Treasure Island (TV Movie 2012) Poster

(2012 TV Movie)

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I thought it was good myself
TheLittleSongbird15 January 2012
Previous to this Treasure Island, I saw three other versions of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson story, the 1950 film, the Muppet film and the 1990 TV film. Of the three the best was the 1990 one, though all three have many good merits with the performance of Long John(especially Robert Newton's) being the main good asset in all three.

This Treasure Island I did enjoy compared to the mix of treasures and disappointments that were on Christmas TV, but I personally don't consider it in the same league in the above. I don't think it is perfect, and I can understand why some have been disappointed, while most of the camera work is good and fluid, some of it in the sped up action scenes looks odd and somewhat frenzied.

Dr. Livesey is also a much less interesting or likable character compared to his novelistic counterpart. Dr. Livesey in the book was one of my favourites but his rather "wimpy" persona here made me quickly irritated by him. The sound is serviceable, though I do agree that it is sometimes hard to hear what the actors are saying.

However, the locations are really striking and effort is made to make them authentic. The costumes are likewise sumptuous, and the music while not exceptional is suitably rousing. The story, complete with an interesting opening that was a welcome addition to the storytelling I thought, gripped me throughout and the script is witty.

Casting-wise, I thought it was fine, likewise with the acting. Dr. Livesey may have been disappointing, but I blame the writing more than Daniel Mays. It is not a great performance by all means, but Mays is much better than he was in his miscast role in the awful Outcasts, and tries his best. If anything for me, Elijah Wood was the weak link in the cast as Ben Gunn, I can't place my finger exactly on why it is, maybe the wooden delivery of the lines or the lack of charisma but his performance came across as bland.

However, while he was deserving of more considering his calibre, Donald Sutherland does a good job playing Flint. Toby Regbo is appealing also as Jim, Phillip Glenister is excellent as Captain Smollet, and while like Livesey(though not as badly affected) Trelawny is not as interesting as he is in the book Rupert Penry-Jones, ever the conscientious and reliable actor he is, gives his all to the role and it works.

I do agree with those who say that Eddie Izzard steals the show. Long John is such a delicious character to portray, but also one that can easily fall into caricature. Izzard I admit I wasn't expecting to work, I worried he would be too hammy as well as the falling into caricature trap. But no, there is a sense of menace to him, but also some humanity as well, not to mention a good deal of humour and understatement; he mayn't quite erase the performances of Robert Newton, Charlton Heston and Tim Curry, all great performances in their own right, but it is a worthy take and enough to make this Treasure Island even more enjoyable.

Overall, I enjoyed it. Is it great or outstanding? No. Is it good and worth watching? I think so. I understand the disappointment of some, but as much as I love the other three versions and the book, I did try to judge this on its own terms and found it helped to enable me to enjoy it. 7.5/10 Bethany Cox
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Very good if you haven't read the book
DukeMcAwesome9 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This was a valiant stab at televising the much treasured (no pun intended) book by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The costume design, the locations and acting were all superb. Eddie Izzard is by far the best Long John Silver that has ever graced our television screens. Toby Regbo is very well suited as Jim Hawkins.

The program opens with a nice little addition to the book, setting the background up surrounding Flint's crew nicely and explaining the loss of Long John's leg - setting hopes high for the rest of the program.

Unfortunately there are two massive letdowns for anyone who enjoyed the book, namely Trelawney and Livesy. The acting standards from Jones and Mays is high, however the scriptwriters seem to have read a copy of Treasure Island from an alternate universe, where everything is exactly opposite to the original.

Trelawney, has been rewritten from having been a kind, generous adventuring man (if not a little too open at times) to being a two faced, selfish, greedy, penny pinching landlubber. Livesy has been taken from being possibly the most gutsy, daring swashbuckler in the Empire - to a pathetic, quivering coward who is ashamed of what he's become. Unfortunately, this is beyond dramatic interpretation - and seems more like the writers ate the book and defecated this script.

