February 9, 2011

Justify My Netflix: Treasure Island (1950)

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Treasure Island (1950)

Today's movie: Treasure Island, 1950 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because after actually reading Treasure Island a few years ago and being surprisingly blown away by it, I thought it'd be fun to go through and also watch every major film version that's been made of it too; and this is undoubtedly the most famous of them all, released by Disney in 1950 and kicking off an entire decade of revered live-action historical thrillers. (Or actually, I technically started with the 1934 version starring Jackie Cooper; but it turned out to be barely worth watching, much less writing up here.)

The reality: Eh, not bad! Now, of course, it's important as well to acknowledge that this film is now officially 60 years old, and very much shows its age; for example, while it's clear to see why original audiences went crazy for it, since it contains a kind of naturalism and attention to period detail simply missing from most movies made in those years, that's still just a pittance compared to today's massive budgets and entire teams of dramaturges. But still, it's entertaining enough, helped immensely by a storyline that's truly timeless, and I don't see any reason why this wouldn't give a typical eight-year-old boy even today at least a slightly pleasant viewing experience, even if that's a "doing something with the grandparents" kind of pleasure. An interesting diversion on a Sunday afternoon, but you certainly have to be in the right (i.e. "retro") frame of mind to truly enjoy it.

Strangest piece of trivia: This was Disney's first live-action film, and also one of their first to be shown on television. It came about because of a new law in Britain after World War Two, that stopped Disney from transferring his profits there back to the US; he decided to use the money instead to establish a new live-action production company there, which is why so many of Disney's non-animated films from the '50s and '60s have British settings, and why "The Wonderful World of Disney" was as big a hit on the BBC in those years as it was in America.

Worth your time? Yes, although it helps if you're bored

Filed by Jason Pettus at 9:48 AM, February 9, 2011. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |