27 November 2007 | TAEMO
An almost perfect mess! (major spoilers, perhaps)
The central revelation of the original novel was that almost all of the crew turned out to be pirates, namely the old crew of Captain Flint. In this made for TV two-parter, all the pirates, including Long John Silver, are evil, brutal and suspicious from the beginning and we never really doubt that this crew will ultimately mutiny. When we are told about their plan in the movie, it is not really a surprise.Now I have two questions.
My first questions is: Why bother using Robert Louis Stevenson's Novel Treasure Island as a blueprint, but at the same time dissociating from his ideas? (changing names of characters and ships, adding a female character and related plot points) My answer would be: Perhaps the producers tried to cash in on the success of "Pirates of the Caribbean" and simply used the name and characters of the novel to attract the few people who know the extremely good ZDF four-parter from 1966 or the source material. The rest of the audience would simply jump in because it re-developed a taste for pirate movies recently.
And this brings me to my second question. Why did writer/director Hansjörg Thurn show the pirates behaving like pirates from the beginning, instead of giving us a thrilling revelation scene as originally intended? People who are familiar with the plot watch the movie because they like the story and want to see how the revelation scene is handled. Like everybody is looking forward to seeing Baquo's ghost in MacBeth. People who do not know the plot are not attracted by the title at all, they simply watch it, because they want to see a good adventure movie. For them, the revelation of the pirates would have been mind blowing. And if handled well, it can also be exciting for people who know the plot. I knew the ending of "The Sixth Sense" and it still send shivers down my spine. And that is, what this movie should have done, but failed to do. The blame rests solely on the directors shoulders. Maybe he was not up to the task, although I know some of his work as a writer, especially the Schimanski movies and they are pretty good. His directorial skills are mediocre at best. Now before I discuss the remaining points, I must admit, I have only seen the first part so far, but I doubt that I am going to see the rest. Now let us focus on the characters. Almost all of them are portrayed incorrectly or differently from the novel. Jim Hawkins never hated his life and his mother loved him, not treated him so bad. Dr. Livesey was portrayed stiff, not very likable and he had intentions towards Jim's mother, which was never the case in the novel. The actor of Dr. Livesey Aleksandar Jovanovic, both he and Tramitz (Trelawney) play their parts as if they were in one of Bully Herbig's comedies. Tramitz at least looks like he wants to do it funny, where as Jovanovic is so bad, I always expected his scenes to end with static and find myself in an episode of Switch Reloaded. Of all the actors I like Morreti most, although I think his casting as John Silver is wrong. He would have been perfect for the part of Trelawny. But ever since he played Hitler,he gets cast in roles he simply does not fit in. But he does his best,both with his voice and his movements, in creating an , at least, semi-believable character, who is, I am sorry to say, not the John Silver we know. But that is the director's fault. The novel had no major female characters and that was on purpose. It is obvious why they invented a female character for this movie, one, that resembled Keira Knightley's from "Pirates of the Caribbean", both in behavior and in appearance. And for a second there, I really thought it was her, although I knew she could not be it. Diane Siemons-Willems did a good job. Though she had the advantage of doing an original character that does not have to hold up against comparison. In the end I wanted to say that this movie could have been great. The budget of 10 million dollars is definitely on the screen, it even looks a lot more expensive. The cinematography is very good, I liked the sets and how they are lit. The Special Effects are also good, especially during the storm-sequence which was simply added to show off and to add some action the audience expects from a pirate movie nowadays. All in all, the producers should just have created a stand alone movie with an original story. This, in addition to the almost A list cast, could have become a terrific made for TV movie.