One of Disney's most famous efforts, "Peter Pan" tells the tale of a trio of kids who believe in the story of Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up. One night, Pan comes to visit the kids and take them off to Neverland, where the band have a run-in with Captain Hook, who became one of the most popular Disney villians. The animation is impressive throughout and the story/characters are definitely enjoyable for all ages.
VIDEO: On the second DVD release of "Peter Pan", Disney again presents the picture in its original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. While it's been a while since I've seen the original "Limited Edition" DVD release of the picture, I don't remember that edition looking as terrific as this new presentation does. Sharpness and detail are remarkable, considering the film's age. The picture has a smooth, crisp appearance that looks fresh and new.
Problems during the film remained very minor. A couple of minimal specks appeared on the print used, as well as a couple of instances of light grain. Considering the film's age though, I was impressed with how well either this film has been preserved or restored. Otherwise, edge enhancement and pixelation are also absent, adding to the picture's crisp, natural look.
Last, but certainly not least, colors were superb. They still looked bright and well-saturated after all these years, with no smearing or other flaws. Overall, while not the stunning presentation that "Snow White"'s DVD edition offered, this new edition of "Peter Pan" is a gem of a transfer that really shows off the film wonderfully.
SOUND: "Peter Pan" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 by Disney. As with similar repurposing of older audio presentations, the audio use remains appropriate and not very agressive. While the sound is opened up a bit, it very rarely ventures beyond the front speakers into the surrounds at all. Still, what I was more concerned about in a case like this is audio quality and, in this case, it was particularly good. While it's understandable that the audio doesn't sound as full as more recent pictures, it certainly doesn't sound "thin" or "edgy" either. Dialogue and music remained crisp and no distortion or other flaws were heard.
MENUS: Fun animated menus complete with score and nicely done film-themed images as backgrounds. The transitions between main and sub-menus seemed a bit long, but otherwise, these are a fun intro to the film.
Note: The DVD is supposed to include a coupon book as well as a movie ticket good for $6.00 off the price of admission to the "Pan" sequel, "Return To Neverland". I ended up with two copies of this title, one of which had a sticker on the front noting the coupon book inside, one of which didn't. The one without the sticker about the coupon book had the coupon book but not the movie ticket, while the one with the sticker didn't have the coupon book, but had the movie ticket.
Commentary: This is a commentary from Walt Disney, veteran animators Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Marc Davis and Ward Kimball, film historians Leonard Maltin, John Canemaker and Jeff Kurti, Tinkerbell live-action model Margaret Kerry and Wendy voice Katherine Beaumont. The commentary track is rather crowded, but it is also quite well-edited, so the non-screen specific track does flow quite nicely. There's also quite a lot of interesting tidbits about Disney animation during that time period as well as about the production of "Pan" itself.
Documentaries: Included are a pair of documentaries, one focusing on the history of "Peter Pan", while the other is the film's original promotional featurette. The newly made piece is, by far, the more interesting of the two, as it gives not only a look at "Pan" in Disney history, but it also shows several storyboards and other early concepts for the film.
Featurette: A promotional featurette about Disney's upcoming theatrical release of the "Pan" sequel, "Return To Neverland", is included.
Also: Still gallery, "Follow The Leader" sing-along, "Peter's Playful Prank" storybook, "Pirate Treasure Hunt" game as well as DVD-ROM weblinks.
Final Thoughts: "Peter Pan" is certainly a classic among animated films, with memorable characters, high energy and a very entertaining story. Disney has finally given the film a DVD that's close to the treatment the picture deserves: image/audio quality are both very good and the supplements are interesting and enjoyable. Recommended.
The Film ****
Video 92/A = (368/400 possible points)
Audio: 83/B = (332/400 possible points)
Extras: 83/B = (249/300 possible points)
Menus: 85/B = (170/200 possible points)
Value: 85/B = (255/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: ****
DVD GRADE: B