If you can get past these huge inconsistencies and open rewriting of the story (or you haven't read it/seen the original), you are in for a treat - with soaring production values and wonderful acting. If you are a fan of the original, steer well clear as you will most likely spend 3 hours yelling at your television.
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Another Ruined Classic...Why call it Treasure Island?
mattnation17 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This whole production was SUCH a wasted opportunity.

Good cast, good sets, good locations...and then an attempt to update a classic story by meddling with the plot. Bad idea.

The story is SUPPOSED to be about a boy (Jim) who gets dragged into the excitement of the pirates lives and is tempted away from the good side represented by Squire Trelawney (a thoroughly decent, albeit naive man), Dr Livesy (brave through and through) and his legitimate crew by the persuasive and morally ambiguous Long John Silver. When he realises how black-hearted the pirates are, he rejoins the 'right' side and helps save the day. By making Trelawney a villain (typical modern twist that anyone in a position of power must be corrupt and evil) and Dr Livesy a coward they ruined the whole message of the book.

Once they'd succeeded in destroying that aspect of the plot, they compounded matters by having the survivors tip all the gold into the sea at the end, having seemingly suddenly realised that material goods are evil.

Oh and killing off their newly formed 'evil' Trelawny in a ham-fisted attempt at showing that greed doesn't pay. Are you kidding me?! In one scene they destroyed the entire point of the film - all those people died for nothing then?! They might just as well have stayed at home... Rubbish. Absolute rubbish.

Oh and having Jim free Silver at the end - Nooooooo! He ESCAPES - he's LONG JOHN SILVER - he doesn't need a boy to free him..!!!!

Oh and finally Long John Silver is supposed to DISAPPEAR - you don't know if he makes it back to his wife or not - its left hanging there...with Jim liking to believe he made it...a far more satisfying end!

Maybe one day the screenwriters will actually read their source material....there's a reason why a classic is a classic...

As it is, you have to wonder why they even bothered giving it the same name as the classic tale...after all, it bore no resemblance to the contents of the book.
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Best Pirate Film/Show I've Seen
aovannor3 January 2012
I'll first point out that I haven't seen any of the other older versions of Treasure Island, nor was I familiar with the story prior to watching this.

My initial feelings are that Pirates Of The Caribbean has been put to shame for it's immature attitude towards pirates, whilst this film is probably the best representation I've seen on screen (but I haven't watched a lot of pirate themed films, to be honest). We are treated to a slightly rugged world of pirates where there are no supermodels running about, quite the opposite for the most part. The way it should be. I think the cleanest looking person in the whole film is Elijah Woods.

Eddie Izzard (Long John Silver) was excellent and perfectly cast in my opinion. I have never thought much of him as an actor before but this certainly changed my mind. Just like PotC is all about Depp, this is all about Izzard. The rest of the cast are also very very good but Izzard really stands out. Sean Gilder also made an excellent pirate, but his on screen time was pretty limited.

I can't comment on how true this is to the original story but I thought it was great entertainment with really good production values and a great overall cast. Easily the best pirate film I've seen.
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Good entertainment
roguegrafix14 January 2012
I enjoyed this short series even though, like another viewer, I have not read the book or seen other film interpretations. Having watched it, I am going to read the book. After, I might rant at the screen for 3 hours as another reviewer says, but as a first impression, I thought it was good entertainment.

I particularly liked how the film had these moments which hinted at sinister forces and "black magic"—how they break into a haunting, mournful sea shanty as they're weighing anchor etc.

Eddie Izzard is superb—very likable and very real. A hard but pragmatic man, he steals the show. Yes, it must have been easy money for Donnie Sutherland but what the hey.

