Travel back to Neverland in this Blu-Ray release of the 1953 Disney classic. Watching Peter Pan 60 years on will fill you with warm fuzzy feelings and transport you back to your childhood – although I must warn you that it may not be as great a movie as you remember.
Don’t get me wrong, I really do think it’s a good little movie. When you consider that is was produced sixty years ago, you can’t help marvel at what an achievement it must have been. A Walt Disney animated version in the early fifties must have been a no-brainer for the story-tellers of that generation who were so limited in what could be done with live action.
The children’s playtime in the bedroom is lots of fun! Nana, the father, and little Michael are all wonderful characters but Wendy and the oldest brother Jonathan, however, are so posh and British that they might come off as quite boring and dull these days. Wendy certainly isn’t the type of character that many little girls are striving to be in our times. In fact, Tinkerbell is probably a very good portrait of the modern, independent woman.
The music in the movie, complete with old school choral singing really dates the picture, but at the same time, transports you right into the era and makes you want to almost dress up in your pyjama’s and get ready for sleep after a night of sword fighting in your bedroom.
Once we head into the second act, I witnessed moments and dialogue that made me think ‘wow, this is in a kid’s film’? For starters, Tinkerbell is extremely sassy, Peter Pan himself is a bit of a man-whore with every single women in the world trying to get with him and many of these women are topless with just their hair to covering the essentials. I also picked up several racist comments towards the Red Indians and was kind of taken aback by the fact that Captain Hook shot one of his crew members dead after he only made one small mistake.
Kids, however, won’t pick up on any of this which is kind of the beauty of it. Much like Neverland itself, the film is a time capsule of childhood where innocence is retained, and the slogs and troughs of adult life are far, far away.
Peter Pan himself is quite an obnoxious little character and not exactly the most likeable Disney hero, but once again, it is a perfect representation of a little boy with no rules and no guidance.
Overall, this is a fun movie, but there are better versions of Peter Pan out there and I don’t think it’s the definitive version of the story. It also doesn’t fall into the Disney essential catalogue either, the way that ‘The Lion King’ or ‘The Jungle Book’ would.
VIDEO Quality 4:3
The video transfer is pretty clean, considering it’s extremely old and the same can be said for the animation itself which holds up quite well considering it’s 60 years old.
I find it slightly difficult to judge considering the choral music dates it for me instantly, but the dialogue and sounds effects are exceptionally clear and crisp, so there is no real complaints on this front.
On this 1-Disc edition we get a short but very sweet ‘Making Of’, several featurettes on the history of JM Barrie’s story and Walt Disney’s love for it, as well as a good look into ‘The Peter Pan that almost was’ where we learn about many of the story decisions that were made during the decade-long development of the film.