Peter Pan II: Return to Neverland (2002)
Menu Animation & Audio
Read Along-Disney Story Time: Never Land's New Hero
Game-Rescue The Lost Boys Adventure Game
Music Video-I'll Try-Jonatha Brooke
Featurette-Pluto's Fledgling Cartoon
Featurette-Art Attack - How To Make Your Own Island
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (62:18)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Robin Budd|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Ah, the sequel, so beloved of Hollywood. If the original made money, then obviously the sequel will - won't it? There's a time span, perhaps during the first year of a film's release, when sequels generally start production. Normally, if a film makes it past that point, it's fairly safe from getting a sequel. Not completely safe, though. This sequel comes a little later than that. If they'd taken a few more months, it would have been fifty years from the date of the original - that would have been nice.
Return to Never Land (the cover reads: "Peter Pan in Return to Never Land", but I'm leaving the review title as is so the titles group together in alphabetical order) is a sequel to Peter Pan. The original was considered an example of some of the best animation done in its day. This, naturally, put up a challenge to the animators. Should this film be an example of the best animation available today? Or should it be faithful to the style of the original? Hard choice. The problem is that today's state-of-the-art (witness Final Fantasy, for example) is so advanced that it is getting very close to photo-realistic - it almost doesn't look animated at all. That would be a very jarring contrast with the original, so I'm very glad they didn't go that way. The style they've chosen is fairly faithful to the original, but using a lot of today's technology to simplify things and improve them. The Jolly Roger (Hook's ship) looks much better, for example. I think they chose wisely.
This story opens with the final scene from Peter Pan, with Wendy looking out the window as Peter sails back to Never Land with her sighing, and promising never to forget him. She grows up, marries, and has children of her own (I note she's still living in the same house), and tells them stories of Peter Pan. World War II starts (strange, I thought the original was set earlier than that - around the turn of the century), and her husband goes off to war, asking Jane, the elder child, to look after her mother and baby brother, Daniel. The war drags on, and Jane grows a little in height, and considerably in her sense of responsibility. She feels she doesn't have time for stories of Peter Pan any more, especially when she and Daniel are about to be evacuated to the country for safe-keeping. Naturally, this is the time that Captain Hook shows up and kidnaps her, believing her to be Wendy...
It's a simpler storyline than the older one, and a bit more serious, but it comes down to the same themes, expressed in one of the songs as "faith, and trust, and pixie dust". Jane's dark moment of despair is captured nicely in the song "I'll Try" - a poignant number from Jonatha Brooke (no, that's not Jonathan misspelled - perhaps her parents wanted a boy?).
This is most emphatically a sequel, and it lives up to that name by not being as good as the original, but the original was rather special, so that still leaves scope for this film to be rather nice. Not worth getting unless you have the original, but worthwhile if you do have it.
This film was released this year, so we should expect an impressive transfer - it's pretty good.
The cover claims that the transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, 16x9 enhanced. So I was expecting black bars on either side of the image. Something's gone wrong! They left the black bars off my copy. The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced - that nicely fills a widescreen display. Interestingly, the theatrical aspect ratio was 1.85:1, but the R1 DVD really is 1.66:1. Looks like we got a better deal than they did.
The image is sharp and clear, nicely drawn and shaded. There's no low level noise.
Colour is excellent, with lots of bright cheerful colours, and no colour-related artefacts.
There are no film artefacts - not a single one. Sounds impressive? Well, there are suggestions that this was a direct digital transfer, so no film was involved - so one might hope there were no film artefacts!
There is more than a little aliasing, see 40:12 for an example. Otherwise, there are no artefacts. This is a very clean transfer.
There are subtitles in English, both simple subtitles and captions. I watched the captions all the way through, and sampled the subtitles extensively. Both are clear, easily read, rather accurate, and well-timed.
The disc is single-sided, RSDL, with the layer change at 62:18. This is perfect placement - it is at the silent fade-to-black between the end of the film proper and the start of the credits.
The soundtrack is provided only in English, in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and in dts 5.1. I listened to the dts soundtrack all the way through, and sampled the Dolby Digital sound extensively. I had difficulty picking any difference between the two, although I think the Dolby Digital track sounded a little better during the air raid (better definition to the bombs).
The dialogue is clear and easily understood. There are no audio sync problems.
The score, by Joel McNeely, is perfectly adequate, but will never win awards for originality (not that that is a problem). I must say I liked the octopus quoting the crocodile theme from the original movie.
The surrounds are used intermittently for directional sound (very nicely, too), but spend a lot of time providing depth for the soundfield, and doing so well. The subwoofer is not used heavily, but this is not an action movie - it supports the air raid and Hook's cannon fire - but the rest of the time it is limited to rumbling and the lowest octave of the score, which it does well.
|Surround Channel Use|
There's an assortment of extras on this disc, some for small children, some for older children (including children over 40...).
All the menus are animated, with music.
This is a storybook, presented a page at a time, with options of having it read to you, or reading it for yourself. There's only one or two short lines of text on each page.
This is a fairly simple game played with the DVD remote, where you have to find the Lost Boys and the treasure before you are found by three pirates. Not complex, but may amuse young children for a while.
Two deleted scenes with introduction and afterword by a producer and the executive in charge of production. The scenes are:
The scenes are shown in a variety of stages: storyboard, sketch outline, and close to final animation. The comments are interesting, and not over long, but the footage of them is riddled with Gibbs ringing.
After a few words of introduction from Jonatha Brooke we get a fairly conventional music video, mixing footage of the recording session (in 1.33:1), with footage from the movie (in 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced)
A short cartoon, made in 1947, that has nothing to do with the rest of the disc. It's presented in superb condition - beautifully restored. There are no film artefacts. The sound is not good, though, but because there is no speaking, that's not a huge problem. A very nice extra.
Art Attack is a short segment presented on the UK Disney Channel (and, apparently, on the Australian Disney Channel). It encourages children to be artistically creative. Not a bad idea, but the presenter uses some terms of UK dialect that may be unfamiliar to Australian children - for example, he refers to "loo roll" instead of "toilet paper" - and he is speaking quickly in something of an accent.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 version was released in August 2002. It is missing:
The Region 4 version is missing:
I think that we get the better aspect ratio. That, plus the dts soundtrack and the cartoon, make me think that we've received the better deal this time.
Return To Neverland is a decent sequel on an excellent DVD.
The video quality is fairly high, limited only by aliasing.
The audio quality is excellent.
The extras are ample and rather satisfying.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|