Young Jim Hawkins is the only one who can successfully get a schooner to a legendary island known for its buried treasure. But aboard the ship is a mysterious cook named John Silver (Emmy winner Eddie Izzard, “The Riches”), whose true motivation on the journey challenges Jim’s trust in the entire crew. This is an exciting and atmospheric new take on the definitive pirate action adventure full of reckless buccaneers, buried fortunes and a friendship forged in peril on the high seas.
This movie version of “Treasure Island” sticks pretty close to the book, but it is unfortunate that the violence and strong language mar it as a family-friendly film. Toby Regbo does an outstanding job as Jim Hawkins, a young man who just lost his father. He heads to sea to seek adventure and make a living to help his widowed mother. He crosses paths with John Silver (Eddie Izzard), the former cook on a ship that now is a gold- and treasure-seeking pirate vessel. Yet Silver has a heart for Jim and is good to the boy. The quest for the treasure map–and the stress of holding on to it–is essentially what the story is about. We get a solid portrait of a conflicted individual in John Silver, a man with a big heart as well as a big desire for riches.
During the journey, swashbuckling, sword fighting, pirate songs, greed and betrayal are the norms. The movie features Donald Sutherland as captain and Elijah Wood as a shipman who winds up on Treasure Island with two goals: to get a Bible and cheese, because cheese is a little bit of “Heaven” on Earth. The movie does a good job showing clearly what greed can do to people. Despite good performances and a good ending, the aforementioned violence and language prevents us from awarding “Treasure Island” our Dove Family-Approved Seal.