They have given this movie the Platinum release it deserves.
Some of the features were a little confusing to navigate through.
The story of Peter Pan is such a part of American culture and lore that it seems only fitting that it gets a Platinum Release from Disney.
After being told that it's time she grows up, Wendy Darling and her brothers John and Michael are visited by Peter Pan Tinker Bell, and then whisked off to his Island so that Wendy can tell her stories and be a Mom to Peter's men, the Lost Boys. Along the way, they have a run in with Captain Hook and after meeting Peter's men, the groups split up. Wendy and Peter go to Mermaid Lagoon, while John and Michael battle Indians with the Lost Boys. After being captured, the Indians inform them that they want their Princess, Tiger Lily back. It is here that Peter and Wendy realize that Captain Hook has in fact stolen the sought after Indian Princess.
After capturing the Princess, Wendy becomes jealous of all the attention that Peter is paying to her. Eventually, Captain hook captures everyone but Peter Pan and forces them to join up with him or "walk the plank." It is here that Peter Pan saves the day in this wonderful film that is perfect for the whole family.
If you do nothing else with the bonus features on this DVD, you need to listen to Roy Disney talk about the making of this movie. He discusses Uncle Walt's vision of the film, how the idea came into existence, how much work went into bringing this tale to the big screen, and just about everything else that one could want to know about this movie. Roy Disney seems like a genuinely warm person and he really cherishes what Disney as a company has given to the world. On this track, he really seems to be excited to share as much Peter Pan information as possible.
Disney Song Selections
Peter's Playful Prank: Story Book
While I think I might be a little too old to fully appreciate this, I did find this new story of Peter Pan to be charming. Truthfully, after I watched the movie I probably shouldn't have gone to the special features right away. I say this because the movie is a piece of pure spectacle, and then comparing it with story book is akin to looking at the Mona Lisa and then seeing a portrait by someone who is learning how to paint. The way this story book works is that you read along with what is happening on screen. It has some of the themes as Peter Pan, but this story is clearly lacking the depth, time and focus that that movie has.
Music & More
There are three songs that are examined here. They are "Pirates Song," "Never Land" and "The Second Star To The Right." "Pirates Song" is interesting because it was never actually in the film. Here it is reconstructed with artwork and a demo recording. This song actually predates "A Pirate's Life" and is a nice glimpse into some early Disney history. In addition to that, one can also hear "Never Land" for the first time. It was written in 1940 and created by Richard M. Sherman. It is amazing that this piece of music has taken so long to surface to the public, but it is available now and if you are a fan of this film (which I am sure you are if you are reading this) you will love it. Lastly, " The Second Star To The Right" features a hip hop band performing this song, and while I don't doubt that they are talented, I am not sure that this belongs on this DVD.
Games & Activities
Four games make up this section. They are Smee's Sudoku Challenge in which Peter Pan helps you solve one of those mind bending sudoku challenges. Tarrrget Practice which sees pirates and other dastardly people come at you and you've got to click your remote to hit them with various objects. With Tink's Fantasy Flight, you again use your remote control to follow Tinker Bell through the sky without being sent to the ground by the Lost Boys. Lastly, Peter Pan's Flight is similar to the previous game except this time you are following Peter Pan all throughout London. During this game you've got to make sure that Captain Hook doesn't spot you. These set top games are fun but I probably would have enjoyed them a lot more if I was younger.
They have put four featurettes into this section. They are The Peter Pan Story which is little more than an EPK to introduce this movie to a new generation. You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan is a more in-depth look at how this movie was made. I liked this a lot even though it really isn't as enlightening as I had hoped it would be. The Peter Pan That Almost Was is probably the best piece out of all these featurettes. We are treated so some of the ideas that were bandied about before it was decided what this character would be. In fact, this includes another beginning of the film that I am glad they didn't use, simply because I think it makes Peter Pan look a tad amoral. Lastly, In Walt's Words: Why I Made Peter Pan is a recreation of a piece he wrote about this film when first came out. Apparently, this was a story that fascinated Uncle Walt from both before and after he made this film.
1.33:1 - Enhanced for 4x3 screens - The Aspect Ratio in which this film was originally created. Digitally Restored this film looks astonishing. They haven't prettied it up so much that it looks brand new, I am just assuming they bumped it up so that it would survive a rugged transfer to DVD. This movie really has held up well and even though Disney makes animated films now that look incredible, I am honestly blown away by the work that has been put on screen here. It is really amazing that they have kept up a movie from 1953 this well.
All-New 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix. Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. French and Spanish 5.1 Audio Tracks. Close Captioned in English. I wish I had watched this movie on a better system than on my one speaker TV for precisely this reason. The audio is very good, a lot of work has gone into making it play well on today's systems, and I think I would have enjoyed this movie even more if I could have maximized this part of the experience. All in all, things sounded fine but I couldn't help thinking that perhaps I was missing something by not viewing this film on a better unit.
Peter, Tinker Bell, Wendy, Captain Hook and others grace this majestic looking front cover. The colors here are made to look so new one might think the whole film looks like this. The back offers of more images from the movie, a description of what Peter Pan is about, a large Special Features/System Specs list, and some cast information. Both discs that make up this set are nicely stored within two trays contained in this amaray case. While this packaging isn't that amazing, it does have the classic Disney look and feel and that alone should make it stand out to buyers.
It has been a long time since I last screened Peter Pan and I was blown away. This movie has been digitally restored and it looks fantastic. There is so much wonderment and imagination happening in this movie. The ideas and thoughts from this film were very astounding for the time in which it was made. In 1953, it seems that animated movies were mainly seen as fluff. This film deals with ideas of getting older, jealousy, friendship, and human behavior that are levels above what we even see in animated fare today. While a lot of this subject matter is on the surface of this film, this is still a great adventure for people young and old. Peter Pan never seems to put any of the subtext in your face, but it is there if you are willing to search around for it.
There is something about watching this film that makes it special. A lot of it could be the way it was drawn, the magical soundtrack, the characterizations, or maybe it's just that the idea of people having problems as they get older is something that is universal to us all?