Treasure Planet appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. No issues arose here, as the movie always looked terrific.
Virtually all shots looked crisp and concise, with no signs of softness on the horizon. We got a consistently tight, accurate presentation from start to finish. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and I also witnessed no signs of edge enhancement. Given that the movie as transferred never saw a frame of film, it presented absolutely no source defects.
Planet featured a vibrant and rich palette, and the disc demonstrated excellent color reproduction. It mixed a nice variety of hues. For example, the supernova sequence featured some brilliant orange lighting, and the reds seen during a segment on the Legacy late in the flick also looked vivid and dramatic. Overall the colors were excellent.
Black levels seemed similarly distinct and rich, while low-light shots came across as appropriately dense but lacked any issues related to excessive opacity. The supernova segment demonstrated highlights in that department as well; the shadow detail in those shots looked smooth and tight. This wasn’t the most impressive animated Blu-ray I’ve seen, but it was still top-notch and worthy of an “A”.
Though not quite as impressive, Treasure Planet’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack was also a strong effort. Some smooth directional dialogue popped up at times, and the score demonstrated clear stereo imaging. Effects appeared in their appropriate places and moved cleanly across the spectrum.
The surrounds added solid reinforcement of these elements throughout the film, and they kicked into gear well during louder sequences. The movie’s many action sequences provided some nice discrete audio, with elements that seemed accurately located and dynamic.
Audio quality was similarly positive. Speech seemed natural and distinct, and the lines showed no problems related to edginess or intelligibility. Music was lush and vivid, as the score appeared bright and dynamic throughout the film.
Effects came across as accurate and clean. They demonstrated no signs of distortion, and they presented fine bass response as necessary. Low-end was warm and tight overall, and those elements lacked any signs of looseness. Ultimately, the audio of Treasure Planet came in with a solid “A-“.
How did this Blu-Ray compare to the original 2002 DVD? The lossless audio showed a tick up in quality, with a somewhat more engaging soundfield and smoother reproduction of the material. Visuals demonstrated obvious improvements in accuracy, color reproduction and clarity. The DVD was – and is – good for the format, but the Blu-ray created a significantly stronger experience.
The disc offers most of the DVD’s extras. We open with an audio commentary from directors Ron Clement and John Musker, producer Roy Conli, animators Glen Keane and John Ripa, and assistant art director Ian Gooding. A deftly edited piece, it sounds like the track came from two separate sessions; I get the impression one included the directors and the producer and the other recording involved the animation talent.
Whatever the case may be, the track provides a lot of great information and it neatly melded technical and creative elements. In the former category, we learn about the film’s combination of cel and computer animation, the use of color, and other filmmaking challenges that arose. Amusingly, the participants note that the most difficult to draw characters were the first to die.
For the creative side, we hear about the tale’s long gestation, casting and character development, story issues, elements that got dropped along the way, comparisons with the original story, and other pieces. I usually enjoy the commentaries that accompany Disney animated flicks, and the solid and informative track for Treasure Planet is no exception; it works well and gives us a great deal of nice notes.
Note that the Blu-ray’s packaging promises a visual commentary that includes “additional footage as you watch the film”. That was true for the original DVD but unless I’m missing something, that’s not an option here; I can’t find a way to activate the visual commentary on the Blu-ray. However, since this two-disc package provides a DVD copy that duplicates the 2002 disc – albeit with updated ads for new Disney product, of course!
Since the 2012 release throws in the visual commentary via this DVD, I won’t bemoan its loss on the Blu-ray. Besides, I’m pretty sure you can access most or all of the visual commentary’s content via the individual elements I’ll soon discuss.
An Introduction from actor Laurie Metcalf runs 57 seconds. This was created for the DVD – and still includes Metcalf’s reference to that format. It’s painless but not especially useful. (Odd note: though this and additional Metcalf intros were clearly shot for the 2002 DVD, I don’t think they ever appeared there; I believe the Blu-ray marks their debut.)
The RLS Legacy Virtual 3D Tour breaks into two subsections. “Technical Tour” includes remarks from artistic coordinator Neil Eskuri as he guides us through a CG representation of the boat. It runs nine minutes, 29 seconds and offers a nicely executed and well thought out piece.
The ”Nautical Tour” provides a similar feature with production designer Steven Olds. It lasts seven minutes, 40 seconds as Olds gives us a different perspective from the one by Eskuri. It’s also interesting and useful.
DisneyPedia: The Life of a Pirate Revealed provides a narrated program shows lots of clips from the movie as well as a few images of appropriate things like paintings and shots from other pirate flicks. It goes through six topics: “Pirate Definitions”, “Pirate Flags”, “Real Pirates”, “Code of Conduct”, “Pirate Ships”, and “Treasures: Lost and Found”. Each of these offers a brief, kid-oriented look at their subjects. These bits offer a decent little introduction to their various subjects; they’re very short – the entire program runs 12 minutes, 13 seconds - so they lack depth, but they could give kids the basis to become more interested in the areas.
Hosted by Roy E. Disney, Disney’s Animation Magic offers a 14-minute, 18-second featurette that offers a quick look behind the scenes. Unfortunately, other than Disney’s introductions, we find almost nothing exclusive here. The program simply uses four of the same clips we see elsewhere on the disc: the modification of the Captain Hook shots, the creation of maquettes, the Silver animation progression reel, and the “Jim Meets Ethan” deleted scene. You can view these here or elsewhere, but eventually they become redundant.
