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Customer Review

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delightful Walt Disney animated classic, March 9, 2007
This review is from: Peter Pan (Two-Disc Platinum Edition) (DVD)
My young niece Sarah and nephew Caleb are terrified of Walt Disney's 1953 animated feature, PETER PAN---the crocodile, a band of pirates, Captain Hook with a hook hand, a rock slide that seems to momentarily kill Tinker Bell. The movie scared them so much in their younger days that they don't want to see it again, and neither does their mother. I, however, as a 56 year old film scholar find the film delightful--a boy who can fly and refuses to grow up leads the Darling kids over nighttime London and to Never-Land, where they all get to fight with indians and pirates. There is a Skull Rock, and a pirate cove, and a beautiful pirate ship. It is all just marvelous for adults. As for the crocodile, he is so stupid, boredly watching Hook fight with Peter until Hook falls into the water. And Hook is an irresistible pirate for kids of all ages. I love when Peter is on a mountain top pretending to be Hook and giving orders to dopey Smee in a boat below.

The glories of this animated film are that it is animated so the wires don't show in spectacular flying sequences, again highlighted by "You Can Fly" as the gang flies over 1904 nighttime London, plus the prologue bedroom and all over Never-Land. Hook has a real metal hook he deliciously screws on. Tinker Bell is a real, jealous fairy and not a spotlight on stage. And this is the one time Peter is played, satisfyingly and curiously, by a boy and not a grown woman, like Mary Martin on TV or Betty Bronson in a wonderful 1924 silent film version. Also unlike, say, the Martin version, you can have spectacular fight sequences and the Lost Boys and Darling kids tied up by the indians, not a lot of wires and painted backdrops. And the animation is magnificent, with deep colors and rich details, especially in this brand-new double disk Platinum Edition DVD, which also boasts an awesome 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theatre Mix soundtrack.

Disk one has the restored movie, but also a very informative audio commentary with Roy Disney, Leonard Maltin, John Canemaker, Kathryn "Wendy" Beaumont, the woman who modeled for Tinker Bell, and surviving animators. The late Hans Conreid did Captain Hook's voice to perfection, and Bobby Driscoll did Peter's.

Disk two has a good two hours of bonus material, including behind-the-scenes filmmaking documentaries, "Why I Wanted to Make PETER PAN" by Walt Disney from the archives, the history of making PETER PAN including storyboards for deleted scenes that go back to the late 1930's, an original never-before-seen opening to the movie, and a lovely deleted song that songwriter Richard Sherman and singer Paige O'Hara (Belle in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) have completed. If Disney had made the movie in the late 1930's, it would have been very dark and frightening. There are also games and activities galore for children and families, and a fun virtual flight with Peter Pan over London and Never-Land.

This PETER PAN has been painstakingly remastered and restored. The 1953 classic has never looked nor sounded this colorful and tuneful. It belongs in every family's video library, even if it has moments too scary for small children. They will grow into it, at which time it will be back in the Disney vaults on seven years moratorium; buy it now while you can.
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