Peter Pan was always one of those Disney films I never had the chance to see too often, as I would catch bits and pieces of it when it happened to air on TV or would get to see it over a friend’s house when I was a kid. Now, after all this time and thanks to the power of technology, I’m finally getting to see it the way it was meant to be seen – and perhaps even better than that – with the incredible Peter Pan: Diamond Edition Blu-ray set. Disney really sprinkles the high-definition magic over this certified classic, as it features a beautifully remastered picture, memorable songs and some pretty high-tech extras.
In the end it’s the engaging story of Disney’s 14th animated feature, and those who enjoy and appreciate many of the older Disney library of films, or happen to be fans of J. M. Barrie’s classic stories, or perhaps just love great animated movies are sure to feel like they’re flying when viewing this 1953 masterpiece on Blu-ray.
The classical story starts off with a young girl named Wendy Darling being visited by the famous flying boy we all know and love from Never Land, Peter Pan. He comes to her London home in search of his shadow which the family dog nabbed as he eavesdropped one night listening to Wendy telling her younger brothers some bedtime stories. After telling her about Never Land, Peter offers to take Wendy there and introduce her to the Lost Boys who live there that never grow up and devote their lives to adventuring. Wendy agrees to go only if her brothers can come along, and all of them set off for adventure as they meet a band of pirates and a tribe of Indians who both want to capture the children. But the main villain of the film is the infamous Captain Hook who’ll stop at nothing to get his revenge on Peter for the lost of his hand years before, which leads to one fun adventure after another that families are sure to enjoy.
As with most of the Disney classics, I enjoyed myself watching Peter Pan, as viewing the classic animation combined with a great voice cast and catchy songs (“You Can Fly” is sure to win viewers over) was a treat in itself. And thanks to a beautiful restoration it’s made even better watching it in high-definition on Blu-ray, even preserving the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with rich colors and detail, making for a solid image throughout the presentation. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 audio is just as great, making sure every fun piece of dialogue and music is heard with crystal clarity.
The extras also bring some magic to this Blu-ray, as Diane Disney Miller, Walt’s Disney’s daughter, provides a nice introduction to the Blu-ray. There’s the usual audio commentary that features the late Roy Disney along with some various famous Disney animators and personalities. Some deleted scenes and songs are also featured that show off an alternate beginning and ending to the film, along with two fun songs that didn’t make the cut. The biggest and perhaps most interesting extra on here is the “Growing Ip with Nine Old Men” feature, a 40-minute documentary that explores the lives of some of the famous Disney animators and their families. It’s even more poignant considering that Peter Pan was the last film that saw all of them working together, and Ted Thomas (son of legendary animator Frank Thomas) travels around the country to interview several of the men’s children who share their experiences of living and growing up with the animators.
While it does come off a bit rushed as they try to cram in as many interviews as they can into 40 minutes, it’s still a very interesting and thoughtful extra that could’ve used more just a little more time and polish. Rounding out the extras are some sing-a-longs, a couple of classic Disney cartoon shorts, a storybook app for kids to enjoy on iOS devices and more.
There’s plenty of fun and adventure to be had with Disney’s Peter Pan: Diamond Edition Blu-ray, from both the film and the exciting extras sprinkled throughout. Unquestionably the most beloved adaptation of J. M. Barrie’s classic stories of the boy who never grew up, Disney’s version has imprinted itself on our collective memory for good reason; the characters are still charming, the songs unforgettable, and you’ll definitely want to visit Never Land again and again. If you’re looking for a great film for the family, or just enjoy classic movies, you’ll want to think of some happy thoughts and fly on down to your local store to add this to your collection.
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Walt Disney Studios