Think of a wonderful film...any happy little film...and this might pop into your head @ 15 February 2013 07:49 PM
With Peter Pan, Walt Disney enjoyed something he could not with Alice in Wonderland, even though both were established through books, plays and other versions. While Alice defied interpretation (though I contend Disney's still comes the closest of all films), Peter Pan seemed to work perfectly as a Disney animated feature and has been one of the studio's most consistent crowd-pleasers.
Except for the "What Made the Red Man Red" sequence, which veers precariously into politically incorrect territory (especially the song lyrics), Disney's Peter Pan is very contemporary in many ways, particularly in its approach to the story as part fairy tale / part Archie comics triangle. I say this as a compliment, as I love Archie comics and the infinite way they expound on a series of simple themes, particularly the love triangle.
In Disney's Peter Pan, the little girls all seem to have matured into young ladies eager to be the one who captures Peter's heart. Wendy is like Betty, Tinker Bell is more like Veronica. (I guess that might make Hook like Reggie).
In a way, Peter isn't so much a child who doesn't want to grow up, he's an adolescent who doesn't want puberty to hit, much as today;s young boy whose voice is changing might keep choosing video games over girls until nature takes its course (though he never gives up the video games even as an adults). This Archie-like love triangle is standard operating procedure for much of today's youth-targeted films and TV, as it is in many grown up rom-coms.
One of the most interesting among the many bonus features (this one from the earlier DVD release) is a storyboard of a deleted sequence in which Wendy and Peter are about to part and the dialogue gets so romantic it might have been a scene from An Affair to Remember.
Speaking of bonus features, those who are not into Blu-rays will notice from the list below that the lion's share of extras are now only on the Blu-ray. You might want to keep the 2007 edition just in case.
However, unless you get the Blu-ray Diamond Edition, you're missing a lot of wonderful, colorful "Mary Blairyness," in addition to other magnificent sights in the crisp, vivid Blu-ray picture. (You can also get it with a digital download disc and storybook app.) I love the scene in "Following the Leader" in which the boys march into a field that towers over their heads. The bright yellow is striking.
By the way, the singers of that song are the Bob Mitchell Choir, who sang in Going My Way, The Flying Nun and hundreds of other Hollywood TV shows and movies. The late Bob Mitchell also used to play the organ at ball games.
And that flying sequence -- I don't care how 3-D movies get, there is nothing like that last flight off Big Ben out over London and into the otherwordly dimension where Never Land exists. One of the best aspects of Disney's version is how it avoids being literal about dream versus reality. Everything is nicely vague and left to the imagination. Too many films ground everything in a stark reality -- even fantasy films!
Besides the delightful feature, don't miss the 40-minute featurette, "Growing Up with Nine Old Men," another holdover feature from the earlier release. It's a charming, warm and memorable way to get to know the families and lives of these great artists in a very human way, thanks to Ted Thomas, son of animator Frank Thomas.
Blu-ray-Only Bonus Features
Growing Up with Nine Old Men
Deleted Scenes: The Journey Home; Alternate Arrival
Deleted Songs: Never Smile at a Crocodile; The Boatswain Song
Classic Bonus Features (from previous release):
• Disney Song Selection
• Audio Commentary
• Deleted Song: The Pirate Song
• Never Land: The Lost Song
• Never Land Performed by Paige O'Hara
• Second Star to the Right - T-Squad
Classic Backstage Disney (from previous release):
• You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan
• In Walt's Words; Why I Made Peter Pan
• The Peter Pan That Almost Was
• The Peter Pan Story
2013 DVD & Blu-ray Bonus Features
• Intro by Diane Disney Miller
• Tinker Bell: A Fairy's Tale
Also, the superb soundtrack album is available on DVD, there's a new "Songs & Story" version and a new edition of Disney's "Lost Chords" series (with digital booklet by Disney artist/historian Russell Schroeder) available for download, in which several deleted songs are presented in their original demos and in new stereo versions.
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