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Peter Pan: Diamond Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Review)

January 29, 2013 by  



For fans of this Walt Disney Animated Classic, “Peter Pan” will continue to entertain children and people today and tomorrow, as the film has done for the last 60-years.  And in the case of “Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” on Blu-ray, it’s the definitive version of the film to own!  Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Peter Pan: Diamond Edition

FILM RELEASE: 1953

DURATION: 77 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:33:1, English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G

Release Date: February 5, 2013

Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Jack Kinney

Play by J.M. Barrie

Story by Ted Sears, Erdman Penner, Bill Peet, Winston Hibler, Joe Rinaldi, Milt Banta, Ralph Wright, William Cottrell

Produced by Walt Disney

Music by Oliver Wallace

Edited by Donald Halliday

Featuring the Voices of:

Bobby Driscoll as Peter Pan

Kathryn Beaumont as Wendy Darling

Hans Conried as Captain Hook/Mr. Darling

Bill Thompson as Mr. Smee/Other Pirates

Heather Angel as Mrs. Darling

Paul Collins as John Darling

Tommy Luske as Michael Darling

Candy Candido as Indian Chief

Tom Conway as Narrator

The classic tale that taught us all “to believe” and first introduced us to the Darling children – Wendy, John and Michael – as they flew with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell past the second star to the right and straight on ‘till morning to the enchanted world of Never Land. Rediscover the magical adventure and relive childhood memories of this great bedtime story. 

In the early 1900’s, Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie would go on to create the character Peter Pan.

First appearing in the 1902 novel “The Little White Bird”, “Peter Pan” (a.k.a. “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”) would be featured in a stage play in 1904, to be followed by a novel titled “Peter and Wendy” in 1911.

For a  young Walt Disney, “Peter Pan” was one of Disney’s favorite stories growing up and back in 1935, he originally intended for “Peter Pan” to be the second Disney animated film after “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.  Problem was that it took a number of years for hi to get the rights from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, which J.M. Barrie gave the rights to.

And from the 1930’s and 1940’s, the film was being developed and many ideas for the storyline came into play, World War II would then delay “Peter Pan” into becoming an animated film as the U.S. military took control of the studio and had Disney working on propaganda films.

But eventually after 30-years of planning and delays, in 1953, “Peter Pan” would become the 14th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series line and the $4 million dollar film would go to earn $87 million in the box office.  With several video releases, a 2002 sequel titled “Return to Never Land” and CG animated films featuring Tinker Bell having been released on Blu-ray, “Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” will be released in HD on Blu-ray for the very first time in February 2013.

“Peter Pan” is set in Edwardian London where George and Mary Darling have three children, the eldest is Wendy, followed by John and Michael.

As the couple are preparing to attend a party, the two boys get in trouble by trying to act out a story of “Peter Pan” as told to them by Wendy.

George Darling is not so thrilled about the stories as he feels the children are getting out of hand and tells Wendy that she is getting too old to stay in the nursery with them and it’s time for her to grow up and have her own bedroom.

One night, as everyone has fallen asleep, Peter Pan and his little pixie, Tinker Bell, are trying to catch Pan’s shadow.  The shadow leads them to the home of the Darling’s and is hiding inside Wendy’s dresser. When Peter Pan goes to get back his shadow, he awakens Wendy and the children.

Excited to find out that Peter Pan is actually real, Peter Pan explains that he enjoys listening to her tell stories about him.  But not so happy is Tinker Bell, who is getting a bit jealous that Peter is talking to Wendy.

Meanwhile, a pirate ship that is near Never Land, with pirates commanded by Captain Hook are in discussion of plans for revenge against Peter Pan. Often directing his anger towards his sidekick, Mr. Smee, Hook wants revenge on Peter Pan for cutting of his hand (which was eaten by a crocodile).

And now Captain Hook wants to know the location of Peter’s hideout and the best person that may lead him there is Tiger Lily, the princess of the Indian tribe on the island of Neverland.

VIDEO:

“Peter Pan” is one of the most wonderful looking animated films that still looks magnificent 60-years-later.  The artwork is highly regarded by artists and although not realistic, you get a feel of a painted style, a brilliant artistic use of paint in animation brought to Disney’s attention. The film was in development for over two decades and the overall look of the film is even more impressive on Blu-ray.

“Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:33:1).  The colors are vibrant, the blacks are nice and deep and the character designs and animation look absolutely cute but also its lines are absolute clean.  But it’s how the artistic backgrounds and foregrounds compliments the animation is quite amazing!

“Peter Pan” has never looked this magnificent and I am impressed by how much of an upgrade this film looks compared to its previously awesome Platinum DVD release only four years ago.  There is no compression artifacts, no banding, no scratches or dust, it looks perfect!

If you love this film, you definitely need to upgrade to Blu-ray because “Peter Pan” looks fantastic in HD!

Because the film is presented in 1:33:1, once again, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment brings back the “DisneyView” featuring the art of Cristy Maltese, so instead of the black bars on the side, you can opt for colorful artwork that matches the scenes of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and also French and Spanish Dolby Digital  Language Tracks.  It’s important to note that Disney chose to go with High Resolution audio over lossless DTS-HD Master Audio.  But the audio is still fantastic as the music sounds so much crisper than it has ever sound before.

The soundtrack is not totally immersive, but there is good use of the surround channels during the action portions of the film.  Needless to say, this is a wonderful lossless high resolution soundtrack and the best I have heard of “Peter Pan”.

