Thursday, October 27, 2011

The second best pirate movie EVER!!!!

I know that for my blog, recommending something as recent as 1990 is a rare and notable event. But, just as was the case  with a Charlie Brown animated special not long ago, I find that the extraordinary quality of this particular movie force me to make an exception.  Besides, though this movie was made in the post-CGI age, it didn't use CGI. That's a real ship in a real ocean.

Anyway, the 1990 version of Treasure Island FINALLY came out on DVD last month. And, gee whiz, this might actually be the second-best pirate movie ever made, coming in behind Captain Blood. but beating out all other challengers. It scores a 9.7 on the Karloff/Bogart Coolness chart.

It stars Charlton Heston as Long John Silver and Christian Bale as Jim Hawkins. Bale was in his mid-teens when this was made--a bit older than most film versions of Jim. But that's one of the strengths of this version. We have a Jim Hawkins who is just the right age to believably make the transformation from boy to man.

Heston is pitch perfect as Long John. Other cast members include Oliver Reed as Billy Bones and Christopher Lee as Blind Pew. The movie seemed to be deliberately casting the few living actors who can be mentioned in the same breath as Bogart and Cagney with a clear conscience. (Well, living in 1990. Heston and Reed are no longer with us.) Heck, if they'd figured out a way to fit Leonard Nimoy and Sean Connery into the film, it would have scored a perfect 10.

But the rest of the cast does a bang up job. Clive Owen, as Captain Smollett, is particularly notable for bringing a real sense of strength and personality to the role.

The script is faithful to the classic novel, expertly directed with some beautiful location photography. Even the sound track by the Chieftains is a perfect fit. It's a movie that really has to go on your must-see list.

Treasure Island staring Moses, Batman, Athos and Dracula. How can you go wrong with that?

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