The difference between this film and Pirates of the Caribbean, is that this is a drama (gutsy, real) and Pirates is a comedy. Sure the film has it flaws but it gripped me from the beginning to the end. Very good.
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Quality production - well worth seeing
Cantwr15 January 2012
Having read the book to my children, now teenagers, when they were younger we all watched this having saved it on DVD - can't abide adverts. Though there were inevitable departures from the book it is a pretty faithful rendition and Eddie Izzard confirms his status as a charismatic actor well cast as the complex Silver. The idiocy of the Squire's venture and motley collection of adventurers are ably brought to life by an impressive array of top actors - though of course that means it suffers from 'recognition distraction' on first viewing! (My rule of thumb is always watch a film twice before drawing conclusions - and if you don't want to see it again that tells its own story.) The locations, ship and costumes are superb and really bring to life the squalor of the times and the urge for riches as the only way out. Arguably the Squire becomes too nasty and the Doctor too insipid in this version but Philip Glenister is excellent as Capt Smollett. The incorrigible nature of the pirates and Silver's restless intelligence are well portrayed. Memorable.
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How to wreck a classic
celr23 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I wanted to like this recreation of the classic Treasure Island. One doesn't expect a slavish adherence to the original as long as the main story elements are in place, and who would be nitpicking enough to criticize every deviation from precise details of 18th century settings, customs and props. Making the feckless first mate a black guy might be a stretch, Billy Bones is not black in the original, but even the book describes Long John's wife as "a woman of color." Political correctness would be certain to ruin any classic, but I didn't detect toxic amounts of that here. No, the violation was far worse. About one third of the way through this re-creation takes a dark and nasty turn.

So I was enjoying this Treasure Island and it's dodgy crew as they set out to sea. Only having had it read to me as a small lad, but I kept coming up short: "Wait a minute! I don't remember that!" I knew my memory of the book was quite faded so I had to look it up. In this TV production squire Trelawney is turned into an angry, abusive tyrant. He virtually keelhauls some poor fellow as a punishment and the fellow dies as Jim looks on. That is totally gratuitous, it's not in the book. In fact, Trelawney is supposed to be a decent fellow and invites Jim on the voyage because he likes him. Later in the TV version the Squire abuses Jim irrationally and cruelly and drives him out of the camp on the island. He is supposed to be Jim's protector, but in this version he becomes his persecutor.

Classics are classics for a reason. In the story of Treasure Island it's the power of the narrative, the storytelling, that's the key to its popularity for many generations. The makers of this TV drama, as in so much of movies and TV drama, have no sense of the narrative. Treasure Island is a story of a rite of passage, of a young man being introduced to the world and for this to work he needs people on his side, protectors who care about his welfare. For him to be betrayed by the people who brought him along and took him into their confidence, makes no sense at all. At that point the narrative loses its moral compass and becomes absurd. I can't imagine a motive for such a drastic alteration in the story. Certainly Trelawney is given no motive to turn on Jim and leave him to the mercy of a bunch of cutthroats who intend to kill him. At that point in the TV version Jim is on his own, he virtually has to take care of himself. He has no allies. But rite of passage is not something that adolescents do on their own, as in "Lord of the Flies." They need compassionate adults to help them along.

And though I can't imagine why the screenwriters made such a poor decision about the plot line, I can see the parallels with contemporary culture where many young people are virtually abandoned by their elders and left to raise themselves on junk food and pop culture. Along with that comes a visceral dislike of established values, the well-off, and any authority, combined with an exaggerated feeling of entitlement. Perhaps the writers thought that the values of the RLS book were too outdated and corny for an audience of feral children used to getting their own way. As in the "Occupy" movement, all rich guys are automatically considered evil just because they're rich, so the squire has to be evil. I don't know. But you can see the result of such a philosophy in the London riots of 2011 and the ever expanding percentage of out-of-wedlock births in the Western world.

In any case these seemingly unnecessary alterations in the story line throw the entire story out of kilter, and Treasure Island is no longer fun. Don't get me started on the ridiculous ending. Avoid this version.
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granted it doesn't follow the book but engaging nonetheless
ht17267225 January 2012
I'd like to have seen a faithful adaptation but it's still engaging. Found the background music helped do what it was supposed too without being overly intrusive which is always nice and far too rare an occurrence these days. Loved the accurate use of an actual sea shanty (they were work songs and to see them used as such in drama is wonderful). Also nice to see people with a range of accents as would have been the case rather than just the stereotypical bristol accents.

