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Treasure Island (2012) Review

By Edited Nov 15, 2013 0 0

Treasure Island Trailer

Set Sail For The Caribbean Sea

Plot Synopsis

Prepare to set sail from England and head out on a perilous journey for treasure and thrill seeking adventure straight across the Caribbean Sea. Captain Flint the notorious King of the Pirates buried a massive haul of gold, priceless gems and other wondrous treasure on a hidden island in the Caribbean and only a select few know how to find it; Black Beard attempted to kill his crew but only a handful survived.

Billy Bones was one of those few who had escaped and he managed to take some treasure with him including a copy of Flint's map to show where the haul of treasure was. After roaming around Britain for sometime Billy Bones comes to stay at the Benbow and befriends a young boy called Jim who runs the inn with his mother.

When Billy Bones first comes to stay he asks Jim to keep an eye-out for any "sea-faring men" as he is terrified of being caught. Before long some of Billy's ex-crewmates find him but before they could capture him Billy appears to die of fright. Knowing of the map Jim goes up to his room to find the map so that he and his mother can escape before the other pirates find them.

As Jim and his mother escape they head to the Doctor's home who is a trusted family friend where they will be safe for a time. Jim confides in the Doctor that he has found Flint's map and they get a plan together to charter a ship and find the treasure; with all that treasure they would both be set for life.

Doctor Livesey and young Jim Hawkins head to the Bristol docks where they meet with Squire Trelawney who has agreed to fund the expedition in return for his share of the loot. However, while they are in Bristol making arrangements some of Flint's crew overhear those plans and make arrangements themselves to get on board the Hispaniola. These pirates are led by Long John Silver who becomes the ship's cook. Silver figures out that Jim has the map and he works on building a strong relationship with him as they are sailing to the Caribbean because when the time comes Silver wants Jim on the pirate's side to lead them straight to the treasure.

The sailing goes smoothly but you can clearly tell that there is some tension on board and that Captain Smollett is suspecting some of the crew of mutiny before long. Squire Trelawney takes some extra precautions with the map by making a copy but the pirates get wind of this. Silver persuades Jim to go into the Squire's quarters to get the map "just for a quick look" but as the day unfolds the spot and the majority of the pirates head to the treasure.

While hiding in an apple barrel Jim overhead Silver taking about getting the treasure so he was able to warn the Captain, Squire Trelawney and the Doctor. The loyal crewman and officers manage to over power the remaining pirates and get to shore where they take up stockade. Silver approaches the stockade with a flag of truce and tries to bargain for their surrender. Captain Smollett refuses and Silver flies into a rage and a battle begins but ends soon after both sides experience heavy losses.

Meanwhile, Jim has been ashore and found Ben Gunn who was part of Captain Flint's crew but was marooned on the island many years ago. Jim earns the trust of Ben and soon allows Jim to use his hand-made boat to sneak out to the Hispaniola and cut the anchor free. In the morning the ship is near a beach and Jim is able to beach her with the help of the sole surviving pirate. However, the pirate turns on Jim at the last-minute but he is able to escape up the rigging and shoot the pirate down. Jim returns to the island but discovers that the stockade is now taken by the pirates and he gets captured. 

Ben Gunn has been shadowing Jim since he returned and runs off to tell Dr Livesey what has happened. In the meantime Silver has been able to acquire the map and they take Jim off to find the treasure. However, when they get there they find that it has already been looted. Angry at what has happened the pirates turn on Silver and Jim but because Ben Gunn and the others have shadowed them they are able to save the day and kill the pirates.

It turns out that in all his years of being marooned Ben Gunn was able to find the treasure and move it to his cave. (This is where the plot diverts slightly and becomes quite an interesting development for the characters.) The treasure is taken back to the ship along with the captured Silver. Once onboard Squire Trelawney suddenly goes mad with greed and a fight breaks out but he is soon retained. Jim and the Doctor have noticed that the treasure is just going to corrupt them and make their lives hell rather than better so they decide to throw it over board. Squire, seeing them do this, goes into a frenzy and jumps over board only to drown when he gets caught in the netting. 

