Peter Pan: Special Edition (1953)

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Released 13-Mar-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Animation & Audio
Storybook
Alternative Version-with read along/singalong subtitles
Music Video-Extracts from the film + two more
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes-Deleted Song sequence
Featurette-Lost song
Game-3 interactive games
Featurette-Making Of-2 one 1997, one 1953
Featurette-In Walt's Words
Featurette-Tinkerbell ; A Fairy's Tale
Featurette-The Peter Pan That Almost Was
Gallery-Photo-Over 400 images
Gallery-Poster
Featurette-Peter Pan's Virtual Flight
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1953
Running Time 74:22
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Clyde Geronimi
Wilfred Jackson
Hamilton Luske
Studio
Distributor
Disney
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Bobby Driscoll
Kathryn Beaumont
Hans Conried
Bill Thompson
Heather Angel
Paul Collins
Tommy Luske
Candy Candido
Tom Conway
Roland Dupree
Case ?
RPI ? Music Oliver Wallace
Donald Halliday
Phyllis Craig


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Dutch Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Dutch
Hindi
French Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The story of Peter Pan has been filmed many times for both television and the cinema including musicals, a silent film from the 1920s and a number of television productions. However, the Walt Disney animated classic from 1953 is probably the best known. This movie has previously been released in Region 4 and this link will take you to our review of the original release. The original version was released here in 2002 and was the equivalent of the second release in Region 1, known there as the Special Edition. This release is called the 2 disc special edition here and is the equivalent of the Platinum Edition in Region 1. See the R4 vs R1 section for a detailed comparison. Here is a comparison of the original Region 4 release and this 2 disc special edition.

  Original Region 4 release New 2-disc special edition
Video Very good quality transfer Completely new restoration which is a significant improvement but changes the colour scheme quite significantly.
Audio 5.1 remix at 384 Kb/s. Very good but not great. Has a bonus Audio Descriptive Track New 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theatre Mix. Excellent.
Extras Decent selection. Has a Pirate Treasure Hunt game which has been dropped from new edition Significantly improved selection including a deleted song, a lost song, 2 music videos, a read along version of the film, 3 new games, 3 new featurettes (one of which is excellent) and a Peter Pan virtual flight feature plus nearly everything which was on the other edition. See below for details

    On balance, this new edition is a huge improvement and is definitely worth considering for fans of the film even if they have the previous edition.

    In terms of the film itself, this is obviously a wonderful story about growing up and not wanting to. As I am sure you are aware it involves the story of a magical boy, Peter Pan who flies into the nursery of three children living in London early in the 1900s. He is accompanied by his friend, Tinkerbell who is a pixie. They have come to retrieve his shadow which he left there on a previous trip. The three children, Wendy, John & Michael believe in the stories they have heard about Peter Pan despite their father saying it is all rubbish. They agree to accompany Peter back to Neverland, a magical island where you never have to grow up. When they arrive they quickly find that there are other people living on the island besides the group of 'lost boys' who are trying to avoid growing up. Also on the island are a tribe of Indians, a ship full of pirates and some mermaids. The pirates are led by the fearsome Captain Hook who has had one hand replaced with a hook after Peter Pan cut it off and fed it to a crocodile. The crocodile wants to eat the rest of Captain Hook and follows him constantly. Luckily for Captain Hook, the crocodile has swallowed an alarm clock so it is easy to tell if he is coming. The children quickly become embroiled in island politics and get themselves into deep trouble, both with the pirates and the Indians.

    This is a wonderful children's adventure with a unique theme as it addresses the issue which faces all children at some point or another, whether or not it's time to grow up. Due mostly to its age, being made in the early 1950s (a production process which actually started in the late 1930s), there are some plot points and songs which are not really completely politically correct in this day and age both in terms of race relations and sexism, however, if you are not overly sensitive you can see past these minor issues. The only other thing I noted was that the story moved along very quickly and could have done with a little more running time to provide a little more explanation.

    Regardless, this is a classic animated film from Walt Disney's golden period which has been re-released in a greatly improved edition..

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 1.31:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.37:1. I was quite surprised when I measured this up at 1.31:1 so I checked it again. I can only guess that this is based on a desire to slightly overscan for a 4x3 display.

    The picture was very sharp and clear significantly better than footage included in the extras from the previous edition. I am not able to directly compare to the previous edition, however, based on the review I feel sure it is quite a big improvement. There was no evidence of low level noise.