To address some accusations of historical inaccuracy. 1)pirates with Mohawks: this set in the mid 1700's the Mohawk as a tribe would have have a reputation as a people to be reckoned with that would likely have spread to pirates familiar with the America's I can well understand a pirate adopting the hairstyle of a of a nation of fierce warriors. 2)Black people in position's of authority: Sailor's especially outside the navy were much more egalitarian being largely concerned with skill rather than colour or social class (a poor man if skillful might not be able to buy a commission straight off but through saving up prize money and wages may be able to manage it after a few years). Yes there probably would have racism but, particularly on pirate ships, prizes were shared reasonably equally in theory so it would be entirely possible for a black man to become first mate. Equally black sailors would likely not have been as uncommon as all that as it would make sense for an escaped slave to attempt to take to the sea as a way of avoiding pursuit and a good way for a freed slave to make a living.
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Eddie Izzard steals the show
janewarren23 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Understated but brilliant, Eddie Izzard plays Long John Silver like no other before him. This is the best since Robert Newton!

An excellent version of the Treasure Island Story, costumes, scenery and atmosphere are set to make this an enjoyable voyage for the viewer, the location contrasts with darkly grim England, and the wildly beautiful Island mirror the battle between good and evil. But nothing is ever cut and dried, Elijah Wood's appearance as Ben Gun is another surprise, his performance is again different to the usual representation, but it works, as he questions what are in fact the most important things in life. Choosing a piece of cheese and the "word" over riches.
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Good entertainment, with some fine acting
BeneCumb14 July 2012
Stevenson's Treasure Island was one of my favorite childhood books I used to read over and over again. Currently I can't remember its nuances - the plot of course I do - and I enjoyed the 2012 version. Background and costumes seems realistic and one can notice at once that it non-US movie - compared to Pirates of the Caribbean, for example.

Izzard, Regbo, Sutherland and Wood are very good, the rest are just above average - or their characters are too "simple" to make some real shine out of them. On the other hand, it is good that no one really steals the show as Depp does when portraying Jack Sparrow. Fight scenes, collusions etc are also more "medieval" here.

In short, highly recommended for those fond of historic adventures, and not seeking deep philosophy or reasoning.
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The worst adaption so far
Tyrolean21 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I was looking forward to this! The great cast (Glenister, Penry-Jones, Mays, Izzard) should have guaranteed a great movie. Well, it didn't!

Firstly, what about the historical inaccuracies? Granted, they probably couldn't find a seaworthy ship from the proper era, but what about the props? Can't be to hard to find guns from that era instead of rummaging through Sharpe's prop-box. As well, what about the non-Europeans? Granted, there was the odd black fellow in piracy, but surely not on a merchant ship and definitely not as first mate! And the guys from Asia? Chinese, Malayan, Melanesian? How did they find there way to Bristol? And back to the ship: It seems that ever since Pirates of the Caribbean writers seem to think that ships requiring a crew from at least 50 (in this movie) or 200 (PotC) can just as well be sailed by one or two fellows.

And then the characters: Why, why in god's name, change them all? They have nothing to do with the novel but are just modern clichés slapped on the original characters. The rich landowner has, of course, to be a greedy, immoral bastard, because rich people are like that! The doctor is a drunkard and a coward, and then suddenly changes his character 180° degrees, so that the audience can see, that every man can change for the better when he needs to.

Long John is just a poor, misunderstood philosopher who wants nothing more than to live a life without worries, married to his sweetheart whom he saved from prostitution. Nevermind the scores of people he killed.

Even the baddest bad-ass in this movie, Israel Hands, is really only a victim, as he was pressed into service as a boy and thus can't really be held responsible for his actions.

Oh, nearly forgot: Which idiot built that stronghold five feet from the sea? The pirates really only had to bring their ship in just a little bit closer and a broadside would have blown that place to kingdom come and saved us from suffering through this sorry efforts ending.


Well, the ending. After killing and maiming, being killed and being maimed, young Jim suddenly decides to throw the whole goddamn treasure overboard, not thinking about the debt his mother has or that they both will probably end up in the poor house or as slaves in the colonies. And the rest actually helped him. The helmsman will stay a helmsman for the rest of his life, the poor doctor won't get to marry Jim's mom and the skipper won't be able to pay the rent on his house as he doesn't get paid for that journey.

At least, that's what would happen IRL, though this movie seems to be teaching us, that throwing money away is a good thing, because you'll get money from somewhere else anyway. Sounds to be inspired by the Euro crisis.

Oh yes, and after they dropped the treasure into the waves, the captain said "let's sail to Jamaica and crew up". Someone should have spoken up and said: "Uhm, skipper, we just threw all our gold overboard. Gonna be hard finding hands of we can't pay 'em! Arr!"
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This is a down-to-earth pirate movie unlike Pirates of Caribbean.
rum255011 June 2012
Well,I only have a vague memory of the novel which I read when I was around 14-15. Therefore, while watching this I really couldn't compare the story and the characters with the original, which I guess was a blessing. I enjoyed this a lot because of several reasons. Firstly,it was quite realistic (esp.without supernatural elements as in POC.)Characters were depicted nicely and felt quite real and believable.Action scenes were decent without unnecessary flamboyance. Locations were wonderful and well matched with the images I had in my mind about the Treasure island since my childhood. If you liked "Master and commander", this is definitely for you. If you are still a fan of POC franchise, you may not like this.
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A great pirate movie OK+ adaptation
vonshavingcream28 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very well done pirate movie. They did an excellent job getting most things accurate for the time period. From a sailing side, I didn't like some of the things on screen. (i.e. a shot with a loose flying Jib Boom Sail. This would have NEVER happen on a real ship with a knowledgeable crew.)

My main disappointment was the complete miss on the relationships between the character's from the book. One of the main reasons the original book was so appealing and became so famous was because of the trust, and faith the adults in the movie had for the child, Jim Hawkins. In the book, just about every adult had the utmost faith and trust in the information Jim provided. I found it very frustrating that no one but John Silver put trust in Jim in the movie.

Another issue I had with this was the relationship between the Squire, The Doctor and Jim. I think this triangle was something that was so vital to ability to believe the original story. It was changed so much in the movie, that it was hard to accept.

Again .. I really thought the movie was great. But perhaps it would have been better to change the title and claim it as a adaptation of treasure island rather than saying it IS treasure island ... because it's not.

Kudos though to all involved, I commend you for taking on such a large scale production. I know ship movies in general are expensive and difficult. It was a really great movie on a whole.
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A Small Bag of Treasure
doug_park200125 May 2013
"Treasure Island" is one of those stories where reading the original novel beforehand is crucial to really savoring any film version, and this is especially true of this divergent adaptation. Although it retains the basic skeleton of the original plot, much has been added, and many key characters have undergone fundamental changes. I was initially hostile to said changes but soon came to appreciate and enjoy the new sub-conflicts, many of which address universal themes (e.g., greed,loyalty) which are more relevant than ever today. I didn't particularly like the way "TI" (2012) hurries through pivotal scenes from the book, yet, with all that's been added, suppose that was necessary in order to limit its already 3-hour length.

This version is also full of small anachronisms in clothing and hair design, as well as some bigger ones in the ethnically diverse ship's crew ("all Englishmen!" in the novel), some of whom sport Mr. T-style Mohawks (!?) While it seems the makers wanted to address the additional modern theme of diversity here, the un-pc truth of the matter is that your average European person of the 1700s would not have taken kindly to such a mix, and the way the crew, including its rich officers and financiers, blithely accept differences in nationality and complexions is, well, unconvincing. At the same time, there are also some added details (e.g., prostitutes, thieves, and hanged men along the filthy Bristol quayside) which, although avoided by Robert Louis Stevenson in a novel intended largely for a younger audience, add a great deal of realism in this version.