On the way back to England Jim starts to feel sorry for Silver and his impending trial which will no doubt lead to a hanging. With the relationship that they've built up over the journey Jim decides to set Silver free and he sends him off in a long-boat. Silver was able to steal some of the treasure while it was being thrown over board and decides to pay Jim back so that he can pay off his father's debt and can live in comfort - it's a small price to pay for your freedom.

Location of Captain Flint's Treasure

The treasure is buried on a small island in the Caribbean Sea.

Character Reviews

My Opinion

In my short time on this planet I have seen a few renditions of Treasure Island but I have to say that this is probably my favorite version so far. Just looking at the character list I was expecting some comedy since it features Eddie Izzard but I was pleasantly surprised by the seriousness of his character playing. All of the actors did a great job of portraying their characters and I have seen some interesting concepts on certain characters that have often had the same run of the mill processing to them.

Jim Hawkins

Treasure Island is definitely a coming of age story and this version of Jim does it very well. We see right at the beginning that Jim has had to step into his father's boots earlier than he expected and when this opportunity to make a lot of money comes his way he simply cannot resist it.

Throughout the film we see Jim making lots of difficult decisions on his own which really help to define his character. At the start he is just a boy - almost a blank slate so to speak - but at each decision he etched out his own personality and moral standings. Often you'll see him weighing out the pros and cons of which moral stance to take - pirates versus the captain - when all he wants to do is to do right by his mother.

The stockade battle is a major scene in this movie where a lot of characters make their revelations and this is certainly true for Jim. He has to decide which side he is going to take and then fight against the other side. You can see it very plainly though that Jim has developed a suedo-fatherly relationship with Silver and he is torn when put in a position to choose. Either way he makes the right decision bases on his experiences and that's what makes him a man: he sticks by his decisions and moral values.

Long John Silver

Silver has always been an interesting character for me as he has a lot of moral ambiguities that never full develop on one side or the other. You'll see throughout the movie that Silver wants to look out for Jim and protect him from the pirates but on the other hand you can see him lusting after the treasure and he is still a pirate at heart.

There are no major differences this time round but it's the subtleties that make this version interesting. It's the facial expressions and the way that Izzard really lets Silver's emotions through when he's in a tough position that make this character special for me.

Doctor Livesey

Doctor Livesey has always been a fairly neutral character for me but this time he had a lot going on for me. The doctor has already had military medical training but has developed a bit of a bad reputation because of his cowardly actions in an earlier situation. It is never discussed fully but among the officers he is considered a nobody because of his actions.

As the story develops though, especially in the stockade battle you see Doctor Livesey fight off his cowardly nature and come to the rescue of Jim and the Captain. Once the doctor has overcome these hurdles he becomes a fighting machine and is just as brave as the rest of the crew.

I really enjoyed this character development and it was really interesting to have some background information on the doctor as I have never experienced that before. Like I said before he had always been a neutral character and in the background for me. Now I have come to know the doctor a bit better I can fully appreciate his interactions with the other characters on a deeper level.

Squire Trelawney

I have to say that Squire Trelawney was becoming just another run of the mill character for me until about half way through the movie. All of a sudden I realized that Trelawney is actually very selfish and commands respect when it hasn't been earned. These characteristics start to come out slowly but then suddenly right at the end it all comes to a head and he unleashes a frenzy of emotions when the treasure is chucked over board. I have never seen a rendition like this before and was actually shocked as it was happening. Needless to say I really enjoyed Trelawney's character development as it went off in a way that I totally didn't expect.

Conclusion

I have to say once again that I really enjoyed the 2012 rendition of Treasure Island but I mostly enjoyed it for the unexpected character developments that I haven't seen before. Regardless of those character developments if you love pirates, treasure hunting, good old fashion fights and adventure then you're definitely going to love and version of Treasure Island.

If you haven't read the book yet then I would highly recommend doing so before watching any of the movies. That way you get to know the characters and their stories before hand which makes it easier to get into the story and appreciate the subtle differences in interpretation all the more.

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