Recently I got a copy of the new (ish) Treasure Island (2012) Starring Eddie Izzard - after watching it a couple of times (OK - Four Times if you must know) here are some thoughts on it.
Without spoiling things for those who have yet to see it, the Story deviates a little in places (a commonality in all adaptations of Treasure Island) - I'm not going to go into detail about these "deviations" for obvious reasons. But I do have to say in this case these deviations from the original Tale aren't really major for the most part, and even then they add to the story and give a nice air of freshness to the whole things - something that's been missing from a couple of Treasure Island adaptations in the past (notably the 1972 version Starring Orson Welles which just comes over as sad and stale).
The screenplay was capably written by Stewart Harcourt, and it was produced by Laurie Borg. Steve Barron (who keeps it pacey without sacrificing character) was Director - the mix of the talents of these three obviously built a strong foundation upon the Actors stood, as the entire cast came over as comfortable and confident throughout.
Eddie Izzard as Long John Silver - stands out head and shoulders above the rest of the cast. He has become a strong and very talented actor over the years, and is perfectly cast as the likeable scoundrel Silver.
The only real hiccup in the casting is Philip Glenister as Captain Smollett. I loved him in Life on Mars, but he never really "settles" in as the character. It could be for many reasons, it might even be thats what he's trying to convey in his portrayal - as Smollett is not the sort to bond and mix easily with people. However much I enjoyed his performance as Gene Hunt - in Treasure Island he comes over as distanced and uncomfortable - he's "tolerable" in the part as fortunately Smollet is not the most important of characters to the story.
Rupert Penry-Jones is totally different to any other Squire Trelawney we've seen in other versions. To all outward appearances he is the same sort of character as portrayed before, a little less jolly perhaps - but there's enough twists and turns in his character alone (let alone in the rest of the script) to keep you interested and entertained - in fact he has the most dramatic "end" I've seen in any Movies/TV Series of this type. It was a shock to be frank.
Overall I will have to give this production 4/5!
I won't give it 5/5 for two reasons. One is Philip Glenister as Captain Smollett - every time he speaks its like hearing a scratch on a record - really REALLY off-putting. The other reason is the Theme Music - its not period, its some electronic pap - I'm sorry that just doesn't fit - OK hiring "One Man and His Organ" might have been for budgetary reasons. But a sweeping and dynamic story such as this should have a sweeping and dynamic theme music.
I heartily recommend it to anyone, Pirate Fan or Not!