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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Fantasy > Literature > Children > Peter Pan - Platinum Edition (2-Disc DVD-Video Set)

Peter Pan - Platinum Edition (2-Disc DVD-Video Set)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: B+     Film: A



The 1953 classic Peter Pan has arrived on Disney DVD in an all new remastered 2-Disc Platinum Edition.  This re-release is a pleasant surprise, having been greatly overhauled since the earlier Special Edition release in 2002.  This film in 1953 was a pivotal time for the Disney Company in that it was the very last Disney Feature Film to be released by RKO Radio Pictures, as Disney established is own distribution company Buena Vista.  But nothing new, Disney has always been a forerunner and with the coming of Peter Pan Disney was about to create many more ‘firsts.’  Peter Pan prior to the Disney animated release was only performed as a play and for the animated feature many new venues could be explored.  In the play there was no Tinker Bell, only a stage light that traveled around; also there was no crocodile only an off-stage ‘ticking.’  The crocodile in Disney’s Peter Pan is one of the animated films key elements to make the film unforgettable.  Disney was able to infuse a whole new slew of characters to make this animated one of the most memorable classics of all time.


For those people who have lived in a cave for the past 100 years, here is a summation of the tale of Peter Pan.  Peter Pan tells the tale of a mischievous boy who refuses to grow up.  In his travels Peter visits the Darling family in order to hear the bedtime stories of Wendy, the Darling’s oldest child.  On the eve of the night that Wendy was to ‘grow up’ and move out of the nursery, Peter Pan pays another visit to retrieve his shadow that he has seemingly left behind.  Upon finding out about all of this ‘growing up’ nonsense, whisks Wendy and her two brothers Michael and John off to Neverland where they never have to grow up.  Once in Neverland the Darling children experience first hand the wrath of Captain Hook in daring escape.  In a fantasy filled world Peter Pan, the Lost Boys, and the Darlings have adventures full of Pirates, Mermaids, Indians, and much more.  Will Peter Pan defeat the evil Captain Hook?  Will the children ever grow up?  Will Tinker Bell stop obsessing over Peter?  Only time can tell…Now what is that ticking noise…uh oh!


The tale was always a tad politically incorrect, but that was never the intention of the story or this animated feature.  There are talks of a ‘woman’s place’ and Indians (with ethnic slurs on occasion), but it was how things were then and it makes the story even more lovable with its age.


Another interesting aspect of Peter Pan that many do not realize is that the animated stars of the film were inspired by real people.  Many think Tinker Bell was modeled after Marilyn Monroe, when actually it was a model named Margaret Kerry who inspired artist Marc Davis in his creation of Tinker Bell.  Also Peter Pan was inspired by a Disney regular named Bobby Driscoll, who also voiced Peter Pan.  A final inspiration worth mentioning is Captain Hook, who was modeled somewhat after the voice actor who played him Hans Conried.  Like the play suggests, the voice part of Captain Hook is also the voice of the Darling childrens’ strict father George Darling.  Interesting quirks flow throughout most Disney films, so keep your good eye out for them.


The technical aspects of this DVD are impressive and possibly one of the best Disney Platinum Editions yet.  The picture is presented in a nice 1.33 X 1 Full Screen that has been digitally remastered and is the best edition to date.  The colors are sharp, the picture does not seem washed at all like many restored animation films do, and there is little to no debris.  Overall, nicely restored and can not wait for a Blu-ray version.  It was also their 12th three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor release, something this DVD’s transfer hints at but is not always as colorful as.  Maybe the Blu-ray will be more like those prints.  The sound is in the standard Disney Platinum sound of a 5.1 surround Dolby Digital Enhanced Home Theater Mix that whooshes’ and ‘pops’ at the right moments, as well as the songs musical numbers of the film sounding the best they ever have.  This was originally theatrical optical mono which shows throughout, but the upgrade is impressive just the same.


The extras are great also on the Platinum Edition giving audiences a cornucopia of features.  Special Features include Disney games that are fun for kids and adults alike with such games as Sudoku Challenge and Tarrrget Practice (get it LIKE A PIRATE!).  Also included is a ‘Never Before Seen Alternate Opening’ which this reviewer found interesting but not as good as the original opening, Deleted Songs, an excellent ‘Why I made Peter Pan’ featurette starring Walt himself, and much more.  In the end, the technical aspects of this DVD are truly impressive and this reviewer is sure the upcoming Disney Classics on Blu-Ray will be even better.


Peter Pan is a classic and for years Disney has brought classics to life.  If each generation does not view this exceptionally fun and detailed animated feature, they are truly missing out on a masterpiece.



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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