Sprinkle some pixie dust on your Blu-ray player. The 1953 Disney Classic, Peter Pan, finally flies to High Def (ok this sentence doesn’t quite work, but I’m sticking with it.) As a movie, Peter Pan is a bit too old fashioned for my taste, but it is a timeless story for a reason. It’s themes of loyalty; faith and the idea of eternal youth all wrapped up in the trappings of a swashbuckling fantasy works for a lot of people.
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Believe it or not this is my first time ever watching this Disney Classic. I always thought Peter Pan was supposed to be about childhood innocence. Pan and Tinkerbell were not sweet and cuddly, they both came across as selfish, cold and really unlikable.
There’s one scene where Tinkerbell tells The Lost Boy to shoot Wendy out of the sky. When Peter asks “Did you know you could have killed her?” She smiles and gleefully says yeah. Yeah, let’s root for Tink. I found myself rooting for Captain Hook (Hans Conried). The voice acting is good and holds up well. I love classic hand drawn animation. There is just so much more character to it than computer animation. Here, the painted backgrounds look a bit lifeless, but the red color palette used in Peter Pan come across pretty nicely on Blu-ray.
The script – written by a committee of seven people feels disjointed. The opening begins by telling the audience that “All this has happened before and will happen again.” The kids are fully aware of who Peter is and are playing games as if they have already been to Neverland and Wendy talks about stealing his shadow. Yet when Peter shows up they don’t know him.I actually think that while this is a timeless classic, is one of Disney’s weaker efforts.
Video, Audio, Presentation
Disney be funny! They have created this weird thing called “Disney Intermission.” When this feature is activated an animated story called “Pirate Training” will appear when you press the pause button. I’m not sure what the point of this is, since I’m assuming if you pause a movie you won’t be paying attention to it, but it is cute. All the menus use standard Disney navigation. Very minimalist and easy to use pop ups.
The video’s 1.33:1 aspect ratio is displayed in the standard 4.3 ratio and has black bars on either side of the screen. Unfortunately this didn’t include the feature that adds digital artwork to the black bars. There are no artifacts on the picture and the audio mix is flawless. However, flawless audio on these old movies brings out some of the “scratchiness” of the strings in the original orchestration.
The only new feature for this release is Growing up with Nine Old Men – This is a fabulous 40-minute documentary on the original crew of Disney Animators and provides a lot of information on the early days of Disney and their legacy within the company. All of the bonus features from the original DVD release are here as well. The highlights here are the collection of behind the scenes featurettes, as well as a feature length commentary track by Roy Disney.
While this is a really nice transfer w, the animation style doesn’t really hold up as well as other recent Disney Blu-rays (like Cinderella). This one looks a bit dated and frankly, I was disappointed. I expected to love this movie and be enchanted by it, but it left me a bit cold. If you are a fan of the movie, there is no reason not to get the Blu-ray the upgrade is definitely worth it.
- Movie – C
- Video – B
- Audio – B
- Extras – B
Final Overall Grade – B-