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Peter Pan
Disney
Directed By: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Starring: Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Paul Collins, Tommy Luske, Bill Thompson
Purchase Online
Official Site
 

The Short: Peter Panís debut on blu-ray is worthy of one of Disneyís best features. Peter Pan is filled with tons of iconic Disney characters (would Disney seem as magical without Tinker Bell?) The adaptation isnít treated as such any more- it really holds itís own merit- something thatís no small task when itís source material stems from a literary classic. Needless to say itís a favorite of many and the DVD, Digital Copy, and blu-ray combo pack make it a necessary acquisition for any familyís blu-ray collection.

Sometimes itís interesting to think about how certain things could have been done if an idea for the 21st century was implemented just fifty years ago. Weíve been somewhat spoiled over the past decade-and-a-half with DVD and blu-ray that we get to enjoy things like making-of features. Can you imagine what a behind the scenes look at the making of a Disney movie in the 40ís would be like? Theyíd be working on time consuming animated features while balancing impossible budgets, then things like the government taking over the studio to make propaganda because WWII got in the way would pop up. The point is, nothing that Walt Disney or anybody in his company back then was easy, but they not only did it, they excelled at it. Enter Peter Pan, the 1952 release ended up being Disneyís sixth full-length animated feature, even though it was intended to be itís second. Itís initial production was halted due to some rights problems and a few other major crises, but once production began, Disney made all of the right decisions. They altered J.M. Barrieís play appropriately for a film to be released in that era, and the resulting creation of years of hard work is one of Disneyís best animated features and one of the best animated features of all time.

 

J.M. Barrieís original play was special because it was one of the first plays of itís era to be written for children. It was a landmark play, and later a novel and itís one of the best stories of the past century. Disneyís feature has some pretty big differences over the book, although their pretty obvious, theyíre also easy to ignore.

 

This particular Peter Pan story starts with Peter chasing his shadow into the Darling nursery where he meets Wendy, Michael, and John. After Wendy helps Peter and his shadow reunite, Pan invites the children to Never Land to embark on an adventure. Thanks to his trusty friend and fairy Tinker Bell the children fly off to Never Land. In Never Land they meet Panís clan of rascals- the Lost Boys- as well as mermaids, indians, and the worst- pirates. The pirates are led by the villainous Captain Hook and his lackey Smee. Hook and Peter Pan are always at odds and while the Darling children are visiting Never Land- that rivalry escalates to an all-time high. Disneyís classic twist on a classic tale is memorable and lasting and itís just as good to anyone who watches it- thatís whether theyíre 8 or 80.

 

Peter Panís production stands out for a number of reasons. Itís the last of an era- itís the last film that the animation team of the Nine Old Men all worked together on. Itís also the last Disney film to be distributed by RK Films. The production notes are memorable but so is the actual feature. The animation is absolutely second to none, itís probably my favorite animated feature from Disney because of that trait alone. Itís got a similar style to Alice in Wonderland, thatís to be expected because they were closely made. But itís got a twist too- the colors are more lush and vibrant; almost tropical, but not quite.

 

The only thing wrong with Peter Pan is something thatís era related. There are some unfortunate racial stereotypes with Disneyís Peter Pan, (the 40ís and 50ís werenít the pinnacle periods for intelligent thought on things like equality or political correctiveness.)  But those are pretty much set in stone in 2013. All you can do is take it as a snapshot in time and not somebodyís point of view. If the rest of the movie werenít so brilliant,then you couldnít look past it, as things are the way they are, most people are able to.

For the first time ever, Peter Pan comes to Blu-ray filled with not only remarkable picture and sound but packed with extra features too. Thereís an introduction done for the film, two deleted scenes, and two deleted songs. There are old DVD bonus features- well over an hour worth and an audio commentary. Then thereís a feature on the Nine Old Men, a sing-along and lots more. The Blu-ray release of Peter Pan is more than worthy of a terrific feature.

 

Peter Panís debut on blu-ray is worthy of one of Disneyís best features. Peter Pan is filled with tons of iconic Disney characters (would Disney seem as magical without Tinker Bell?) The adaptation isnít treated as such any more- it really holds itís own merit- something thatís no small task when itís source material stems from a literary classic. Needless to say itís a favorite of many and the DVD, Digital Copy, and blu-ray combo pack make it a necessary acquisition for any familyís blu-ray collection.






 


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