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Treasure Island Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 7+

Avast! Disney's live-action, seagoing landmark.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is much PG-worthy violence in this Disney outing, including fatal shootings and stabbings, and some of the pirates, when threatening the life of young Jim Hawkins, might seem truly nightmarish to very little viewers. Jim himself has to kill one. Later theatrical and TV re-releases of Treasure Island excised the worst of it to get a "G," but the video version restores it. You'll see much drinking as well, but it's not glorified.

  • Families can talk about Long John Silver, especially compared to other classic Disney villains; he's a murderous cutthroat, and yet almost a surrogate father to Jim, even as he uses the boy as hostage and bait. Is a villain more effective if he's somehow likeable? You could compare the movie with the book Treasure Island and ask if the filmmakers captured the spirit of Robert Louis Stevenson's plot and characters (especially Long John) or made them "Disney-fied."

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Young Jim Hawkins is a paragon of justice and virtue. Most of the pirates are greedy, treacherous rascals. Long John Silver stands in both camps (depending on whose side is winning), and while he's an untrustworthy scalawag and a killer, his almost-fatherly affection for Jim makes him a fascinating antihero. Female characters are totally invisible -- Jim's mother, briefly present in the book, isn't even here.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: Shootings, one in painful closeup right into a pirate's face. Stabbings, including the boy hero getting a knife thrown into his arm.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: OK, even though a parrot is cautioned about the bad language he allegedly repeats.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Drinking among the seamen, one so drunk he washes overboard (his inebriation encouraged by Long John Silver as a deliberate act of murder). Ex-pirate Billy Bones quite likely dies of alcoholism. At least it's not glorified.