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(2-Disc Platinum Edition)

I have always been very fond of the Disney version of the J.M. Barrie classic about the boy who refused to grow up, not so much for the title character, but for the comic depiction of the villainous Captain Hook and the ticking Crocodile that continually dogs his every step- obviously looking for second helpings of the one handed pirate. My personal enjoyment of Disney’s PETER PAN owes much to the vocal performance of Hans Conried who portrayed Captain James Hook with a dastardly bluster and comic aplomb. Also, I take a lot of enjoyment from Bill Thompson interpretation of Mr. Smee- the best know member of Captain Hook’s pirate crew.

The plot of PETER PAN first takes us to the London household of the Darling family, where we encounter Wendy, her two brothers John and Michael, not to mention her parents and family dog Nana, who also substitutes as the children’s nanny. Tales of Peter Pan, the Lost Boy and Never Land are a regular staple in the Darling Nursery, which keep the children enthralled. So, when Peter Pan and Tinkerbell come to the Darling home to reclaim our title character’s captured shadow, it should come as no surprise when Peter sprinkles a little pixie dust on Wendy and her brothers, and whisks the lot of them off to Never Land for a series of adventures involving mermaids, Indians and pirates- but most especially Peter’s arch nemesis Captain Hook. The vocal talent behind PETER PAN also features Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Heather Angel, Paul Collins, Tommy Luske, Candy Candido and Tom Conway.

Walt Disney Home Entertainment has made PETER PAN available on DVD in marvelous looking 1.37:1 transfer. DTS Digital Images has had a hand polishing PETER PAN up to its newly luminous quality for this DVD release. The image quality is utterly superb, with everything appearing as if produced yesterday, instead of more than fifty years ago. Sharpness and detail is everything one should expect from Disney animation at its pinnacle, with digital rejuvenation techniques applied. Colors are fresh and more vibrant than I every remember seeing on this particular title. Blacks are pure, whites are crisp and contrast is right on the money for an animated feature. The film elements now appear pristine and grain is virtually absent. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained.

This release of PETER PAN features a fine sounding upgraded Dolby Digital 5.1 channel mix. For a film that is more than a half a century old, the newly mixed track is really quite pleasing. Fidelity is very good for a film of this vintage, although it’s not in the same league with today’s all digital soundtracks. The musical component is always quite pleasant and sounds a little stronger than it has on previous releases. Stereo and surround imaging is fairly engaging, but never seems overly forced or artificial. Dialogue is crisp and totally understandable. Most of the age related background hiss and other audible anomalies have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving the track with a smooth sonic quality. A cleaned up version of the film’s original theatrical soundtrack is also present on this release, as are French and Spanish language tracks. English subtitles are also present.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental features spread across this two-disc set. Starting things off is a running audio commentary hosted by Roy Disney and features Leonard Maltin, along with edited together interview comments from members of the cast and creative team. Several Deleted Songs are presented in storyboard form, as well as some updated music videos destined for the Disney Channel. You Can Fly: The Making Of Peter Pan clocks in at sixteen minutes and proves to be a rather informative look at the production and the material’s origins. Walt's Own Words accesses archival material in which Disney explains "Why I Made Peter Pan." The Peter Pan That Almost Was looks at various story concepts that did not make it to the completed film. Tinkerbell: A Fairy's Tale looks at the film character, who has since become one of the most recognizable Disney icons. The Peter Pan Story is a vintage featurette created at the time of the film production. A Sneak Peek of the all-new Tinkerbell movie is also included, as are Art Galleries. For the kiddies, the DVD includes Interactive Games, a Peter Pan Virtual Flight, Tink's Fantasy Flight and Peter's Playful Prank DVD storybook.

PETER PAN is a true Disney Masterpiece that has been given a presentation worthy of its stature, at least at the standard definition level. Highly recommended.



Peter Pan (2-Disc Platinum Edition) (1953)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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