Peter Pan (1953) - Platinum Edition

Genre(s): Animation / Comedy
Disney || G - 77 minutes - $29.99 || March 6, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-03-04


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Writer(s): J.M. Barrie (play)
Cast: Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried, Bill Thompson, Heather Angel


Theatrical Release Date: February 5, 1953


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Audio Commentary
  • Tinker Bell Sneak Peek
  • Disney Song Selection
  • Peter's Playful Prank: Storybook
  • You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan
  • In Walt's Words: "Why I Made Peter Pan"
  • Tinker Bell: A Fairy's Tale
  • The Peter Pan That Almost Was
  • The Peter Pan Story - 1952 Featurette
  • Art Galleries
  • Deleted Song
  • Never Land: The Lost Song
  • 2 Music Videos
  • Games and Activities
  • Peter Pan's Virtual Flight


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Full Screen
  • English 5.1 (Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix), English Mono, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

“Second star to the right and straight on till morning.”

Probably a bigger classic in my eye than Cinderella and Snow White, Peter Pan is a cartoon that still has the magic those who grew up in the 50s had and those who have since viewed throughout the decades since. Whether you’ve seen the Disney cartoon or not, you know the story about a boy who takes Wendy and her brothers on a journey to Never Land where they encounter Captain Hook and are in the middle of his pursuit to take out Peter and his Lost Boys.

The last time I saw Peter Pan, it was probably in the mid-80s when I was 6 or 7 and although the story is known, I still had fun with this movie 20 years later. Some in the current generation of kids might find the animation antiquated but although that is true, the two-dimensional style still holds a place in my heart. And unlike the current market where some animated flicks can go well over 100-minutes, this runs at a manageable 77-minutes, so this is definitely one that the entire family can enjoy and never grow bored.

Disney, with the invaluable help from Pixar, has changed with the times with new classics such as Toy Story and The Incredibles, but I hope parents will not forget about the old classics like Peter Pan because though it might be old-fashioned, the story’s message of using your imagination never goes obsolete.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Disney continues its “Platinum Edition” series, the first of two released in 2007 (The Jungle Book coming in October), Peter Pan includes some great features for both the kids and DVD/Disney aficionados.

Disc 1 includes a Sneak Peek at Disney’s director-to-DVD feature, Tinker Bell. There’s also a song selection to find particular song, Peter’s Playful Prank: Storybook that you can read yourself or with a disembodied voice. For the adults, Roy Disney hosts an audio commentary featuring various people who were involved with the movie (Kathryn Beaumont, voice of Wendy) and Disney historians like film critic Leonard Maltin. The track as a whole is fine but I actually would’ve liked to hear more from Maltin for the entire 77-minute feature.

The second disc contains the bulk of the special features and is split into groups.

Music & More:
Deleted Song: “The Pirate Song” (2:20) - Placed over concept drawings, the deleted song is low in quality but still interesting to listen as anything deleted or from archives would be hard to come by 50 plus years later.

“Never Land”: The Lost Song (2:37) - Composer/song-writer Richard M. Sherman (Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book) used an old music sheet and set out to record a previously unused song called “Never Land”. We get to see a recording session between Sherman and a singer (the voice of “Belle” in Beauty and the Beast) as they bring the song finally to life.

There are two music videos, one for the aforementioned “Never Land” and the other for a song called “The Second Star to the Right” by T-Squad.

Games & Activities:
English Read-Along: Peter Pan - For the kids, you can watch the feature film with a karaoke-like text running along with songs and dialogue. I wonder why this wasn’t included as a subtitle on the first disc...

The rest consist of three games under the title, Camp Never Land: Train to be a Lost Boy. Good for pre-school and elementary students but anyone older can skip this...

Backstage Disney:
You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan (15:57) - A historical look about how Peter Pan came to be, from the mind of J.M. Barrie to the Disney classic and the many, many other incarnations. This featurette contains interviews with Leonard Maltin and others and reveals that Walt Disney as a boy saw Peter Pan on stage... A good portion takes a look at rare early storyboards done in the 40s as well as an unused musical number.

The Peter Pan That Almost Was (20:57) - Examines the various stories and changes Peter Pan went through before the one we know and love was released. Using old storyboards, we get to see what Pan could’ve been if they had went with that story -- one instance, they thought about starting the story in Never Land instead of the Darling’s nursery, and in this story, Peter Pan kidnaps Wendy! We also get a glimpse inside Disney animation library to look at unused concept drawings. As I’m sure it was in previous Disney DVDs, this is an interesting look at what ideas were considered, some of them downright creepy...

There are other fine featurettes from In Walt’s Words: “Why I Made Peter Pan” (7:39) where Disney himself explains, via an article found in the archives, why he wanted to see Peter Pan on the big screen, the original 1952 featurette, The Peter Pan Story (12:05), Tinker Bell: A Fairy’s Tale (8:26) and art galleries.

The last feature is called Peter Pan’s Virtual Flight where we sail through the streets and skies of London and then to Never Land. This is strictly for the kids to keep them entertained for a couple of minutes (or you can play it on a loop).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Peter Pan is presented in full screen and given that it’s 50 years old, looks to be in fantastic shape. I didn’t notice any dust or scratches and the colors are vibrant, especially in Never Land. Excellent restoration job once again from Disney.

Edit (3/06/2007): After looking at some screen comparisons from the previous release, it seems some scenes are not as vibrant as I had thought, in fact it was toned down quite a bit. Until I learn more, I am lowering my rating...

You have the choice between the English 5.1 or mono tracks. Disney’s Enhanced Home Theater Mix was, like the picture, restored nicely with both music dialogue coming through the speakers fine. For those with regular TV speakers, the mono track will suite you fine.



.::OVERALL::.

Nobody can say Disney doesn’t put together a great set of their older classics. Be it Peter Pan or The Incredibles, their sets are quite good and provide enough features for both parents/adults and kids. And now that it’s finally on DVD, hopefully a new generation will fall in love with the story as so many others have.