TV miniseries review: Treasure Island (Sky/Syfy, 2012), directed by Steve Barron
This classic pirate tale, once penned by Robert Louis Stevenson, begins with young Jim Hawkins (Toby Regbo) and his mum (Shirley Henderson) stumbling across a tale of a pirate treasure, belonging to the notorious Captain Flint (Donald Sutherland).
Being in dire need of cash after the death of his father, Jim takes his tale to Dr Livesey (Daniel Mays), and once they’ve secured funds for the expedition by the greedy Squire Trelawney (Rupert Penry-Jones), they set sail for the Caribbean.
Little do they know parts of the crew, such as the cook Long John Silver (Eddie Izzard), are actually former associates of Flint, who are more than a little interested in getting their mitts on the treasure … and they’re not the only ones …
Also stARRRRing Philip Glenister as Captain Smollett, Elijah Wood as Ben Gunn, Nina Sosanya as Alibe Silver, and we also see former Robin Hoodies David Harewood and Keith Allen in minor roles.
You like pirates, savvy? Treasure Island is the ultimate pirate tale, a classic for young and old, and while I hardly remember anything from reading the book – because I was probably 12 at the time – I wonder how faithful this story is. Not that it really matters, I had a lot of fun watching this.
Elijah Wood’s potty Ben Gunn is both brilliant and hilarious, Izzard’s Long John Silver is … both charming, kind and devious all in one go. Whose side is he really on? Penry-Jones’s toff is as conniving as the good doctor is naive.
Filmed in a fairly bleak colour scheme, I think this adaptation of Treasure Island is a good way of bringing in new people to the story. It got me wanting to re-read the novel and I hope it inspires others to do the same.
4 out of 5 cutlasses.