Treasure Island (PREVIEW)

I’ve seen many a version of Treasure Island from The Muppet Treasure Island to Treasure Planet to the old Disney version starring Bobby Driscoll. Some of them make an attempt to add new life to the old tale and some of them just go for the straight ahead approach. The straight on approach is pretty much the way it is for SyFy’s Treasure Island starring Eddie Izzard and Elijah Wood (kind of) and the result is pretty fantastic.

Toby Regbo (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) plays young Jim Hawkins who lives with his mother (Shirley Henderson; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and soon becomes the head of the house when his father passes. Eventually in comes Billy Bones (David Harewood;  Homeland) and disrupts their mourning but also brings Jim a great adventure on the high sea’s, inadvertently of course.

Enter Long John Silver (Eddie Izzard; United States of Tara), aboard the ship as a cook but carefully plotting a mutiny so that he and his men, also stashed aboard, can get their just rewards. In the meantime a relationship grows between Jim and Silver that almost reaches paternal levels. Well, you know the story.

This rendition of Treasure Island is a traditional telling but also one that is given a breath of fresh air by new camera techniques and a cast of actors that bring the story to life in a way that draws you in. Izzard truly does pull off the persona of Long John Silver, taking you to murderous outrages to touching moments that make you truly believe he does care for young Jim Hawkins. Unlike the previous incarnations which made use of a humorous but villainous angle on the character, Izzard’s Silver is all wicked. It makes it even more intriguing with Philip Glenister as Captain Smollet. I've been a big fan of Glenister since he starred opposite John Simm in Life On Mars as the brutish Gene Hunt. This is one of the reasons the film goes over so well. Like all things in this day and age Treasure Island is darker and grittier. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Fortunately for this version it’s a win.

Over three hours long, more for those of you watching with commercial interruption, Treasure Island can seem a bit long, but it pays off in the end with an action packed showdown and a weird Elijah Wood wanting some dairy. So, no matter how many times you’ve seen Treasure Island, might I suggest seeing it just one more time. Enjoy.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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