'Peter Pan:' a classic Disney movie in retrospect
2013 marks the 60th anniversary of one of the most timeless and treasured family films of all time, Walt Disney's "Peter Pan."
The 14th feature length animated feature from the Walt Disney Studios, "Peter Pan" was released in 1953. An adaptation of J.M. Barrie's play of the same name, the film is fondly remembered as one of the quintessential Disney classics, forever embedded in the pop culture consciousness of Americans everywhere.
At its core, "Peter Pan" is the story of a boy who never wanted to grow up. Filled with classic memorable characters including the villainous pirates Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, the fairy Tinker Bell, the lost boys, the Darling children, and Peter Pan himself, as well as iconic songs "You can Fly!" and "The Second Star to the Right," the film is a classic.
The film and its characters have been staples of the Disney brand ever since the film's release. "Peter Pan's Flight," a favorite attraction at Disney theme parks, remains one of the few attractions present at Disneyland's opening day in 1955 still in operation. Captain Hook has notably been a favorite villain for many years, and until the arrival of one Mr. Jack Sparrow, was arguably Disney's most notable pirate. Tinker Bell in particular has been made into somewhat of an icon for the corporation, arguably their most notable mascot besides Mickey Mouse himself, compounded by the recent success of Tinker Bell's spin off "Fairies" franchise.
While the film itself is widely beloved, it is not without its fair share of criticism. Some Native American groups have been offended by the portrayal of the Indian tribe in the film. Others found Peter Pan himself to be somewhat unlikeable and arrogant, statements echoed by Walt Disney himself.
Detractions aside, the film remains a heartwarming classic, and the animation stands as a triumph of the early Disney Animated features.
This past week, the classic was rereleased on Blu Ray disc for the first time ever. The Walt Disney Company has cemented a reputation for making some of the very best Blu Ray discs on the market, particularly in regards to its treasured animated features. "Peter Pan" is no exception to that rule, with the disc featuring a spectacular restoration of the film and an outstanding audio remastering, in complete 7.1 surround sound for those with the available equipment. Special features from the past DVD release have been included with a few extras, notably a 40 min. documentary called "Nine Old Men" about Walt's core group of character animators. Those who think hanging onto their old DVD copy of the film should probably reconsider.
"Peter Pan" harkens back to a simpler time, when family films could truly be enjoyed by the entire family, completely devoid of double entendres, scene interrupting hip hop numbers, and toilet humor. While Pixar does its best, films such as these are much fewer and farther between these days, all the more reason for the quality family entertainment of Peter Pan to be treasured.
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