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Running Time: 77 Minutes
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Image Galleries, Games, Sneak Peak
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Enhanced Theater Mix, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Mono, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Chapter Selection
Released: March 6th, 2007
Presented in 1.33:1 full screen (the original theatrical aspect ratio), "Peter Pan" looks astounding, and makes me hope that every Disney animated film re-released on DVD in the near future gets simiar treatment. The image is incredibly sharp, with strong black levels and deep, pure color saturation &emdash; be it the blues of the ocean or the greens of Pan's outfit. Detail is also phenomenal, as the picture looks really smooth as each frame passes, you feel like it's just literally being put down in front of you after the artists have done their jobs. Quite simply, this is one of the absolute best DVD restorations I have ever seen and is sure to delight all those who check out the DVD.
Disney's 5.1 Enhanced Home Theater mixes have been hits and misses in the past in my opinion. I enjoyed the one on "The Lion King," but I was a bit underwhelmed by last October's "The Little Mermaid." Much to my relief and satisfaction, the new 5.1 mix for "Peter Pan" is pretty phenomenal. Dynamic range is pretty strong and fidelity is high, and the track doesn't have the "thinness" you sometimes get when you stretch out or "enhance" a mono track. The music sounds fully orchestrated and full of life through the channels, and the sound effects &emdash; be it the ticking of the clock, crocodile or Tink chiming in &emdash; actually hold significant weight. It may not be as discrete as a modern movie, but it captures one's ears without being distracting. And again, given the age of the film, it is impressive.
Thankfully for all us purists, the original mono track is included too. But given the film's age and source materail available, the 5.1 theater mix is pretty impressive, so take your pick. Also included are 5.1 mixes in French and Spanish, plus your usual English closed captions and subtitles.
The last time "Peter Pan" was released on DVD, it had a decent amount of features that were worth a look, but for this Platinum Series released, Disney has upped the ante again with some great new featurettes and documentaries. If you bought it once before, it looks like you might want to buy it again. (I should also note that all of what was included on the Special Edition last time around has been included here, too.)
On the first disc there is an Audio Commentary (one of the features available on the last PP DVD). It's hosted by the valuable Roy Disney, with contributions of Disney historian Leonard Maltin, and features plenty of the voice talent and artists spreading anecdotes around the film &emdash; including the man himself, Walt Disney. I am not usually a fan of these commentaries. While maticulously edited from so many sources, sometimes the comments are a bit irreverent or the fact there's so much talent it just feels a bit choppy. But not here. Given the variety of people included, there is a lot of insight going on that gives you a full spectrum of the process in making this animated classic. For animation buffs, it is worth a listen.
Then there are bits on the music. Two deleted songs are featured: "Pirates Song" and "Never Land" &emdash; the former in animatic format, and the latter as a performance from Paige O'Hara. The "Never Land" track also features comments from Richard Sherman after. Then there's some band called T-Squad, probably made up by marketing people at Disney, performing "The Second Star To The Right" in a music video. I bet the tweens will gobble it right up.
The featurette "You Can Fly: The Making Of Peter Pan," is worth a watch, as it discusses the origins of J.M. Barrie's stage play and features quite a bit on the voice casting of the film. "In Walt's Words: Why I Made Peter Pan," is also quite astounding and personal. Disney talks about his original exposure to the play via a magazine article from 1953. Pretty fascinating.
A clever touch is to give the ever-iconic Tinker Bell her own featurette, entitled "A Fairy's Tale." Personally, I would have loved if this extra was longer, but at 8 minutes, it's still quite a treat. Tinker Bell's history &emdash; through Barrie's words to silent cinema to the Disney feature &emdash; are here. I'm thinking more interviews and even more about her appeal would have made this entertaining piece even more grand.
"The Peter Pan Story" is a black and white piece that probably aired on TV when the film was originally released, which has its moments of insights and depths &emdash; giving off the feel of "oh, so this is how it's done &emdash; the wonder!" &emdash; but is a bit promotional in nature.
The other documentary, new to this DVD, is "The Peter Pan That Almost Was," which traces the film's characters, animated look and its script. It's a little dense, but in a good way. Like much of the featurettes here, I think this will probably appeal the most to the more mature audiences buying the DVD.
Also worth checking out are nine Image Galleries &emdash; there is a ton of stuff to view here, that will definitely interest fans of the movie and of animation.
Finally, the first disc has your usual sneak peeks from the Mouse House and some interactive games that will probably only interest the kiddies.
The third time is finally the charm for "Peter Pan," as this Platinum Edition really does the film's rich history and legacy justice with its abundance of supplements and fantastic presentation. I know it is early on in 2007, but given the superb audio and video restorations, and wonderful supplements, I highly anticipate that this new edition of "Peter Pan" will still be a highlight come the end of the year. A must own for any DVD library.