Okay. Now the answer that you've all been waiting for: "Is 'Treasure Planet' really any good?"
Well, the word out of Germany - where the Walt Disney Company held a series of test screenings for the film back in early September - seems to be mostly positive.
Kara K. wrote to say:
"My son and I received a mailing that invited us to a test screening of 'Treasure Planet' earlier this month. The screening was held at the **** Cinema on Saturday, September 7th.
The audience that Disney had recruited for this screening was parents accompanied by their children (14 and under).
The movie that we saw, Jim (I'm pretty sure that it was a finished print) overall was excellent. 'Treasure Planet' definitely seems to be a step up from 'Atlantis: The Lost Empire.' The film's action scenes were solid and very entertaining. There were a few scary passages, though. I particularly remember a scene that was set on the darkened ship where Jim Hawkins fights with this evil alien in zero g. That scene - and a few others - seemed pretty intense to me. Which is why I think that 'Treasure Planet' might be a bit too much for youngsters under 5 or 6 to take.
But everyone else at this screening really seemed to get into the movie, Jim. Personally, my favorite thing in 'Treasure Planet' was Glen Keane's pirate. Long John Silver is really a wonder, Jim. Easily the best thing that Glen's ever done. The 2-D & 3-D mixing on that character is absolutely seamless. You just see the character. You barely notice the CG.
Based on the audience's reaction, I would have thought that this picture was a success, Jim. But the Disney people clearly seemed troubled by 'Treasure Planet.' How do I know? After the screening, we were all asked to fill out this very detailed survey that asked questions like "Did you think that the movie was too violent" and "Would you recommend Treasure Planet to parents with small children?'
Parents who had brought smaller children to this screening were personally interviewed by the Disney reps. From what I could hear, the questions - which mostly seemed to be directed at the kids - were along the lines of 'Was this movie too scary for you?' , 'Which character frightened you the most,' etc.
Mind you, right after we finished filling our surveys and being interviewedDisney held another test screening of 'Treasure Planet.' This time just for an audience of adults.
Out in the lobby, when I asked the woman who was collecting all of our surveys what Disney was going to do with this info, she said that they'd probably use it to fine-tune the picture. Her co-worker said that Disney's still very concerned about the film's prologue as well as that zero g fight I mentioned earlier.
All in all, I'd have to say that this was a most enjoyable experience, Jim. To be able see a new Disney film months in advance of everybody else. Particularly one as fun as 'Treasure Planet.' If Disney can just figure out how to how to get the word out about this movie, to make sure that parents know that some of the scenes are a little too intense for smaller children, I'm sure that the Mouse (as you call him) will have a very big hit on his hands.
Over the past two weeks, I've received two additional reports from people who attending this series of "Treasure Planet" test screenings in Germany. (A tip of the cap to Andrea "Mickeyfantasmic" Monti for getting the word out in Europe about JimHillMedia.com). These folks were also basically positive about TP. They expressed some reservations about the film's darker moments. But - all in all - they seem to think that "Treasure Planet" was a highly enjoyable night at the movies.
Oh - before I forget - here's a neat bit of trivia for all you German "Star Trek: Voyager" fans out there, courtesy of Proud Papa:
"The voice of Captain Amelia - at least for the German version of the 'Treasure Planet' - is being dubbed by the same actress who dubbed Kate Mulgrew's voice for the German version of 'Star Trek: Voyager.' So it was kind of funny, at least for me, to hear Captain Janeway's voice coming out of the mouth of that cat-woman-thingy ..."
So there you have it, folks. Word from our friends in Germany that "Treasure Planet" is not half bad. Is there anyone out there who attended a test screening in the U.S. who wants to chime in?