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Join mischievous Peter Pan, the young boy who refuses to grow up, his hot-tempered pixie pal, Tinker Bell and the Darling children as they soar away to the mysterious Never-Never land where childhood lasts forever in this magical, musical adventure. Based on J.M. Barrie's 1904 book.
For more about Peter Pan and the Peter Pan Blu-ray release, see Peter Pan Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on January 25, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried, Heather Angel, Bill Thompson, Paul Collins (I)
Narrator: Tom Conway
Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Jack Kinney
» See full cast & crew
Peter Pan Blu-ray Review
"All this has happened before, and will all happen again..."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, January 25, 2013
Peter Pan: a long-awaited addition to Disney's Blu-ray canon that somehow makes my collection feel more whole, more complete. It isn't just a personal favorite either. It's one of Walt Disney's most beloved animated classics, one of the studio's greatest treasures and arguably the best Disney animated feature released in the 1950s. It has survived controversy -- Tiger Lily and the Indians are still considered racially offensive in various circles -- and weathered criticism about the liberties Uncle Walt and his screenwriters took with J.M. Barrie's 1904 play and 1911 children's novel. And yet no censorship has been perpetrated and very little criticism has prevailed. It's a high-flying, swashbuckling adventure in the true spirit of the original and, in many ways, was the first production, on stage or off, to lend a thrillingly palpable sense of magic, grandeur and storybook fantasy to Barrie's text. Even today, some sixty years after its theatrical release, Peter Pan remains a magnificent animated film, as truly timeless as any Disney classic that came before it or come since.
On a crisp starry night, after an argument with her father (voiced by Hans Conried), a girl named Wendy Darling (Kathryn Beaumont) lies down in the nursery she shares with her younger brothers, John and Michael (Paul Collins and Tommy Luske), and drifts to sleep. Suddenly she wakes, not with a fright but with excitement to finally meet the fairytale boy she's long suspected exists: Peter Pan (Bobby Driscoll). Soon she embarks on an adventure to Never Land, joined by her brothers and Peter's temperamental fairy Tinker Bell (Margaret Kerry). There they meet the villainous Captain Hook (Conried), his lackey Mr. Smee (Bill Thompson) and the pirates of the Jolly Roger, a murderous band of thieves and killers intent on capturing Pan and putting an end to his antics. With the help of the Lost Boys, the noble Tiger Lily (Corinne Orr) and her tribe, and a few sprinkles of fairy dust, Peter, Wendy, John and Michael set out to stop Hook, as the young girl decides whether she wants to grow up or stay a child forever.
Literary buffs will find the aforementioned changes to J.M. Barrie's original story startling, and they indeed lead to dramatic shifts in the dynamics and motivations of the characters and ultimately the tale itself. But creative license has always been at play in Disney adaptations, making the impact of such changes far more inconsequential than a vocal minority of detractors protest. The racial stereotyping is a bit more disconcerting, but just as easily dismissed. A quick conversation about history and context is all a young boy or girl needs to navigate tricky waters with ease. Which leaves... next to nothing to worry over. Peter Pan is a spry, oft-times dazzling adaptation, as harmless as it is memorable. Be it the character designs, the lush Never Land locales, the exciting battles or the mounting conflict between Pan and Hook, the film is brimming with unforgettable sights, sounds, heroes and villains; the sort that make children's eyes wide and smiles broad. And though the result is most certainly episodic in nature, the adventure is no less epic and never seems small or trivial, as could have been the case had Disney and his fellow filmmakers taken a different route with the adaptation. (The film went through many, many iterations during development, a number of which are detailed in the Blu-ray edition's behind-the-scenes extras.)
Peter Pan also harkens back to a wondrous age in animation, before the advent of CG and the misguided belief that traditional, hand drawn animation was outmoded. Pardon the nostalgic digression, but Walt Disney's fourteenth animated feature, now celebrating its 60th anniversary, has the look and whimsy of a much younger production. With no computers to rely on, Pan's legendary team of animators -- the Nine Old Men -- crafted something extraordinary for its time and something that continues to withstand the test of time. The beautifully expressive characters do nothing less than spring to life, while each acrobatic bout of flying, singing, dancing and swordplay is framed by gorgeous hand-painted backgrounds. Even now, with Disney aggressively resurrecting the hand-drawn feature, classics like Peter Pan stand tall, created entirely with pencils, ink, brushes and paint, and all the passion and spirit that goes into such hands-on artistry. Many of the CG animators of the modern age are master animators in their own right, don't misunderstand. But there's something utterly magical about Walt Disney's early animated classics, and it's a magic that continues to grab hold of viewers, young and old, nostalgic and newcomer alike. Simply put: Peter Pan is one of the Disney greats, and that isn't about to change anytime soon. "All this has happened before, and all this will happen again..."
