I’m a huge fan of the original Christian Bale version of Treasure Island and so when I saw this version sitting on the shelf in the Blockbuster new release section, my first thought was ‘Huh? They made a new one?’ and my second was ‘I doubt it will be as good’. Fortunately, I like to watch things before making a final judgement call, as it turns out that this version was not only ‘just as good’, it was (dare I say it)… BETTER!
Those who have been around me this last week may well have had to survive my raving about this film. It was honesty one of the best remakes I’ve seen in a long time – with complexity of character and motive and a good sprinkling of Pirates of the Caribbean style sea-faring fun.
The things I particularly loved were:
It felt much more plausible
Without wanting to spoil anything – the whole question of ‘boy finds treasure map’ … ‘squire agrees to give boy a fair share of the treasure???… Really???’ is addressed in a most interesting and satisfying way. This foundational change gives Jim so much more depth as he struggles to survive and decide where his loyalties truly lie.
The doctor is a coward
I love Daniel Mays, and he plays some of the best ‘coward’ characters. In the Christian Bale version of treasure island, I couldn’t really tell the Doctor, the Captain and Squire Trelawny apart. In this version, they have vastly different personalities (and appearances) and the Doctor goes on a real internal journey to get to the point where he finds his courage (lol, yes, very cowardly lion).
There’s authentic diversity
In keeping with that time period, there are Jamaicans, Asians, and Caucasians (from England and America). They even managed to get some women in there by having the occasional flash backs to Jim’s mother and John Silver’s wife in England (who are having difficulties of their own). The England they begin in feels harsher, dirtier and more dangerous, which I just loved.
I couldn’t stop smiling
As I watched, I found myself scared, intrigued, and above all, surprised. Things happened the way I wanted them to, but I wasn’t sure they would, which made it so much fun! Oh, and Tony Regbo (the one I was most critical of, given my affection for Christian Bale’s Jim Hawkins) was just brilliant… and super cute… and had a killer smile (in those rare moments you got to see it).
Watch Treasure Island (2012) – you won’t be disappointed!