Based on Enyd Blyton's "Five fall into adventure ",the script has almost nothing from the book : it was the first time the Five had met Jo ,and it's the only element taken from the original story ;however ,the screenwriters turned ragamuffin gypsy Jo into Thai girl ,eager to save her village ,threatened by a greedy tycoon (the real treasure ,so to speak,is not the pirates ' treasure the five (six!) are searching)who wants to raise it to the ground to satisfy his dirty deeds.
The ecological concern ,which was present in the first installment (in which George's dad had a collaborator too),comes back to the fore ;Germans have always been concerned by the environment ,more than many other people in Europa.It shows.
Our four heroes have grown up and it shows too (only Timmy is still the same good dog);they look more like adolescents than children now ,a problem Blyton had not when she wrote her novels (still in the best-sellers top 10 in the Naughties in UK).
The movie was lambasted by many critics ,particularly in France and they were wrong;this one is ,IMHO,much better than volume 2 which was too tongue in chick (and even vulgar) to satisfy those who read Blyton in their prime .
The shady couple serves as a comic relief ,only the man actually,for his wife is a true villain,deadlier than the male .Admittedly ,the trick of the compass is far-fetched ,but not more than the melody that led to the green eye in the precedent episode .
For the first time ,it features really dramatic elements: stung by a venomous insect, Julian is going to die :only a plant (red berries) could save him .Rin Tin Tin's (sorry Timmy's ) role has been fleshed out and only his courage saves the sick boy and the village .
A little listless in its first part ,the film hits its stride halfway through and then it becomes an action-packed story.Too often ,Jo steals the show from the Five but Timmy ,maybe much to George's displeasure ,but it does not spoil the audience's pleasure.