Last night Sky One’s two-part swashbuckling sea voyage Treasure Island concluded. The show picked up immediately where it had left off the previous night and continued in the same fashion – good performances from a great cast, but lacking in action and anything of interest.
The story picks up with Doctor Livesey (Daniel Mays), Squire Trelawney (Rupert Penry-Jones) and Captain Smollett (Philip Glenister) all stranded on the island without the map. Long John Silver (Eddie Izzard) struggles to keep his rum soaked band of misfits under control on the ship as it sits in the waters just off the island firing it’s canons at the beach. As Jim (Toby Regbo) tries to regroup with the others on the beach they assume his alliance with Silver and tie him up. When Silver arrives to ask for the map it becomes clear that neither party have it. Jim does, and he gives it to Captain Smollett rather than leave with Silver.
As Silver and his men try to take the map by force Jim changes sides at a break neck pace and Elijah Wood’s character Ben Gunn runs around the jungle covered in body paint and waffling on as he searches for cheese! The map changes hands. Everyone tries to strike deals with each other as they each double cross those they had only just made a deal with. Treachery, greed, piracy etc.
Eventually Long John and his men take the map and Jim as they trek across the island looking for the treasure, but all they find is an empty hole and Long John’s men lay the blame firmly on the one legged pirate. However, before they can kill him Dr Livesey and Gunn save the day and it transpires that Gunn has had the treasure all along. As the survivors; Jim, Long John, Dr Livesey, Trelawney and Smollett bicker over what fate awaits the treasure Donald Sutherland pops up for a few seconds of screen time over 2 hours after we saw him last. The show then dribbles along to a conclusion.
I think the problem with Sky One’s Treasure Island is that it hasn’t been afforded the creative freedom that it could’ve been. The script feels very much like basic television and is shot in a basic television manner, apart from some blurry scenes and the odd Dutch angle thrown in. With a bit more script development and a greater vision in mind it could easily have been a more bombastic and elaborate visual feast. Taking a cinematic approach to the show could’ve seen it rise above a basic TV show and into the realms of must watch television.
The other issue is that it boasts such a great cast hardly any of them are utilised. There are so many good actors in such small and meagre roles that they hardly get any lines, screen time or the opportunity to shine. It may have been a better option to cut some of the talent involved in those smaller roles and to have spent that money on making the show more elaborate in it’s story, style and vision. The story could’ve been embellished, developed and enriched and then told in a much more interesting/unique/entertaining way. Despite my non-existent knowledge of Treasure Island I could easily guess what was going to happen at each twist and turn.
For me Treasure Island was a bitter disappointment as it failed to excite, entertain or bring to our screens a great story that needed to be told in a way that was new or interesting.
You can read my review of Part 1 HERE.