In the end, "TI" (2012) is well-filmed and well-acted despite its various weak spots. While this revision is obviously to be avoided by those rigidly attached to the original story (or just wanting to see a film version of RLS's actual book), it should appeal to audiences in search of a less dualistic, more complicated tale, created in an age that tends to appreciate anti-heroes like Long John Silver.
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Not very good.
sudhir9811 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The acting was very decent and the cinematography was quite good for a made for TV movie. The biggest problem was how the movie is very dark and how it completely changes a few critical characters from the book. Livesey comes of as a bumbling,incompetent person and trelawney is just a hateful character. Ben gunn was very annoying and probably the only character that looks like you would imagine from the book. The captain's character was very well played as well. I wish I could undo watching this movie- it just spoiled the classic for me. For the life of me I cannot understand why the changes were made. It would have been an excellent movie if they stuck to the book. Save your money and avoid this movie.
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Some very nice roles
iamtoddicus5 May 2012
Izzard, Sosanya and Wood, did justice to roles that were totally contrary to their normal acting parts. Best acting was Mays (as the doctor), and Henderson (as Meg Hawkins).

I read the original 'Treasure Island' back in 8th grade. While this was a modern 'adaptation', that drifted from the original book, it fleshed out personalities and background stories. I did appreciate the way they stayed true to the verbal vernacular. I found it to be an excellent update.

My only beef was the 'hand-held camera' filming in an attempt to be 'edgy'.
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Don't watch this if you read and loved the book!
eelchuk719 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
As someone who read and loved the book I was extremely excited to see this movie. Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed after I saw it. So many meaningless plot changes corrupted this version from start to finish. In fact, it barely resembles the Robert Louis Stevenson classic novel (he probably rolled over in his grave). I would like the writers to explain to me why they decided to make all the changes, as they seem to serve no purpose other than to upset those who have read the book.The filmmakers decided to make Dr Livesay a snivelling wimp, and Squire Trelawney a massive jerk. The director also chose for some reason to use some sort of speed up technique that does nothing more than send you into a seizure. Eddie Izzard does a good job with Long John Silver, but that only scratches at the surface for redeeming this steaming pile. I guess we'll have to wait another twenty years or so for another version to come out, and hopefully that one might do the book justice.
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Just don't expect the classic adventure
Angus-821 January 2013
First, I have to say good on Eddie Izzard for not trying to copy John Newton's Silver. On the other hand, it would have been staggeringly foolish to try that *again* in this day and age. No, Izzard delivers a new interpretation of Silver and does rather a good job of it.

In many trivial ways, this production is more faithful to Stevenson's classic than the as of yet undefeated champion of dramatic productions: the Disney 1950 film. (More running time, I guess) In some important ways it's even more faithful, and even adds a few interesting ingredients. We get to meet Capt. Flint (both of them). We also get the meet the "woman of colour" that Stevenson had married to Silver--something Disney didn't acknowledge. Oh, and speaking of the race card, it was played with the likes of Billy Bones and Mr. Arrow (black as a bucc'neer's colours in bilge water, they is!) I guess it does add an important bit of realism, now present in a lot of recent 18c nautically-themed productions.

But in some serious ways it diverges from the the book. I can't say whether or not it was a mistake to make Trelawney a partial crook and "Bible-reading hypocrite". (It was definitely a mistake to have a gentleman using "who" in the objective) It certainly was important to the ending. Oh yeah, that ENDING!!

