by Kevin Carr
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|| MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)
Bobby Driscoll as PETER PAN
Kathryn Beaumont as WENDY DARLING
Hans Conried as CAPTAIN HOOK
Bill Thompson as MR. SMEE
Paul Collins as JOHN DARLING
Tommy Luske as MICHAEL DARLING
Directed by: Clyde Geronimi,
Wilfred Jackson and Jamilton Luske
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It’s become standard operating procedures for the Disney company to keep cycling their classic films into the marketplace on the industry-standard format. Since the VHS wave has gone the way of the do-do, they are now working their way through the titles on DVD.
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Many of these selections you can still find on earlier DVD editions in video stores around the country. You probably won’t find the old ones for sale, unless you’re trolling through eBay or another online auction. However, if you’re in the market to pick up these classics on DVD, you can always take a stab at the newly re-issued special editions.
The latest Disney classic to hit DVD in a Platinum Edition is “Peter Pan.” Like most of the re-issued classics, this two-disc set comes with a wealth of special features. Many of the features are standard plays from the Disney DVD re-release library. Still, if you’re into Disney history and have a home theatre system to handle the newly remastered picture and sound, this is definitely a good bet to pick up...
...at least until the DVD format goes the way of the do-do and are replaced with a bigger and better format. (And no, I’m not talking about BluRay or HD-DVD, ‘cause those are simply modern equivalents of Betamax.)
One of the greatest things about these re-releases is that you can actually have a chance to enjoy the original movie again. After all, that’s the main reason you’ll rent or buy the DVD in the first place.
It’s been years since I’ve seen “Peter Pan.” I believe the last time I caught it was when it was in the theater, and I was on a high school date. (Side note: Disney movies make great date movies.)
“Peter Pan” has never been my favorite Disney film, but it has certainly grown on me as I approach middle age. This is to be expected, of course, since the movie has a lot for adults to relate to. While it’s a film about children, it’s also about a boy trying to evade growing up. Who hasn’t wished he could go back and be a kid again?
“Peter Pan” tells the story of the Darling family, namely their two young boys and a girl on the verge of adolescence. The trio of children are whisked away to Neverland by the impish Peter Pan. Here they have the opportunity to never grow up – like Peter – or to eventually return home to a normal life with their parents.
Chasing them down while in Neverland is Captain Hook, whose main goal in life is to do away with Peter Pan. Hook is relentless, going as far as to kidnap the children in order to lure Pan to his ship. Along the way, there are plenty of lighthearted and lovable characters, from Mister Smee the bumbling pirate lackey to the tick-tock croc who has been hunting Captain Hook ever since he got a taste of his hand.
And speaking of colorful supporting characters, I have to give a special shout-out to Tinkerbell, a Disney creation that I never fully appreciated as a child. She looks as great as ever (even if she does think her butt is too big), and I now understand the appeal of this film to the fathers... at least one aspect of it.
The two-disc DVD comes with new games and activities, including a Sudoku challenge for the kids. There are also other children-oriented features, including a DVD storybook, a virtual flight over London and a new music video performed by T-Squad.
For the animation aficionado, there’s a never-before-seen alternate opening, some deleted songs and a special “In Walt’s Words” presentation featuring the master himself revealing his inspiration to make “Peter Pan.”
Specifications: New digital restoration. Dolby Digital 5.1 enhanced home theater mix. Restored original theatrical soundtrack. Original theatrical aspect ratio (1.33:1). French and Spanish language tracks. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.