Peter Pan Blu-ray, Video Quality
The debate rages on, although fueled by less disappointment than Cinderella generated. Peter Pan flies onto Blu-ray with a vibrant, striking 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer, restored -- or rather renewed -- with all the digital advances available to the Disney restoration team. The results will delight most and mildly irritate a few; the few being those who feel the complete absence of grain and the slight (stress on slight) alterations made to the film's original color and contrast are contrary to Walt Disney and his animators' intentions and the film's original presentation. The debate is admittedly a noble one. Should a classic film be subjected to such changes? Should Disney attempt to create a transfer that's truer to the original cel art or to the 1953 theatrical image? Ideally, a release like Peter Pan would present both a classic restoration and a spectacularly clean revitalization, but the choice has been made. The latter over the former it is. Still, purists would do well to embrace everything Disney has accomplished, if only in part. Marvelous leaps and strides have been made here, and not all of them controversial. In fact, only the grain removal -- which appears to have taken little to no toll on the image other than its intended use -- gave me pause, as it alters the texture of the original film. For more on the ongoing discussion about Disney's restorations, visit this fascinating thread in our forum. Just please be civil. Again, both sides of the argument have merit.
For those who aren't bothered by the minor tweaks and adjustments to the original presentation, Disney's transfer will be a revelation. Though a touch soft overall (the culprit being either the film source or a restoration limitation, not any subsequent noise reduction), Peter Pan has never, never looked better. Colors are stunning and sumptuous, even if skin coloring sometimes seems a bit pinkish in hue. (If the Disney team's true intent was to drastically and shrewdly alter the film, they would have certainly adjusted the tones of the Indians' skin. Instead, the Indians are redder than ever, particularly Big Chief.) Contrast is excellent throughout, as are black levels, which are deeper and richer than ever before. Detail is quite impressive too, with clean line art, stable color fills, and nicely preserved brushstroke textures in the hand-painted backgrounds. Moreover, artifacting, banding, aliasing and other pirates of the compression seas are kept at bay. Only a handful of blink-and-you'll-miss-em enemies sneak through. All in all, Peter Pan has risen anew. Purist video score: 4.0. Revisionist's video score: 5.0.
Peter Pan Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Overkill, yes. Outstanding, absolutely. Disney's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track crows at the top of its lungs and unleashes its sonic attack with notable precision. At the same time, the 7.1 presentation rarely, if ever, flies in the face of the film's original sound design. Though the rear speakers wrap the sounds of Never Land around the listener, it doesn't feel like a betrayal and is always executed with the utmost respect for the audio elements. Directional effects are light but playful, ambience is subtle but effective and a few acoustic flourishes make caves and other locales more immersive. LFE output is restrained as well but no less welcome, lending weight and presence to every low-end assault and exchange. Voices and sound effects, meanwhile, are completely unhindered and perfectly prioritized. A few lines of dialogue show their age, as anyone should expect from a sixty-year old feature, but remain clear and intelligible regardless. Add to that the full, enveloping presence of the film's score and songs and you have a first-rate 7.1 remix for a classic film.
Those hoping for a lossless presentation of Peter Pan's original mono, though, will be less enthused. While Disney has included a 192kbps Dolby Digital mono mix, the studio hasn't gone the extra mile and provided two lossless audio options. It sounds good, don't get me wrong, but it could sound better. Should sound better, that is. A missed opportunity.
Peter Pan Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Peter Pan Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Peter Pan isn't going anywhere. As much a classic today as it was twenty, forty or sixty years ago, it remains the wondrous adventure and magnificently animated spectacle it's always been. With Disney's Blu-ray release, it's even more wondrous and magnificent. Backed by a stunning video presentation (albeit one slightly altered from its source), a strong DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track, and well over four hours of special features, the new Diamond Edition release of Peter Pan is a must-have for any Disney fan or animation aficionado. Don't hesitate: make the leap.
Peter Pan: Other Editions
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Peter Pan Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: February 5-12 - February 2, 2013
For the week of February 5th, Paramount Pictures is bringing the dark drama Flight to Blu-ray. The film marks director Robert Zemeckis' return to live-action filmmaking for the first time since 2000's Cast Away, and Zemeckis demonstrates that his eye for crisp ...
• Exclusive Giveaway: Walt Disney's Peter Pan - January 28, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Walt Disney Home Entertainment are offering three members an opportunity to win a copy of the studio's beloved 1953 classic Peter Pan, based on the original play and subsequent children's novel by author J.M. Barrie. Disney's fourteenth animated ...
• Peter Pan $8 Blu-ray Coupon and Monsters, Inc. $5 Blu-ray Coupon - November 16, 2012
Amazon is currently offering a $8 off coupon to be used towards Peter Pan Blu-ray, set for release on February 5th and a $5 off coupon to be used towards Monster's, Inc. 3D Blu-ray (no release date yet).
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