Peter Pan (1953)

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Released 19-Mar-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-The Peter Pan Story (Orig 1952 Theatrical Promo Featurette)
Audio Commentary-Roy Disney et al
Gallery-Abandoned Concepts (6); Character Development (23)
Gallery-Visual Development (33)
Storybook-Peter's Playful Prank
Game-Pirate Treasure Hunt
Karaoke-Following The Leader
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1953
Running Time 73:51
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Hamilton Luske
Clyde Geronini
Wilfred Jackson
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring None Given
Case DV-4
RPI $34.95 Music Edward Plumb
et al


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Greek Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Arabic Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
Greek
Arabic
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Walt Disney is remembered for many things, including his remarkable theme parks and his TV show, but he is perhaps best remembered for his animated feature films. Snow White and Cinderella are rightly famous, but so is Peter Pan.

    Disney felt a special attachment to the Peter Pan project. He initiated it in the 1930s, after Snow White had been released, but it was interrupted by the Second World War. When it finally reached the screen, it had been in development for two decades. It's hard to guess what it cost in dollar terms, and it's difficult to translate that into today's terms. Suffice it to say that this was not a cheap project.

    The extras on this disc give you some of the background to this movie. They discuss the origin of the story, Disney's involvement, and some of the twists it went through. Interestingly, there's no discussion of what happened after the movie was released. I think it's fascinating that decades later, a Star Trek movie, made by a studio not associated with Disney, used the famous line: "second star on the right, and straight on 'til morning". Perhaps that's an indication of the penetration of this film into popular culture - that a scriptwriter would consider it likely that this line would still be remembered after centuries. That scriptwriter could well be right...

    In case you haven't seen this movie (or read the book, or seen the pantomime, ...), then a brief summary is in order. Peter Pan is said to be a story about a boy (Peter Pan) who never grows up. Peter is a boy who has adventures. His best friend is a pixie (more like a fairy) called Tinkerbell - she doesn't talk, she just makes bell-like sounds. Peter has been listening to the stories told by Wendy Darling to her brothers, mainly because they are adventure stories about him. When Wendy is told that she must grow up, he intervenes, and takes her to Never Land so she can tell stories to his friends, the Lost Boys.

    There are elements of Peter Pan which are no longer politically correct, the treatment of the "Injuns" being the most obvious. But, this is part of the culture from which this film came. It is set in the first decade of the 1900s, and the Darling family live a lifestyle that no longer exists. When you explain about the nursery, and the nanny, and gas lighting, you might as well explain how real Native Americans aren't the way they are depicted in this movie.

    The style of this animation shows its age - it is quite simple, but attractive.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is therefore not 16x9 enhanced. This was originally presented in the Academy ratio of 1.37:1, so this is perfectly acceptable..

    The picture is fairly sharp and quite clear. Shadow detail is a nonsense with animation, so I won't attempt to assess it, except to say that there's quite a range of brightness. There's no low level noise.

    Colour is excellent. They aren't quite as vivid as can be achieved in modern animation, but that suits the mood of this film - basically they are a little subdued, but only a little. There's certainly no oversaturation or colour bleed.

    OK, this film is 50 years old. What would you expect in the way of artefacts? Yeah, me too. Well, we're wrong! There are NO film artefacts - none at all! There's no moire. There is no significant aliasing, even with the black lines around every character. There is a very small amount of MPEG shimmer, but that is the only artefact, and it is virtually inevitable with the watercolour backgrounds used. Clearly this film has been stored unbelievably well, or beautifully and lovingly restored. Whatever - let's just be grateful.

    There are subtitles in three languages: English, Greek, and Arabic (an interesting selection). I only watched the English ones. They are accurate, well-timed, and fairly easy to read.

    The disc is both single-sided (picture label), and dual layered, but there is no layer change in the movie - they have managed to fit the movie entirely on layer 0, and I suspect the extras lie mostly on layer 1.

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

Audio

    There are five soundtracks, including Greek and Arabic. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and the commentary. I sampled the English Descriptive soundtrack. This last is the regular soundtrack overlaid with a cultured English voice (female) describing what's on-screen - intended for the visually impaired, I assume.

    Dialogue is easy to understand. Audio sync is a bit of a nonsense with animation, but the characters' mouths move at the right times.

    The score is broken up into songs and orchestrations. The orchestrations are by Edward Plumb, but the songs are not limited to a single composer - in fact there are seven credits for the songs: Sammy Fain, Sammy Cahn, Oliver Wallace, Frank Churchill, Erdman Penner, Winston Hibler, and Ted Sears. When you understand that many songs were composed during the twenty years the film was in development, it is understandable that there were many composers involved.

    The main soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1, but it is unsurprising that there is little in the way of surround sound - this was originally a mono soundtrack. The surround speakers do deepen the soundfield a little, but they get very little to do. The subwoofer gets nothing significant to do. The soundtrack does not include much in the way of deep register sound.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is animated with music and some fancy transitions. This menu must use some complex coding, because there are distinct pauses at times while the DVD player is working out what to do. Have a little patience, and it will behave itself. It looks as if different parts of the menu code lie on different layers - that would explain the pauses.

Featurette - Making of Peter Pan (10:36)

    This is quite interesting - it relates the history of the stage play that preceded the movie. It is a little spotty - clearly not looked after with quite the same care as the film, even if it was made in 1997!

Featurette - The Peter Pan Story (12:05)

    This is the original "making of" - it was made in 1952.

Still Frame Gallery

    This is a novel concept - one that I have not seen before. There are eight pages to the gallery, each containing a number of thumbnail images - you can highlight a thumbnail (just as one might pick a scene in the Scene Selection) and press Enter to see the image full size. Nicely done. There is one page of Abandoned Concepts, three pages of Character Development, and four pages of Visual Development.

Storybook - Peter's Playful Prank

    A storybook with a short sentence under each picture - you can read to yourself, or have the story read to you.

Game - Pirate Treasure Hunt

    A trivia game for children, based on events in the film..

Singalong - Following the Leader (2:32)

    A singalong that's less than perfect - some of the words appear and disappear too quickly..

Audio Commentary - Roy Disney and many others

    This is quite an interesting commentary, with a vast plenty of participants, including some of the animators, and some of the voice actors. Some of the voice actors doubled as live-action models for the animators - they weren't rotoscoped, but rather simply acted as guidance to the animators. One interesting point about the voice actors was the Disney often hired radio actors, because they had more experience at voice acting.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 is very similar to the R4. It has everything that's on the R4, but it also has a number of trailers for other Disney DVDs. There are five advertisements before the menu, which I find annoying, but at least you can chapter skip through them (or just hit Menu). There is also a Sneak Peeks section on the main menu, which lets you watch those trailers, and three more.

    The video quality on the R1 disc is equivalent to the R4, as is the audio. Really, there's nothing to tell between the two, except that the R4 has the video description track (the R1 does not), and Greek and Arabic in sound and subtitles. The R1 has Spanish and French.

Summary

    Peter Pan is a children's classic, presented superbly on DVD.

    The video quality is excellent, limited only by the quality of the original animation.

    The audio quality is very good, but is limited by the source material.

    The extras are many, with some clearly aimed at children, and others at the nostalgic adult.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, May 03, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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