There’s something to be said for games that can be played in only a few minutes. Loot is one of the easiest to learn, and easiest to play, pirate games I’ve come across in a long time. It’s played entirely with cards, primarily representing merchant and pirate ships of varying wealth and strength, respectively. Merchant ships are put into play, and players take turns pitting pirate ships against them, with the strongest attacker adding the merchant to his booty pile. When the cards run out, the booty is tallied, and winner determined. And that’s it!
While not as involved as many pirate board and card games, Booty benefits from a rapid gameplay that takes on a uniquely fun rhythm – almost like a good game of checkers or jacks. Intended for agest ten and up, the artwork is of course silly, fun, and piratey – and the card material of a high quality. And best of all, it can be played in only a few minutes time, so even pirates with short attention spans can take part.
A surprisingly fun (and even touching) version of Treasure Island that, if not loyal in the strictest sense, manages to stay true to the original spirit of the book. The imagery is very good. At times it’s amazing. John Hawkins, the Doctor, and the Captain are all nicely portrayed. And Long John, you ask? You may hate me for saying this, but in its own weird way I think this is the best version of Long John Silver I’ve ever seen. He’s both endearing yet sinister, believable as a pirate and yet he still manages to show paternal affection for Hawkins. Making him into a cyborg was a very clever, and highly appropriate, touch. Sadly, any genius that went into creating Long John was offset by the dopey lameness of the Ben Gunn android, but such is life.
I must confess that I never saw this movie as a kid. Or if I did, I don’t remember it. As such I’ve no sense of nostalgia or childhood fondness attached to it. If you do, that’s fine – we love what we love, and we don’t need to justify it. But having seen it for the first time as an adult, I just don’t think it was all that great. Jim Hawkins was much too young to believably outsmart everyone, and his pudgy baby-face only made it all the more silly to watch. Long John was a giant, one-legged grease ball, more goofy than anything else. And the pirates, with their peculiar jaunt and super curly hairstyles, were just plain silly. I suppose the story was more-or-less loyal to the book, but it all had that dated and muted feel that is so common amongst older Disney movies.
In a word, “eh.”