but I hated them both back then. I think the only thing I liked about L&S were its advertisements that included films I did like. From what I remember, I looked forward to Atlantis because of how epic the commercials were and it in no way lived up to it. TP, on the other hand, looked absolutely horrible with the farting alien in every commercial, but then after seeing it I liked it from my first viewing despite its flaws. Neither TP or Atlantis lived up to their marketing--in entirely opposite ways.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:25 am 
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D82 wrote:
Visually, it was a return to a more classic Disney style after Atlantis and Lilo & Stitch and that attracted me to it as well.

That's true. Atlantis looked too angular and Lilo & Stitch too round because they were closely trying to replicate the style of specific artists. What Treasure Planet did well that gave it an edge over Atlantis was its the two leads. Jim and Long John Silver were well-developed and their relationship was effectlively explored. And even though there were elements in the film that didn't quite work, this gave the film its heart and grounded it emotionally. You cared about the charactrers and what happens to them. Conversely, Atlantis never had that. You never cared about Milo or his relationship to his grandpa. The filmmakers spent so much time developing a complicated mythology, they negelcted doing the character work needed. At least, with their main character. I find Milo to be the weakest link of Atlantis. He never worked for me in either terms of design or personality. One of the reasons I think that is, is because they made him too comedic as a character and too much of a dork. These kind of epic adventure films require a dashing, charming, rugged lead like Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas or Harrison Ford. The mistake Disney almost made with Aladdin, they ended up making it here. Even Milo's relationship with Kida was underdeveloped and unconvincing. It read as male geek's fantasy than a believable romance. Him being a much more broader and caricatured character than usual robbed him of substance and made him uninteresting and annoying.

farerb wrote:
They were about to sign with a different studio (I don't remember which) until Lasseter told them not to do that.

It was DreamWorks Animation.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 10:48 am 
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Sotiris wrote:
That's true. Atlantis looked too angular and Lilo & Stitch too round because they were closely trying to replicate the style of specific artists. What Treasure Planet did well that gave it an edge over Atlantis was its the two leads. Jim and Long John Silver were well-developed and their relationship was effectlively explored. And even though there were elements in the film that didn't quite work, this gave the film its heart and grounded it emotionally. You cared about the charactrers and what happens to them. Conversely, Atlantis never had that. You never cared about Milo or his relationship to his grandpa. The filmmakers spent so much time developing a complicated mythology, they negelcted doing the character work needed. At least, with their main character. I find Milo to be the weakest link of Atlantis. He never worked for me in either terms of design or personality. One of the reasons I think that is, is because they made him too comedic as a character and too much of a dork. These kind of epic adventure films require a dashing, charming, rugged lead like Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas or Harrison Ford. The mistake Disney almost made with Aladdin, they ended up making it here. Even Milo's relationship with Kida was underdeveloped and unconvincing. It read as male geek's fantasy than a believable romance. Him being a much more comedic and caricatured character than usual robbed him of substance and made him uninteresting and annoying.

Word. The relationship between Silver and Jim in Treasure Planet were more investable than any of those in Atlantis. My problem with Milo isn`t that he`s a particularly bad character, but how he`s overshadowed by his fellow characters. Most of the characters in Atlantis were superior than Milo, but he absorbs too much screentime. Since the story requires him to not only be the hero, but to be the catalyst of the events. Therefore the other characters becomes secondary at the expense of him (and last, but not least Helga, who`s a pivotal character overall, is insultingly underdeveloped. When she clearly needed to be more developed, since she clearly has more dimension than Rourke). At least Aladdin is a more convincing lead than Milo, as Aladdin was more serious and believable overall. Besides, Milo and Kida`s relationship is exactly like you said: A male geek's fantasy rather than a believable romance, even though the romance is underplayed and low key (and remarkably enough they never even share a kiss).

Which elements of Treasure Planet didn`t work, in your opinion?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 11:55 am 
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DisneyFan09 wrote:
At least Aladdin is a more convincing lead than Milo, as Aladdin was more serious and believable overall.

I find it ironic that it was deemed a Michael J. Fox-type of character wasn't strong enough to carry Aladdin and then Disney went ahead and made him the lead of Atlantis.

DisneyFan09 wrote:
Which elements of Treasure Planet didn't work, in your opinion?

The villain wasn't great and B.E.N. was a bit too much. Most of the aliens on the ship were just there for the sake of being weird or for comic relief. Most importantly, everything about the quest and the mystery surrounding the treasure planet was poorly mapped out. After the characters were off the ship, I feel the storytelling took a turn for the worse.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:58 pm 
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Sotiris wrote:
I find it ironic that it was deemed a Michael J. Fox-type of character wasn't strong enough to carry Aladdin and then Disney went ahead and made him the lead of Atlantis.

Indeed :lol:

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The villain wasn't great and B.E.N. was a bit too much. Most of the aliens on the ship were just there for the sake of being weird or for comic relief. Most importantly, everything about the quest and the mystery surrounding the treasure planet was poorly mapped out. After the characters were off the ship, I feel the storytelling took a turn for the worse.

Indeed! I agree about B.E.N. The reviews that I`ve read about the movie in advance confirmed that he was horribly annoying, which he was. Even a neighbour kid who my family used to babysit at the time found him annoying. And yeah, I agree about the aliens. They were awkwardly weird and juvenile, but mandatory for the sake to cater to a certain demographic.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2021 7:13 pm 
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Just to add my two cents from the original theatrical release …

At the time, many potential audience members felt that the premise itself was laughably illogical; space doesn’t have air, so how would you sail ships through them? How would you breathe?! Why is Disney doing this weird mix of old vs. new?

And then there were the throngs of soccer moms witnessing the first theatrical trailer (zooming into the crescent moon where we first realize it’s actually a space station), covering their ears while complaining of the noise, announcing there was no way they were going to take their kids to that crap.

I worked with a bunch of kids at the time (well technically, teens and young adults), and basically everyone there knew I loved Disney, although I was slightly older being in my mid-20s. I asked their opinions of the upcoming film and often got weird looks over it. Their opinions varied, but the general consensus was that it didn’t “feel” like a Disney movie to them. And unlike back when I was a teenager, new Disney releases weren’t particularly teen friendly anymore. Many of these kids still enjoyed animation, but were far more likely to get excited over anime or video games.

I think a lot of different factors contributed to that mindset, and what stays relevant or even “cool” changes over time. I personally enjoyed both Treasure Planet and Atlantis far more than my peers back then, so it’s been nice to see more appreciation of them in recent years. My kiddo is 7 now and doesn’t particularly care for either of them; he’s more into Lilo & Stitch and Nightmare Before Christmas right now, plus a lot of non-Disney animation (which I’m totally cool with, BTW). :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2021 1:47 pm 
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Glen Keane drawing of one of my favorite moments in the film.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2021 3:13 pm 
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Yeah, it`s a poignant and emotional moment, indeed.


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