“All this has happened before, and it will all happen again. But this time it happened in London. It happened on a quiet street in Bloomsbury. That corner house over there is the home of the Darling family. And Peter Pan chose this particular house because there were people here who believed in him.”
Walt Disney’s 1953 version of Peter Pan might not be the most faithful of all J.M. Barrie adaptations, and it is just as true that certain elements (most notably all the smoking references and the depictions of Native American characters) haven’t aged all that well, but overall this sensational animated marvel is just as delightful today as it ever was six decades prior. Filled with beauteous images, marvelous characterizations, fantastic songs and energetically inspired set pieces, the movie remains a marvel, and one children of all ages are sure to keep adoring until the end of time.
Do I need to say more? No, I don’t think I actually do. Peter Pan is a classic, plain and simple, and I couldn’t urge the purchase of this spectacular Blu-ray presentation of the film with any less exuberance. Highly recommended.
Peter Pan is presented on a dual-layer 50GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 1.33:1/1080p transfer. Here’s the deal – I’m a fan of Disney’s restorations and transfers to Blu-ray of their classic hand-drawn animated library. While certain titles do get more love and affection than others (The Fox and the Hound at the lower end of the spectrum while Lady & the Tramp and this title reside, obviously, at the opposite end), much has been made of the digital scrubbing that’s been given to quite a few of the Mouse House’s releases. A case certainly can be made these films do not look quite the same as they did during their initial theatrical release, that is very true, imperfections of all kinds stripped away almost entirely.
The question is, of course, is this in opposition to the wishes of the animators who originally worked on the film? Should Disney make certain to keep the film look like the theatrical presentation or to the cell art itself? It’s a rough debate, and one that holds merit on both sides. Be that as it may, it’s hard for me not to look at these Disney releases, like Cinderella, like Peter Pan, and not be blown entirely away. Colors are so stunning, so rich, so detailed and refined that falling in love with the image is borderline impossible so, on that front at least, as I’ve already said I can’t help but call myself a fan.
This Blu-ray features both a new English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track as well as the original English DTS-HD Master Audio Mono presentation along with Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and features optional English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Almost all of the extras from the previous DVD releases are ported over to this one and can be found in the Classic DVD Bonus Features - Backstage Disney and Classic DVD Bonus Features - Music & More sections of the Blu-ray. Also included is the exhaustive Audi Commentary hosted by Roy Disney and featuring interview excerpts from animators as well as readings from many of the memos and notes circulating between offices during the film’s production. It’s awesome material and should definitely be checked out (probably more than once). The rest of the bonus features included with this release include:
· Introduction by Diane Disney-Miller – Like many previous Disney Blu-ray releases, Walt’s daughter is back to add a small touch of insight as she briefly introduces one of her father’s favorites.
· Growing Up with Nine Old Men – Wonderful, just over 40-minute documentary chronicling the legendary ‘Nine Old Men’ of Disney lore as seen through the eyes of their children. Superb.
· Deleted Songs and Scenes – Two deleted scenes and two deleted songs recently unearthed from the Disney vault.
· Disney Intermission – Novel extra that allows younger viewers to pause the film and dive into “Pirate Training,” a selection of kid-centric activities teaching them the ins and outs of being a pirate on the Jolly Roger.
· DisneyView – The 1.33:1 image can be viewed with black bars to the sides of the screen or in the studio’s patented DisneyView, this time featuring the stunning artwork of animator and artist Cristy Maltese.
Disney’s Peter Pan is still a classic, and no matter how many times I watch it I can’t help but wish I could jump into the screen and head out to the second star to the right and go straight on ‘til morning right along with Peter, Wendy, Tink and all the rest of the Darling clan.