Disney movies tend to be fairly simple. There’s always the clear cut good guy, and always the clear cut bad guy. Maleficent, Jafar, Scar, Lady Tremaine, they all had very clear intentions and all were clearly evil.
This is why I was so impressed by Treasure Planet. The reimagining of Treasure Island featured all of the characters that we knew from the classic novel, including the villainous pirate, Long John Silver.
In most Disney movies and in the usual Disney formula, Long John Silver could have been a prototypical bad guy. He could have been shown to be pure evil, manipulative, and made to truly be hated by the audience. And yet, Disney actually took a different path with him.
Personally, I liked Long John Silver. He was a fun character to watch and within the story, had a lot of redeeming qualities. I thought this was interesting coming from Disney, as it was the first time that they gave us a villain that wasn’t truly evil.
On the contrary, you could argue that Long John Silver isn’t evil at all, just opportunistic. Just watch the scenes of him with Jim in the clips below. Not exactly actions you expect from the villain. We’re actually given true emotions from the villain, and actual dilemmas over what they should do and what they want to do. Instead of just blindly being evil, like some of the great villains in the past, Silver was actually incredibly complex.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love a good old fashioned maniacal bad guy, but that being said, it was a welcome breath of fresh air to finally have a bad guy who made me think and who made me have to judge what I thought of him by the end of the movie.
It’s one of Disney’s lesser known movies, but take a look at Treasure Planet and at the end of it, you tell me, if Long John Silver truly evil, or was he just a good guy with some bad intentions every once in a while?