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15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

worst adaptation ever

Author: (heresjay) from Utah
2 February 2002

This two-hour commercial from the Isle of Man Tourist Bureau bears only a superficial resemblance to the Stevenson novel. At the end, all the wrong people are dead and you half expect the strumpet from the first half of the show to make one final appearance. The Isle of Man provides all the locations, even masquerading (poorly) as the tropics. Nevertheless a few good performances emerge from this hacked-up classic. Kevin Zegers gives us at least as good a Hawkins as Bobby Driscoll. The venerable Walter Sparrow shines as Ben Gunn. And Jack Palance rasps out an engaging Silver but it's disappointing to see his name spelt wrong in the credits. Palance fans might like to see him tackle one of literature's most famous old coots, but Stevenson fans should leave this one alone.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

One of the worst literary adaptations ever filmed (*** SPOILERS ***)

Author: davist
6 March 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*** SPOILERS ***

(I'm not sure if SPOILERS really applies to a story that's about 150 years old, but I don't want to overstep the guidelines. If you don't know how "Treasure Island" ends, and you want to find out when you see the film, then skip the rest of this message.)


What can you say about a version of "Treasure Island" where Captain Smollett blackmails the Squire and Doctor into giving Jim's share of the treasure to him? And where Jim really does end up joining the pirates in earnest, because he overhears their conversation? And where ALL the "good" guys -- the Captain, the Squire, the Doctor, and all the rest of them -- get killed in the last five minutes, and Jim, Long John Silver, and Ben Gunn go off by themselves with the treasure in tow?

Not to mention where Long John has a wooden leg and an occasional crutch instead of NO leg and a truly can't-move-without-it crutch?

The Captain comes to a particularly painful end, with a broadsword (thrown through the air like a spear) through the guts. Another good guy gets a jarringly nasty wound in the face, basically blasting his left eye away -- something you get to see for a brief moment before he falls.

This is without question one of the WORST literary adaptations ever filmed. I don't mind filmmakers making changes to a story to make it flow better on screen, or even just to be more engaging or interesting, but the changes made here are simply bizarre.

It's a shame, because Jack Palance could have made a great Long John Silver. And the locations (I think on the Isle of Man) are wonderful. But save yourself the trouble and give this one a pass. The only reason to watch a film of "Treasure Island" is for the story, and this one will give you heartburn.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Mundane ,boring,and lacklustre

Author: lorenellroy from United Kingdom
19 December 2001

Treasure Island seems to draw the attention of movie and TV people at reasonably regular intervals and it has even been "muppetised".This is easily the worst version of the lot,mainly due to a tired and lethargic stab at Long John Silver by the usually relaiable and compelling Jack Palance,who simply looks too old and frail to be right for the part..I see no reason ,other than the American film and TV industry'S anti-Englishness for so radically altering the characters of the Squire and Doctor from the stalwart types of the book to the cynical opportunists they are portrayed as here.I am enormously pro-American but hate the way Englishmen are shown in the media in the States.This particular instance is just another example of this The Isle of Man is a poor stand-in for the Caribbean and everybody seems to be going through the motions Perhaps it is time to give this particular book a rest until somebody comes up with the money to do it properly

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Obviously a different treasure island to the one I was thinking of.

Author: stuart arnold from Munich, Germany
31 August 2002

The titles say the film is "based on" the novel by R. L. Stevenson. That seems to mean they chose the same names for the characters. As the film progresses, the plot diverges more and more from the novel. The end is completely different and gave me the impression the budget ran out and they had to kill the cast off and finish the film as quickly as possible rather than stick to the story. I watched them making the film on the Isle of Man and bought the DVD to see what they had produced. I can't think of any other reason to buy it.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"An interesting adaptation," says you? It weren't neither, says me.

Author: cynic2all from Southwest USA
9 August 2010

I bought this VHS tape years ago and watched it once, knowing then I wasted money on it. But recently, I have read the novel again in my old (middle) age, and still like it as much as when I first read it at 13. But I had forgotten the conversion this film takes until I watched it again, and I'd sure give the tape away for nothing.

While there are moral ambiguities in the story, personified in Long John Silver, this follows after Shakespeare's witches in MACBETH: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" say they. The 2 characters in the novel who prevent blanket torture and murder of all loyal to the ship's command are Captain Smollett and Jim Hawkins. Smollett because he sensed that trouble was in the works when he was engaged on a cruise of secret 'treasure' with the secret out of the bag, a crew he did not pick himself, and the arms already stored under the bows (within easy grasp of the crew he distrusted). If his points of precaution had not been met, he would demand to be discharged; so to prevent delays his precautions were applied, and if it had not been so, it would have been easy mutiny, the pirates (if true to what pirates really were) would have cut off their lips and ears and roasted them, then made them eat them before their slow bleeding finally killed them. So it's rather angering to shift the story to where the pirates were the "good guys" and Smollett and those loyal were villains. The Japanese were more 'heroic' at Pearl Harbor! And as for Jim Hawkins actually turning traitor... this simply is not Stevenson's story. While we can sympathize, some, with his natural curiosities and desire for adventure in his 2 escapades in the novel, it was never in his consideration to join those he knew to be human trash who recklessly waste short provisions and maim and kill for the pleasure of it. That's a completely different personality than Stevenson's story-telling character.

