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4.2 out of 5 stars68
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 3 January 2012
After seeing this, I have mixed feelings about it. The effects and atmosphere is great and visually and audibly, pretty close to how I imagined it. The problem is, it is different from the book, and I don't find the changes an improvement. Ultimately, the question must be why? There was more than enough drama and excitement in the book to easily fill the duration but the changes they made don't add to it, but even worse, alter the dynamics.

Now, Silver doesn't have the same charisma, Hawkins doesn't have the same fortune, and Trelawney is more nasty rather than a fool. It isn't the fault of the actors, I think they do a great job (Izzard, Penry-Jones, and Mays in particular), but some of the plot changes either just don't add anything positive (overall) to the story, or actually detract from it.

Still, it is worth watching, but if they went to so much effort to produce it, why not just stick to the story?
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on 19 January 2012
It was something of a shock for me to see this adaptation. I have read the book several times as man and boy. Some of the changes were quite extreme, not just the story but the characters themselves. The book was of course originally written for young readers so it appeared that the producer an/or the screenwriter were retelling it as an adult tale. The production was generally very good with acting and photography of a high standard. For the record my preferred version is the 1989 production starring Charlton Heston as Long John Silver. It was very close to the book and Heston played Silver straight without the comic send-up characterisation of Robert Newton in the 1950 Disney version. If you choose to watch this production be prepared for considerable changes from the book and most other film versions.
STOP PRESS (Nov 2014): The Heston version is now available for Region 2 as a Spanish edition. The original English sound track is intact with subtitles in English and Spanish. Excellent DVD quality which is far superior to the original VHS version.
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on 30 July 2012
I was brought up on Treasure Island (or village pub was renamed the Admiral Benbow and we even had a real Jim Hawkins - wow!I still have and read my first copy bought some 60 years ago. I bought this series because I have all the other versions and sadly, I wish I hadn't. The original was a "boy's own" dream of an adventure with all the right characters in a mix of gangsterism and threats of mayhem. This one is just ridiculous. Why all those weird tattoos and part of the crew seeming to be composed of Jamaican gangsta rappers, some with deplorable mockney accents. As for the portrayal of Ben Gunn, I was about to stop it but curiosity got the better of me and the performance became a parody of the original. As a stand alone it was cinematically excellent, the scenery and photography were first class and that alone got it the three stars. But why fiddle so much with the original story? There was enough there to satisfy anybody of any age.
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on 5 January 2013
Just watched this over Christmas, having read the book years ago and watched several versions including the classic 1950's Disney version.
All in all a very good series. Some superb acting and camera work. Scenes were wonderfully done and costumes were every bit as over the top as they should be. The ending was a let down, it looks hurried and cut off. The character of Ben Gunn was miscast totally, yet that of Israel Hands was played out to its chilling best.
Some huge changes to the original story and Eddie Izzard is fantastic throughout. Be entertained, this is worth a place on anyone's shelf.
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on 15 April 2014
Utter Tosh. Wildly different from original story in every way. If you like them book you will hate this. If you want a pirate film then Pirates of The Caribbean is much much better.
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on 30 September 2012
I suppose I could be curmudgeonly and slam this production as not being true to the book but I think that to do this would be an injustice. Treasure Island's theme has been adapted several times for the screen ranging from the fairly true 1950s film to muppet fantasy. It has also inspired some pretty good stabs at literary sequels: Bjorn Larsson's Long John Silver and the recent: Silver: Return to Treasure Island by Sir Andrew Motion. To be fair I think this is justified as cracking though the original novel is, it is known that Stevenson wrote it in a hurry and there is plenty of space for fleshing out and this is what this film does in its near three hour length.

Let me get the negative out of the way first. I too agree with the reviewer above who criticises this film for the portrayal of Dr Livesy and Squre Trelawny. Both were brave and honourable men in the book with Silver being a genuinely menacing figure beneath the surface bonhomie. However Eddie Izzard's Silver (played with a mockney accent instead of a the usual west country burr that jars but not too much) lacks genuine menace and so the script writer had to look elsewhere for a villain. He does this by turning Trewlawny into a trecherous, double dealing and ruthless cad who is in no way a replication of the character in the book. Livesy is portrayed as a naive and cowardly young swot with no stomach for battle. As someone who grew up loving these characters in the novel I found this a bit hard to stomach.

