Ok, So I’ve actually watched this about a million times. I’ve been in love with this movie since I first saw it as a kid. Usually, my taste runs more towards hard sci-fi and fantasy. I find that once something like magic (or tech that might as well be) is added, it opens up a ton of plot holes. Harry Potter is a great example, please don't kill me.
If a story is set up correctly, though, and I’m given the right expectations and an amazing story with powerful themes, I have no problem with a good space opera or steampunk. In fact, two of my favorite stories fall under the “soft Sci-Fi” category. And then there is me: I’m writing about aliens. I might not be writing soft sci-fi but it’s not hard sci-fi by a long stretch of the imagination.
So what is it about Treasure Planet that so enraptures me? It could be the character development, the found family theme (yes, I’m a sucker) the self-sacrifice. Maybe it’s the gorgeous art, the inventive premise (those space ships, though!) or the intelligent but hilarious dialogue. Maybe it’s just because it’s a fun movie with some great action.
I think what makes the real difference is that the leads: Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins, are both deep characters with simple struggles that are easy to connect with. Jim, with his damage from his father leaving, wants nothing more than to not be a failure. Jim and I share a "worst fear" and watching him overcome that fear is like facing my own demons.
Long John shows us what happens when that fear drives you too far: losing friendship, family and even parts of his own body, to gain that long lost treasure. In the end we see him overcome that obsession, even to the point that he gives away the last few handfuls to make up for his mistakes.
Our goals and fears shape our lives in so many ways. They are so important to us that if they are lacking in a story, we cannot connect. The goal and fatal flaw make a character worth our time. How valuable is it to be able to understand those things in ourselves. If we can understand our worst fears and our greatest dreams and find people who can share those with us and balance out our weakness, don’t we have a chance at living out a great story?
Speaking of great stories, this last week I got the chance to join author Bryan Aiello on his podcast Origins: Stories of Creativity. I had a great time and loved the experience. If you want to check it out and hear us talk about art, writing and how much we hate Florida, among other things, be sure to check out the youtube video that went up today. Also, check out Bryan’s website and his writing at his website