As for subtitles, subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” come with the following special features:

  • Storybook App – An app for your children to access coloring pages, puzzles, music, memory games and more.
  • Disney Intermission – Anytime you watch the film and press pause, you get a random interactive moment during the menu pause.
  • Introduction – (1:09) Featuring an introduction by Diane Disney Miller.
  • Disney View – While watching the film, you can add Disney View on the sides of the film featuring the artwork of painter Cristy Maltese.
  • Growing Up with Nine Old Men – (41:08) Walt’s original nine artists for Disney is well-known.  But what about their personal lives?  Ted Thomas, a son of one of the original artists, visits other children of the “Nine Old Men” to discuss how was life growing up with their father.
  • Deleted Scenes and Songs – Featuring two deleted scenes: The Journey Home and Alternate Arrival and two deleted songs: “Never Smile at a Crocodile” and “The Boatswain Song”
  • Disney Song Selection – Featuring the songs “The Second Star to the Right”, “You Can Fly”, “A Pirate’s Life”, “Following the Leader” and “Your Mother and Mine”.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring the original audio commentary by Roy Disney.
  • Deleted Song – (2:22) The Pirate Song
  • Never Land: The Lost Song – (2:39) Richard M. Sherman talks about this lost song.
  • Music Video –  “Never Land” – (3:16) Performed by Paige O’Hara
  • Music Video –  “The Second Star” – (1:03) Performed by T-Squad.
  • You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan – (15:59) The behind-the-scenes story of how the story of Peter Pan would become an animated film.
  • In Walt’s Words – “Why I Made Peter Pan” – (7:46) Introduced by Ron Clements and John Musker, an audio of Walt Disney’s article of why he created “Peter Pan”.
  • Tinker Bell: A Fairy’s Tale – (8:27) The history of Tinker Bell.
  • The Peter Pan That Almost Was – (21:01) Ron Clements and John Musker introduce viewers to the various ideas that went into creating Peter Pan over its many years of being developed.
  • That Peter Pan Story – (12:04) A classic black and white documentary or newsreel of “Peter Pan”.

The story of “Peter Pan” is classic.  A boy who never wanted to grow up, Neverland and the battle between Peter and Captain Hook is known to Disney fans.  But during the time that “Peter Pan” was being developed by Walt Disney, suffice to say that “Peter Pan” was a story that captivated many readers and those who watched the play during the first half of the 20th century.

The film captures the innocence of children and the wanting of staying young, so you don’t have to grow up and worry about the things that teenagers or adults do.   But “Peter Pan” is also a film that showcases the classic Disney era that showcases amazing use of color, art background with tremendous detail.  Audiences were entertained by this animated film as it continued the visual artistry of the crew who worked on Disney films at that time.

While the animated film differs from its counterpart featured in the novels and the storyline was not as deep, it was an animated film that people needed to see.  Especially several years after World War II, people wanted to be entertained and not necessarily needing something deep or emotional.  The story was kept simple but yet, you are captivated by the film because whether you are a child or a child at heart, it’s that adventure of being a child and experiencing a magical world is quite fun. A lot of us have felt that moment where you know your child years are ending and not wanting to grow up.  So, one can easily understand the characters of this film, but also enjoy the adventures of Peter Pan, Wendy, her brothers and the Lost Boys.

For those of us who grew up with the film, the film is nostalgic.  Sure, not everyone will be pleased.  As there are some who are very critical of how the Native Americans were portrayed in the film and then there are those who see characters to be sexist.  Tinker Bell as the vindictive, jealous female who will go as far to have Wendy killed because she doesn’t like women around Peter Pan.

But this where good parenting comes in, to help children understand how times have changed and explain to them about it.  Some can cry foul and how these classic film can be pushed off as entertainment for children, but once again, these classic animated films were a product of its time.  Because there will be many films, from silent films, classic animated film to top films from the ’50s and ’60s and even films made today that people will find a problem with certain content.  It’s about knowing what is right or wrong and teaching your children and having them learn from it.

As for the Blu-ray release, the Walt Disney stamp of approval of releasing these classic films in the best quality as possible continues with “Peter Pan: Diamond Edition”, the film looks absolutely pristine in HD.  There is nothing about the film that makes you think it was created before 1953.  The colors are vibrant, there are no blemishes that can be seen.

I know that with the “Platinum Edition”, there were some who felt the picture quality was changed slightly but from my own personal viewing, the film looked colorful, detail of the backgrounds and environments looked amazing and I saw no problems with artifacts or banding.  The film looked fantastic!   And that goes with the audio as well.  And for a Diamond Edition release, you would expect a plethora of special features and you do get a good number.  Some that are new and many from the past release.

Growing up, “Peter Pan” and “Captain Hook” were classic characters that showcased good vs. evil.   While I enjoyed the film as a child, I must admit that it is not the most memorable Disney film nor is it a film that I watch often.  I know that my wife enjoyed the film and can remember lyrics to the songs to this day, but for me it was more about nostalgia and watching it again with our child, who enjoyed the film.

The animation for “Peter Pan” still holds up to this day and with this Blu-ray release, I’m quite pleased with the Diamond Edition as it continues to carry the quality that Disney has done previously with their Walt Disney Animated Classics series on Blu-ray and really giving fans what they want in terms of pristine picture quality, crisp lossless audio and a plethora of special features.

For fans of this Walt Disney Animated Classic, “Peter Pan” will continue to entertain children and people today and tomorrow, as the film has done for the last 60-years.  And in the case of “Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” on Blu-ray, it’s the definitive version of the film to own!  Highly recommended!

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