Luckily positives are plentiful. Firstly the whole series is beautifully shot both for the UK scenes and the Island scenes (filmed in Puerto Rico). There are some nice additions to the text as well with Silver being made more human by having a pretty young mulatto wife back in Bristol who he rescued from prostitution. She forms a strong part of the story seeking refuge from a vengeful Billy Bones at the Hawkins inn before Jim's mother is ruthlessly evicted from the inn on account of being in arrears with the mortgage. Another good detail is the crew of the ship being composed of several ethnic minorities. This is far from being politically correct but rather an accurate portrayal of crews, particularly buccaneer crews of the time who were made up of members of the new as well as old worlds. The pace moves along nicely and there is is some great performances from Toby Regbo as Jim, Philip Glenister as Captain Smollett and surprisingly, Elijah Wood as the maroon Benn Gunn as well as a superb cameo by Donald Sutherland and the whole thing as a great atmosphere in the way the somewhat far fetched Pirates of the Caribbean films don't.

In all then this is a well produced and enjoyable film but it is very much an adaptation of the book rather than a faithful rendering. Provided that you treat it as such you will enjoy it I am sure.
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The much loved, well constructed RLS novel is here given another screen airing, viewers perhaps divided about how well it succeeds. Some may feel those responsible had more money and time than they knew what to do with. Why else have Donald Sutherland briefly on screen for irrelevant flashbacks? Why else have the subplot involving Jim's mother which adds nothing of value?

In this version Dr. Livesey is a coward, Squire Trelawney a nasty piece of work. Surprisingly one departure from tradition works well - Elijah Wood as a young Yankee Ben Gunn, his eyes as arresting as when a hobbit.

I preferred the more conventional aspects. Toby Regbo shines as Jim Hawkins, this his rite of passage. Eddie Izzard makes impact as Long John Silver (but was it necessary to show how he lost his leg?). Philip Glenister proves a totally convincing Captain Smollett. Enjoyments also include David Harewood as Billy Bones, a splendidly colourful performance. A sequence that soars? How about the sea shanty as the Hispaniola set sail - absolutely great.

Working well also is the final message, young Jim to give it. Many set out. Few will return. Were all those ill-gotten gains truly worth the effort? Is there not a need to reconsider what in life really matters most?

Overall? There is much to enjoy, but there would have been more with greater focus and fewer liberties taken.
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on 5 September 2015
Complete, lousy travesty, miles away from the book and rewritten with a shoddy post-modern POV. All the characters are improbably distorted with the deliberate intention of making the upper-class heroes traitors and cowards, and glorifying the pirates -- though they're just as vicious and violent. The action direction is slam-bang but unrealistic, especially in ship handling, and the acting is rubbish. Izzard overplays Silver so obviously that nobody sane would have trusted him for a moment, wrecking the sense of the story. The Charlton Heston film, if you can find it, is just about the best and most faithful, though it does make some US mistakes and adds touches from Hornblower and Patrick O'Brian novels, and it has a fantastic cast -- Oliver Reed and Christopher Lee only a couple -- and a great score by The Dubliners.
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on 1 November 2014
A bit darker story with the not so nice Squire Trelawney in this version a greedy uncaring landowner and not the benevolent benefactor of the original story by Robert Louis Stevenson. Brilliant acting by Eddie Izzard as Long John Silver, must have taken a lot of practice hopping around on one leg. The crew of the ship were well cast too, right knavish looking lot but Ben Gunn could have been a bit crazier. Brilliant none the less. Hope a sequel with Eddie Izzard is done, he made the film for me.
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on 20 July 2014
This is a brilliant production of classic book with an amazing and utterly convincing cast.

I sat through the first part (again) with my aged Mother and she insisted on watching part two immediately, 'on the bounce', even though it was well after midnight by that time!

It's a rollicking good tale of pirates, shipwrecks, buried treasure, friendship and betrayal. It beautifully made and the acting is brilliant. Eddie Izzard is truly remarkable as Long John Silver.
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