Movies - TV
The History Of Treasure Planet, Disney Animation's Biggest Ever Flop
You may not have heard of Disney’s “Treasure Planet," and the studio has all but refused to acknowledge the film's existence. However, with beautifully rendered animation and a sci-fi adventure plot based on the novel “Treasure Island," the movie deserves a second chance and an understanding of why it failed in the first place.
Disney Without Walt
After the death of Walt Disney, Disney Animation was in a terrible place, with multiple flops and fierce competition. It wasn’t until the release of “The Great Mouse Detective,” led by animators John Musker and Ron Clements, that the studio began recovering. Musker and Clements' later film, “The Little Mermaid,” helped cement the Disney renaissance.
Treasure Island in Space
After the massive success of “The Little Mermaid,” Musker and Clements tried to pitch their idea for Treasure Island in space, only to have it shot down. Instead, they were sent to work on “Aladdin,” another huge hit, and then “Hercules,” which was a modest success. Then finally they signed a contract that stipulated they could finally make “Treasure Planet.”
Making Treasure Planet
Although “Treasure Planet” is a fairly traditional adaption of Stevenson’s novel, the animation behind the film was anything but. Production lasted roughly four and a half years and relied on 350 crew members and a mix of 2D and 3D animation to create “a space world that was warm and had more life to it than you would normally think,” in Clements’ words.
A Hybrid Film
“Treasure Planet” was a “true hybrid film” as Clements said, with both computer-generated and hand-drawn animation. The film’s unique visuals can be credited to Deep Canvas, which added depth to the backgrounds and enabled the animators to maneuver their camera as they would in a live-action film, bringing a fluidity of camera movement to the film.