The ending loses it 2 stars easily (though as a TI purist, it was a challenge not taking off 4). It's perfectly understandable that they not use the book's ending, Disney didn't even do that, but this unique ending takes the whole story off course and changes the genre from pure adventure to something of a morality tale. In making a miniseries, there was the opportunity to rehabilitate the Treasure Island myth, as was done in 2000 with Frank Herbert's Dune. Unfortunately, what we have is probably the least Stevensian Treasure Island production to date. Sorry.
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Awful acting, No tension. Bad direction.
Happysam6910 January 2012
The casting is truly bizarre, especially Eddie Izzard and Elija Wood – presumably to sell it to the Americans. And don't start me on the Donald Sutherland as Flint (was that three or five seconds of footage…) The whole character of this wonderful book has been spoilt by the direction. The sets and historical detail are well done but everything else is just shoddy. Long John Silver is a truly great fictional character but Izzard's modernisation is just wretched. The acting is generally very poor.

There is more character, emotion and value in any one minute of any of the previous black and white versions of this movie than in the whole of this awful mess. Watch those old movies or better still, read the book.
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Excellent entertainment
morgan-659-31284214 July 2013
I've read through these comments with some amusement. I've also read the book more than once and love it. I also like Robert Newton who will always be Long John Silver. But I don't care about the changes, the inaccuracies, the altered story or anything else found to criticise this film. It is very good entertainment with a very decent cast, including Eddie Izzard, and enough tightness in the script to make it very watchable. Watching it on DVD without ads obviously helps but I cannot understand how anyone could not enjoy this adventure because that is what it is. It's not an attempt to produce a classic but a simple effort in producing a good, well told story. Damned good fun.
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Love-Hate Relationship
sri-2513 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Treasure Island is one of my absolute favorite books, and so I tend to shy away from movies of it; they never do the book justice. This feature is no exception- and yet it is one.

The deliciously adult depictions of the pirates, the times, and the addition of the storyline about Mrs. Hawkins and Mrs. Silver work beautifully to add twist and interest to what might be an over-familiar tale. I thought Izzard was a brilliant Long John Silver. I also felt Wood's Ben Gunn was wonderfully true to the spirit of the character, and the twist to his tale (away from the original book storyline) at the end also was thoughtful and interesting, and more just to the character.

On the other hand, the serious destruction of the characters of the Squire and the Doctor utterly destroy the main contrasts and points of the original story: the pitting of honesty, generosity, courage, and loyalty in believable, likable characters against the evils of self-indulgence, trickery, greed, and cowardice of the pirates. It also takes away from Jim Hawkins coming-of-age by handing that role- strangely- to the Doctor.

I also thought it utterly idiotic to dump the treasure at the end. It is almost like somebody decided they wanted to have the treasure dumped in an allegory against greed, and so they fit the "good guys" to this ideal, making them into bad guys, just like the pirates. Or, perhaps they wanted you to cheer harder for Long John Silver and be happier about him getting away in the end (I'm all good with Jim helping him to escape, especially with the insertion of the woman-at-home storyline to compliment it), so they had to make the "good" guys into cowardly jerks so you wouldn't want them to win- which is, of course, superficial and stupid.

In the end, it is a beautiful rendition, if you can get over the annoying changes to the Squire and the Doctor- or just take them as given as they are, and watch it for the wonderful complexity of Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins and their shifting and changing relationship.
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Treasureless and pleasure-less....
rbrb9 June 2012
After half an hour I turned off this movie. And the only reason I am a able to rate it just above the lowest vote is that some of the outdoor scenes on the coast look realistic. But nothing else does. Much of the part of the film I had on I could hardly see what was going on as it was badly lit but that is one of many things wrong with the film.The direction of the picture is poor and is all over the place. The acting is atrocious and unconvincing. Th actor playing long john silver(ljs) is a joke and should stick to stand up comedy. The black actors in the movie look out of place and are only present for political correctness.

Then there is the awful script which simply is not appropriate for the time period.Much of the dialogue is modern day east London slang.The straw that broke the camel's back was when the actor playing ljs used the word "teething" in describing a fight among crew members.That word would never be used in that era or by that character and I doubt if even invented at that time. Its a bit like if in a Western film an actors refers to the internet!

Treasure Island is meant to be a classic novel and some movies have in the past kept up that classic standard in their portrayal of the story etc. But this version is most certainly not one of them.