Squire Trelawney is the one character of the "faithfuls" whom I wouldn't mind being given a more critical portrayal than most cinemas of this story. After all, it was only through coincidence (overused in the novel) that he happened to be right there at the discovery of the treasure map and was probably the only one who had the means to organize an expedition to find it. So he is a greedy opportunist. But he totally ignored his wiser friend's imperative to keep quiet about what they had found, and thus the crew he hired via Silver had the perfect opportunity to get 'their' treasure. But this movie does not develop that, and instead it goes after the one man of authority with foresight, the Captain, and makes him into a manipulative crook willing to let innocent blood be shed to make himself rich. That's low. It compares with making Joe Friday into a bribe-hustling cop.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Totally Butchered the Plot

Author: culmo80 from United States
29 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Stevenson's classic is loved by generations for many reasons and this retelling of the story cuts all those reasons out.

Spoilers: First, the treatment of Jim by the Doctor, Squire, and Captain is all wrong. They take advantage of him, sell him out to the pirates, cut him out of his share of the treasure and try to kill him. What? Jim was never in league with the pirates and the gentlemen (Doctor, Squire, and Captain) remain honest and help Jim in the story. Only when he slips away to get to the ship do they think he may have gone over to the pirates.

The action is also a bit lackluster. The group's escape from the ship felt anti-climatic...almost like a leisurely departure with a few shots.

Then there is no assault on the stockade, which was a major part of the original story.

And the bargaining between the Doctor and pirates isn't quite explained...why would they give up the map for Jim, whom they already have disowned? In the book, they exchange the map for free passage out of the stockade (already knowing that the treasure was gone because Ben Gunn had joined them).

And just where did they film this movie? It looks like it could be off the coast of Newfoundland or something...hardly the tropic environment of the original story.

The only redeeming value of this film was Jack Palance. Too bad they couldn't have built a better film around him.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

***Spoiler Alert*** They Spoiled A Classic

Author: tzer0 from The World Of Tomorrow
10 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Don't watch this version if you loved the classic. Has virtually nothing to do with the original story. The heroes are turned into villains and killed off, along with most if not all of the original dialog. If only they had done this same with this film in pre-production. Having read the book recently, I've gone back and watched the original film and the Disney remake. I thought this might be fun for comparison. Fun is not quite the word. Jack Palance is about as good a substitute for Long John Silver as the Isle Of Mann is for a tropical island with a few hot house plants stuck in the background. What is going on in Canada? I'd say there were some strange films coming from there lately, but this is ten years old and strange doesn't begin to describe it. More like bizarre! And here is the Spoiler of Spoilers in a pre-spoiled mess. Instead of Jim Hawkins sailing back to England with the good guys and the treasure, they kill the bad guys and good guys, and he runs off to Panama with it with Long John and Ben Gunn. Wait? What? That's right. And Long John doesn't even know the names of the sails even though he's supposed to be a sailor. Huh? What? The bad guys are bad. The good guys are bad. Everyone dies. And the last two members of Flint's crew don't know anything about sailing.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

This movie actually made me mad! (CONTAINS SPOILER!)

Author: awpaterek
13 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ill tell you why. I was read the story when i was a little boy. And then my grandfather got me the 1934 adaption of it and i loved it. We would always watch it together. Even after he died i continued to watch it. When i saw the commercial for this one on TBS i thought, "Ok i know it wont be as good as the first adaption or the book but ill watch it anyway." So I'm watching the movie and so far its alright a few things i didn't like but then it took a huge turn for the worse. Anyway skip to the end and all the wrong people are dead!!!!!!!!!! And it ends with a corny, childish, watered down, happy ending of Silver, Ben, and Jim sailing off alone into the sunset! I couldn't stand it. It made the Doctor, Captain Smullet, and the Squire (couldnt remember how to spell their names) out to be the bad guys only after the treasure in the end! Completely unlike the book and the original movie where the doctor was a close friend of Jim's and his mother. I cant believe they took a childhood story and a movie that i used to watch with my grandfather, hacked it up, and served it to me as an obviously low-budget piece of garbage

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

big disappointment

Author: aurel666 from Germany
1 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've read the book a few times, I saw the movie from 1934, 1950 and 1972, and all of them were at least close to the book. This movie is really a big disappointment, the actors are bad, really bad. It starts with Jack Palance as Long John Silver, there is no charismatic and intelligent pirate leader. Captain Smollet, Officer of the English Empire bargains with Trelawney for a part of the treasure. The story details have totally changed - they really let the key characters, Trelawney, Smollet and the doctor die and Long John Silver, Ben Gunn (his enemy) and Hawkins get the treasure and sail the ship home. I really wondered that there were no alien-Nazis in the end.

Time for a mutiny!

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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Hey. I liked it.

Author: Travis_Moran from Canada
5 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Okay I ticked the "spoiler" thingy so you're warned about it eh.

This version strays far away from Stevenson's version, but it's cool. The Doctor and Squire are NOT the nice guys. Poor old Jim (played by Kevin Zegers---Hey I like this guy, Zegers, he seems to have some talent) has to keep EVERYONE from cheating him in this version.

Now it does have it's slow moments and I'm sure there was a lot of room for improvement on some of the characterisations. Read some of the other reviews for more details on the technical stuff.

What I really liked most about this version is that Jim (along with Ben Gunn and Long John) gets the treasure. And they all sail off into the sunset. What an awesome "feel good" ending. All the other greedy bastards kill each other off with the remaining three mentioned above caught in the crossfire and barely escaping with their lives.

This deviant version surprised me because I really expected just another copycat Stevenson version (although I like the Charlton Heston version pretty well). So, imagine my delight, when everything didn't go as expected, YES!.

Now, I know I'm probably in the minority in my liking for this movie because there are a lot of people who hate movies that deviate from their literary sources. Sometimes they're right too. This time though I think it's worth a shot to give this one a try.

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