Peter Pan Blu-ray Review
In 1953, Disney released another classic in animation with PETER PAN. The magical tale is based on a 1924 play by the same name written by J.M. Barrie and where I believe most of the credit belongs. Barrie’s inspiration for the story is portrayed in 2004’s wonderful FINDING NEVERLAND, starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, which I highly recommend for the adults. Wildly imaginative, PETER PAN adapts perfectly for the Disney treatment. This Blu-ray Diamond Edition will bring back wonderful memories from childhood and I believe will instill new ones for children today.
I think most of us remember the story about a flying boy who didn’t want to grow up. One evening, PETER PAN flies into the room of the Darling children, Wendy, John and Michael. He whisks them away to Never Neverland where they team up with the Lost Boys in their secret hideout and battle it out with the villainous Captain Hook, aptly named due to his missing Croc-eaten hand, and his crew of pirates. And of course we mustn’t forget Peter’s pint-sized pixie with her little glowing glower.
I always find it a bit difficult to judge all of the old classic Disney films in today’s terms. The question is do they hold up? In the case of PETER PAN, yes. With that said, I did notice a lot of story and character points that have really aged. Most notably is the treatment of the women characters. For the most part, women are either a damsel in distress or filled with jealousy. Tinkerbell is jealous of Wendy, the mermaids are jealous of Wendy, Wendy becomes jealous of Tiger Lilly. The fact that the animated feature was made in the 1950’s, helps give these sexist stereotypes a pass that one would be best served simply laughing off, but there is no denying their prevalence.
However, one aspect that has always escaped my notice until recently, is the abundant use of clocks in the picture. The significance is obvious upon closer observation and like the characters, reveals our inevitable losing battle with father time. We all grow old but we can always be young at heart is the main theme to take away from PETER PAN, which is presented in such an uplifting manner the childhood giddiness becomes contagious. My personal favorite moments are every time the ticking clock inside the crocodile is heard as he comes bouncing along to the ticking beat, ready to take another bite and finish the job on cranky Captain Hook.
If you can get past the outdated character descriptions of the females, PETER PAN is definitely still quite charming. From capturing one’s shadow to thinking happy thoughts to fly with a little help from pixie dust, the inventive imagination is impressive. If you ever get a chance to see a stage production, there are extra poignant details to the story that are missing in the Disney film. Nonetheless, the accessibility and humor to PETER PAN draws in the kids while simultaneously appealing to an adult sensibility and yearning to be young again.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 1.33:1) Absolutely spectacular! The picture has never looked better without compromising the original animation style that was set in 1953.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) Terrific audio with everything coming in clearly. Disney understands presentation.
Introduction by Diane Disney-Miller (1:09): Diane Disney-Miller gives a very brief introduction about her father’s attraction to PETER PAN.
Disney Intermission: Whenever you pause during the film, kids can play along through “Pirate Training” as they engage in a variety of tips and games.
Growing Up with Nine Old Men (41:08): These are the unsung animator heroes who were closest to Walt Disney. This gives more of the back story to these men and their influence throughout the years in making Disney films. Hard core fans of Disney and animation should really enjoy this.
Deleted Songs and Scenes (15:28): Two deleted scenes and two deleted songs shown by story boards and an introductory setup. Interesting but rightfully cut.
Classic DVD Bonus Features: The following featurettes are from the original DVD release.
Disney Song Selection and Sing Along with the Movie: This option allows you to sing along with words at the bottom of the screen during the film. If you like you can skip directly to the songs as well.
Audio Commentary: Hosted by Roy Disney, the commentary is perfectly edited to included extensive insights from cast, crew and animators about their work on the classic tale.
Classic Music & More (roughly 9 minutes): Four very short featurettes that include, “Deleted Song: The Pirate Song,” ” Never Land: The Lost Song,” “Music Video: Never Land Performed By Paige O’Hara,” and ” Music Video: The Second Star To The Right Performed By T-Squad.”
Backstage Disney (roughly 65 minutes): Five extensively informative featurettes about a variety of aspects of PETER PAN including, “You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan” (15:49), “In Walt’s Words: Why I Made Peter Pan” (7:46), “Tinker Bell: A Fairy’s Tale” (8:27), “The Peter Pan that Almost Was” (21:01), and “The Peter Pan Story” (12:04).
DisneyView Side Bars and Sneak Peeks
Another amazing Blu-ray release by Disney. No one does it better and they set the standard on how to rerelease films on Blu-ray.