Plot: What’s it about?
Youngsters are often told bed times stories to help them sleep, tales of adventure and fantasy that carry them off to a new realm once they’re asleep. One such story is the legend of Peter Pan, the young man who refuses to grow up, and lives with his Lost Boys in a magical place called Never Land. Wendy, John, and Michael all hear that tale, many times over, before settling down in bed, so many times that they had the story memorized. They would act out the tale, playing different roles, trying to bring the legend to life, if only in their bedroom. One night, the legend would truly come to life, as Peter Pan pays a visit to their home, and offers to sweep them away to Never Land to enjoy all the fun that awaits there. With a little sprinkle of pixie dust and a happy thought, Peter and his sidekick, Tinkerbell, have the kids flying out the window, on their way to Never Land. But not everything in Never Land is fun…the nefarious Captain Hook and his water logged crew are there, with intentions of evening the score with both Peter Pan, and the “tick tock”ing crocodile that forced him to have a hook instead of a hand. Can Peter and his friends rescue Never Land from the pirates or will Hook have his revenge and rule Never Land?
This film is another in the long line of true animated masterpieces by Disney. The animation is superb, with great attention to detail, fluid movements, and a nice cast of characters. This movie has put some indelible faces to the myth of Peter Pan, the foremost being Captain Hook. Anytime I hear the story or even a mention of it, I think of the cartoon version of the Captain, who still looks as nasty as ever. Disney’s visual replication of Peter has also stood the test of time, and is the image many conjure up when thinking of Pan. And let’s not forget Tinkerbell, she’s a symbol of Disney’s history as well. Now, I like Julia Roberts in Hook, but this animated Tinkerbell is tops with me. The idea of this film is that no matter how old we are, we are always as young as we are in our hearts. Just because you are old does not mean you have to feel old, you can feel as young as you wish, as long as you have your dreams. This is one my favorite Disney films because of the deep, rich tapestry this story weaves, and how well Disney set the legend to this picture.
Of course, I am biased about this film, because I love all things swashbuckling, pirates and swordfights, you name it. The action in Peter Pan is fast and fun, with Hook stopping at nothing to gain his revenge, and Peter trying hard to make the Captain look as foolish as possible. This is a great, fun adventure movie for the whole family, with a little something packed in there for everyone. The antics of Tinkerbell are worth the price of the disc to me, as she brings some unique comedy to the feature. As with all the recent Disney animated releases, the price tag is high, but this disc is worth the money. One of Disney’s all time best, it warrants a place in the collection of all fans of Disney and adventure fans as well. This is the third release for Peter Pan, but the third time is the charm, as this version is superior to the others. So even if you own one of the previous editions, you’ll want to replace them with this new two disc Platinum Edition.
Video: How does it look?
Peter Pan is presented in full frame, as intended. I was impressed by the transfers found on this previous editions, but now this new digital restoration leaves them obsolete. I’ve been spoiled by some incredible high definition transfers of late, but this still stands out as a top rate visual effort. The movie looks brand new, with a pristine print and no signs of grain or compression hiccups. I was impressed with the colors here, as the hues are bright and vivid, with not even a hint of faded shades, simply stunning for a movie made well over fifty years ago. No issues with contrast either, as black levels are stark and consistent. Simply put, this is the best Peter Pan has looked on home video by a mile, so fans have reason to rejoice.
Audio: How does it sound?
The soundtrack on the previous edition was passable, but this new Dolby Digital 5.1 option provides a richer, more immersive experience. The surrounds are much more active this time around, but the presence is never forced, so the added life has a natural texture. The surround use isn’t over the top either, just enough to liven up the mix a little and add depth in needed areas. The music sounds terrific here and really comes to life at times, while sound effects can be heard throughout, both subtle and more prominent elements. No trouble with dialogue to be heard, as vocals are clear and never waver. This disc also includes a stereo soundtrack, French and Spanish language tracks, and English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary starts us off, but keep in mind, the track is a collection of audio interviews, not a scene specific session like we’re used to. So while the speakers don’t address the movie’s specific scenes as we watch, they provide a broad, rich look at the movie’s ins and outs. Roy Disney serves as the host for the track, joined by numerous folks who talk about the movie, including the master himself, Walt. The second disc has the rest of the goodies, including two deleted songs that have been finished for this release. You can also listen to a reading of an interview with Walt, in which he talks about why the project was important to him and some of his original ideas for the production. Fans will love to see the never before seen alternate opening sequence, as well as hear about what other changes were in the works for Peter Pan. I enjoyed the selection of sketches and artwork to no end, while featurettes offer a look at the magic of Tinkerbell, as well as general behind the scenes information. The rest of the extras are games for the kiddies, which they should appreciate.