    The colour was also excellent surprisingly vibrant for a film of this age but not to the point that it seems badly doctored. I would assume that some colour grading was done for this release however I do not feel it has been overdone. The restoration work was done by the same group who did the recent James Bond Ultimate Editions, I believe. Since I published this review a reader has sent me a link to an article on the difference in colour between the previous version and this, which is actually quite marked. You can read that article here.

    There are no artefacts.

    There are subtitles in English and English for the Hard of Hearing along with French, Dutch and Hindi. There are also subtitles for the director's commentary in French & Dutch. The English subtitles were excellent.

    There is no layer change during the movie.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, the same in French and a Dutch 5.1 track encoded at 384 Kb/s. Purists will be disappointed by the lack of the original mono soundtrack which is available on the equivalent Region 1 edition.This edition contains a new mix of the 5.1 soundtrack and would seem to be an improvement over the previous edition.

    Dialogue was excellent, very clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The wonderful music and songs sound very good indeed on this transfer.

    The surround speakers are used for some mild surround effects and for the music but are not overly obvious.

    The subwoofer was not used in any overtly noticeable way.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

   

    Despite there being a large selection of extras here, I felt that in comparison to other Disney reissues this one seemed a little lacking. I would have liked to have seen some detail about the animation techniques like there was on Bambi and some coverage of the restoration process would have been very interesting. Still a high quality set of extras though. I will cover the new extras in detail and just note what else is included. New extras are labelled **NEW**.

Menu

    The menu included  an intro, motion, music and is generally very well designed. The cursor uses a pixie dust motif.

Disc 1

Fast Play Option **NEW**

    Essentially this just means that if you insert the disc and select a language, the movie will start automatically. It pauses at one point to let you escape to the main menu should you so desire.

'Tinkerbell' Sneak Peak (2:24) **NEW**

    Basically a trailer for an upcoming movie focused on Tinkerbell. Ka-ching!

Disney Song Selection **NEW**

    This allows songs from the movie to be played separately with the notable exception of the dodgy non-PC one about the Indians.

Peter's Playful Prank

    This is a read along story which is a carry over from the previous edition. It's quite short, but my boys seemed to like it.

Commentary - Roy Disney and many others

    This commentary is the same as the one on the previous journey and is essentially a compilation of interview material from various cast & crew, historians, film critics and others. Some interesting information but not very scene specific. Its a 96 Kb/s mono track this time around.

Disc 2

Music & More

Deleted Song 'The Pirate Song' (2:22)**NEW**

    This is a scene and song deleted from the film which is shown here using rough drawings from storyboards. Interesting but nothing special.

Lost Song 'Never Land' (5:54)**NEW**

    A short featurette about a half completed song found in the archives which has recently been completed by one of the original songwriters and recorded by Paige O'Hara (the voice of Belle from Beauty & The Beast). The featurette is followed by the music video.

Music Video - 'Never Land' by Paige O'Hara (3:15)**NEW**

    This is really just a way to play the music video without watching the featurette. I cannot see why you would need to see it more than once anyway.

Music Video - 'The Second Star to the Right' by T-Squad (2:56)

    A modernised hip-hop style version of the song from the film featuring a very annoying kids group. Back to the dark cavern from which you came!

Games & Activities

Read Along - Peter Pan (77:32)**NEW**

    This is slightly odd but might be useful. It is the entire film with read-a-long/sing-a-long captions burnt into the picture. They highlight a word at a time like karaoke lyrics. Each caption is surrounded by a frame and includes an icon to indicate who is speaking. The running time is longer as this is an NTSC to PAL conversion.

Games**NEW**

    There are three games included which can be played as one thing or separately. They are

Backstage Disney

You Can Fly : The Making of Peter Pan (10:36)

    This 1997 featurette is a carry over from the previous edition. It goes through the process of production, why it took so long and how they used live models for the characters. There are some interesting interviews segments but overall its a very high level look.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This release is very similar to the Region 1 Platinum Edition.This Region 4 version (when compared to Region 1) misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    Region 1 is slightly better due to the inclusion of the original mono soundtrack although most buyers won't be too concerned.

Summary

    A classic animated film from Disney's golden age.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    A large quantity of extras are included of variable quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, April 13, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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