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Good but why the changes?
petewhitaker14 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Robert Louis Stevenson's classic gets another dramatic outing in this 2012 production starring comedian Eddie Izzard in the role of Long John Silver. The screenplay was written by Stewart Harcourt who made some unsubtle and to my mind unnecessary changes to the story. His altered representations of two of the major characters, Squire Trelawney and Dr Livesey, make little sense and add no extra dramatic value. Director Steve Barron works for a rather realistic representation of the story with a mixed race crew of pirates posing as honest seamen on board the Hispaniola. This helps to steer a course away from unnecessary comparisons to 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. Izzards John Silver lacks the matey easiness of Robert Newton's classic 1950 characterisation, as well as the colour and roguishness. He is believable however, and at times gives a very good performance but I never found him as threatening as Newton's Silver. Philip Glenister was excellent throughout as Capt. Smollett, the professional sailor who begins the voyage with grave misgivings but remains steadfast during all of their adventures. Perhaps the only instance of miscasting was that of Elijah Wood as Ben Gunn, not only too young but again re-written for no real advantage. Wood himself gives it a good go, there's no faulting his performance, it is just that there is again no reason behind the changes to the character. This could have been an excellent version of Treasure Island, certainly the production values are high and the cast are for the most part enjoyable but the curious move away from Stevenson's original characterizations, the change to some of their motivation, and the totally unnecessary emphasis on a 21st Century reaction to materialism, mars this version. If you have never read the novel then this might pass as an entertaining adventure film but Stewart Harcourt's adaptation looses too much of the original and criticises social conventions in such a way as to suggest a lack of historical integrity or even understanding. Fun but not a patch of the 1950 classic.
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Greyscale characters instead of Black & White
lordman11 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
As someone who likes characters to act like human beings rather than protagonist-antagonist clichés and who always preferred the character of Long John Silver for that exact reason, I must say that I like this version of the Treasure Island - and not last because of the thing that others seem to dislike about it.

I am talking, of course, about the way Squire Trelawney and Captain Smollet are characterized. They and Dr. Livesey are not the gallant, good-hearted heroes they were characterized as in the original story but far more believable men of different principles who want one thing mostly: to survive and get out of the matter with their own livelihoods and lives intact - and who can blame them? What this does for the story is simply this: no longer is Jim Hawkins' struggle about who to trust an obvious good versus evil choice, but it becomes a legitimate question. Does he remain loyal to the Squire who has disowned him of the treasure map and believes him to be a traitor as well, or does he go with Silver, who promises a fair share of the loot and recognition as a member of the crew? Jim himself is far more self-sufficient and competent than other versions show him to be, he knows how to cheat at cards and how to defend himself if necessary, he is a pretty swift learner as the film illustrates in several points.

All in all, this is a far more competent and realistic version that omits few points of the original story and should be very interesting for those who like realistic characters and conflict rather than clear-cut black and white situations.
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A very entertaining TV movie with the great Eddie Izzard as Long John Silver. I recommend this. Very good. I say B+.
cosmo_tiger10 May 2012
"I will plan a venture Jim Hawkins and we will both profit wildly. Trust me boy." After Long John Silver (Izzard) is double crossed by his captain Flint (Sutherland) he only has one thing on his mind. Retreiving the treasure he feels is rightly his. When finding out that the only one who can get a ship to the island where the treasure is is a young boy named Jim Hawkins (Regbo) he makes friends with him. I have never seen any of the other versions of this nor read the book. I knew a little of the story but to me this was about 90% new to me. Even though this is a made for TV movie it is much better then most of the theater movies that have been released recently. Izzard is a perfect choice for this and I think is on par with Depp. This movie is very entertaining and I recommend it. This is a pirate movie that can stand side by side with the first "Pirates Of The Carribbean" movie, and may actually be better in some ways. This is a movie well worth your time. Overall, best pirate movie since the original Pirates. I enjoyed it. I say B+.
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