Deleted Scenes gives us three cut sequences with a total running time of six minutes, 33 seconds. (That includes a 27-second intro from Metcalf.) “Original Prologue: Adult Jim” lasts two minutes, 59 seconds and begins with comments from Musker and Clements. The other two also include similar directorial introductions. “Alternate Ending: Rebuilding the Benbow” runs one minute, nine seconds, while “Jim Meets Ethan” goes for one minute, 57 seconds. None of these seem terrific, but they’re fun to see. (Note that the three deleted scenes also occupy their own separate area on the DVD, but nothing different appears there.)
When we shift to Story, we get another introduction from Metcalf; producer Conli delivers some comments as well. Our tour guide chats for one minute, one second about the adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson story. We also get the trailer for the 1950 version of Treasure Island.
As you might guess, Metcalf gives an additional introduction for Music. This one goes for one minute, 38 seconds and also features thoughts from Conli, Musker and Clements. From there, we locate a music video for “I’m Still Here (Jim’s Theme)” from John Rzeznick. The song’s not especially memorable, but the video’s interesting. Not only does it avoid the usual compilation of movie clips, but also it stars a guy who may or may not be a young Andy Samberg.
With that, we go to Art Design and the inevitable Metcalf introduction. It runs 48 seconds and also features artistic supervisor backgrounds Dan Cooper. The Brandywine School gives us a two minute, 24-second clip about the storybook look of Planet. We hear from Cooper, chairman of Walt Disney Feature Animation Roy E. Disney, art director Andy Gaskill and associate art director Ian Gooding. They chat about the history of storybook illustration and its influence on the film. We find some useful comments here.
The 70/30 Law lasts one minutes, 39 seconds and provides remarks from Gooding and Gaskill. They relate the movie’s design philosophy of 70% traditional, 30% sci-fi for the flick’s look. This delivers another quick but informative piece.
The next section covers The Characters and it features the standard Metcalf opening; it goes for 59 seconds and throws in notes from Keane. The Hook Test shows footage created to test the integration of Silver’s CG arm. In this one-minute clip, we watch one scene from Peter Pan mutated to give Captain Hook a robotic arm. Glen Keane introduces this piece. We also see Silver Arm Test, a 37-second piece with animator Eric Daniels in which we get details about the pirate’s artificial appendage. Both provide interesting demonstrations.
Another Metcalf intro comes with B.E.N.. It lasts 48 seconds and offers comments from Gaskill. We then go to 3D Character/2D World. Clements, Musker, and Conli comment on the character’s visual development in this one-minute, five-second clip.
Under Maquettes, we see a three-minute, 11-second featurette. It delivers details from Keane, Daniels, and character sculptures Kent Melton. They discuss the maquette sculptures created for the film and the technological advances found in the flick.
Now we go to the Animation domain, where we again launch from a Metcalf introduction. This one spans one minute, 13 seconds and brings Clements and Musker in as well. Delbert Doppler goes for one minute, nine seconds and includes information from Doppler supervising animator Sergio Pablos as he chats about how they came up with the visual look for the personality. Silver Progression Animation runs two minutes, 25 seconds and starts with information from Glen Keane. We then watch a scene involving Silver go from rough status to final product.
Despite the name, Pencil Animation: Amelia’s Cabin actually involves the visual development for the character, not the location. We hear from Capt. Amelia supervising animator Ken Duncan and see a examples of different concepts and rough animation in this two-minute and 10-second piece.
The Rough Animation to Final Film Comparison offers a look at the scene in which Jim meets B.E.N. The snippet runs one minute, 38 seconds and begins with an intro from Jim Hawkins supervising animator John Ripa. It runs the rough material on the top of the splitscreen with the finished footage at the bottom.
Dimensional Staging comes with the inevitable Metcalf introduction. The one-minute, eight-second clip also features Gaskill. Effects Animation combines Eskuri and artistic supervisor CGI Odermatt again for a one-minute, nine-second discussion of that topic, and Pose Camera covers the integration of 2D and 3D animation with information from Eskuri; it fills one minute, 42 seconds.
Via Layout Demonstrations, we get a reel that lasts one minute, 23 seconds and provides comments from Eskuri and Odermatt as it looks at the film’s sets. Eskuri and Odermatt also appear in Treasure Planet Found, a two-minute and eight-second examination of the design of the world’s core. Lastly, Lighting brings back the pair for this one-minute, 12-second look at how lighting affects different elements. All of these components give us nice details.
Release features the standard Metcalf intro. It runs 35 seconds as it sets up the movie’s promotion. We get two trailers: theatrical and teaser.
The disc opens with ads for Cinderella and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. These also appear under Sneak Peeks along with promos for Secret of the Wings, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure, Pocahontas, The Aristocats, The Rescuers, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3, Planes and The Tigger Movie.
Does the Blu-ray omit any extras from the DVD? Yes – as mentioned, it drops the visual commentary, and it also loses a variety of still elements. However, since the package includes the original DVD, you can still access all of these components, so the fact the Blu-ray doesn’t port over all of them becomes a non-issue in my opinion.
While not on a par with the greatest Disney animated flicks, I felt Treasure Planet seemed a lot more entertaining than its poor box office reception might lead you to believe. It provided a lively and amusing movie that moved at a good pace and was generally well executed. The Blu-ray gives us excellent picture and audio along with a nice collection of supplements. I think Planet offers an underrated Disney adventure and think the Blu-ray brings it to home video as well as possible.
To rate this film, visit the original review of TREASURE PLANET