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No one embodies the part of Long John Silver quite like Brian Blessed did in this series. The filming locations were great, and all around the makers of this series dotted the i's and crossed the t's.
A reminder of what Disney used to be capable of: shows with deep themes and adventure, without Lizzie Mguire Clones in the cast!
I taped this wonderful 10-part mini-series off the Disney Channel back in the 80s. My husband, 2 sons, and I watched it over and over again until the tapes wore out. In recent years I have repeatedly checked on Amazon to see if it was out on DVD and always came up disappointed. Nothing was available except old, used video tapes. How could something this good just disappear? Finally, to my great joy, I found this series in DVD (3-disc set with all 10 episodes) on the UK Amazon site and I was able to see my husband's face light up on Christmas morning when he opened his gift.
Since I got it from the UK site, it's in region-2 format. Currently this is not a problem since we are an American family living overseas and all the DVD players are region-free here. But we will soon move back to the States and then we will have to buy a region-free DVD player in order to play these DVDs. I would like to buy this DVD set in region-1 format so that I don't have to buy an expensive region-free player in the US.
When/if it comes out in region-1 format, I hope they will add subtitles. I love the pirate talk (so quirky and funny), but a lot of the dialog is hard to understand. It would also be nice to have some bonus features (background info on the making of the movie). A series this good deserves first-class treatment!
Anyhow, the series is well cast and well acted. You love to hate the villains and you really route for the heroes. Brian Blessed is absolutely amazing as Long John Silver. He brings such a lively enthusiasm to the role, and it is clear that he either studied the role and really knew how to play John Silver, or he is just that good of a performer. His dialogue and mannerisms as Silver are truly a treat to behold on the screen. Christopher Guard is excellent as an adult Jim Hawkins, and Ken Colley does an absolutely wonderful job playing Ben Gunn. Colley, if you are not aware, is probably better known for his role as Admiral and later Captain Piett in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). In this miniseries; however, I do believe he was given much more room to shine and really display his acting ability. He brings a wonderful lovable warmth to the character of Ben Gunn that just makes the series even more enjoyable to watch. Another good performance came from Reiner Schöne, who played a new pivotal character, Van Der Brecken, a Dutchman who's trade is in gathering precious wood from Mexico. Schöne does a wonderful job of playing an honest, hard-working man who has no desire to go chasing after fortune, but to earn it through honest hard work.
The series itself does a wonderful job of telling the story of the return to the island to seek the remaining portion of Flint's Treasure that was not unearthed in "Treasure Island." Along the way, we are met with very well incorporated and very sequitur discussions on issues of the time: slavery, greed and corruption to name a few. It is a very well told story of good triumphing over evil. Jim Hawkins is the ultimate hero in this story. Despite 10 years passing since his experiences chronicled in "Treasure Island," Jim has remained forthright, honest and truly a good soul, and he does so throughout the entirety of this series, despite being met with much adversity and injustice.
Ultimately, this series should be considered a modern-day classic, despite not being very well known. It is truly a gem worth more than the treasure the characters in this series seek, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone.
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