Peter Pan is one of the greatest of Walt Disney’s original classic animated features. This animated take on Sir James M. Barrie’s classic literary work may not stay entirely true to the original. But what movie ever adapted from a book ever does or has? Considering that, one is left wondering what exactly it is that makes this adaptation of Barrie’s classic story so timeless on screen. The very first aspect of the movie’s success is a simple one that is echoed in the 2004 movie, Finding Neverland. Johnny Depp plays Barrie in the movie. At one point in the movie, he notes that once a person loses their childhood, their innocence, it’s gone. Peter Pan really shows that Walt Disney was perhaps himself just a big kid in an adult’s body. Thus audiences got the final product of fourteen years’ work that so many still love today. Wendy’s father states before she goes off to Neverland that everybody has to grow up. Sure, everybody has to grow up. But that doesn’t mean that in growing up, everybody has to lose at least some sense of their childhood. It’s that element of childhood after all, that helps establish the suspension of disbelief that makes this story timeless.
Peter Pan is the embodiment of the belief that while we all have to grow up, we should never completely lose our childhood. That is the most important aspect of Peter Pan’s success. It’s an excellent reminder both for kids and their parents across generations. That aspect is but one part of what makes it timeless. Another aspect that makes this adaptation such a success is its animation. As is the case with Disney’s other early animated features, this feature stands out because of its entirely original hand drawn animation. The colors used throughout the feature are so rich and vibrant. They make the story feel “alive.” By comparison, so many of today’s “animated” features are crafted through computers. In turn, they all feel sterile and look alike. Animation through this venue takes away any identity from said features. But true hand drawn animation gives classics such as this one its own identity and life. It’s a stamp of originality so to speak. And it’s something that once again is examined in the bonus features included in the brand new triple disc Diamond Edition of Peter Pan.
The new triple-disc Diamond Edition of Peter Pan offers a whole new generation the same joy that was offered to their parents and grandparents. The inclusion of the bonus features will also offer a whole new appreciation to parents who originally watched it as kids themselves. It discusses the importance of the hand drawn animation through the new feature, “Growing Up With Nine Old Men.” This feature is a culmination of sorts from bonus features on previous Disney re-issues. It offers a glimpse at the lives of Disney’s famed “Nine Old Men” from the vantage point of those who were closest to them; their own children. Their children discuss the hard work and long hours put into making Disney’s classic films, Peter Pan included. Audiences will appreciate learning that one of the “Nine Old Men” was not just an illustrator, but a true artist. He was a painter outside of his job. His daughter explains his attention to detail in his paintings just as he did with his art for Disney’s films. It’s just one of the bonus features that audiences will appreciate with this latest re-issue.
If the discussion on Disney’s “Nine Old Men” wasn’t enough to earn new appreciation for Peter Pan, perhaps the short feature on Tinkerbell, “Tinkerbell: A Fairy’s Tale” will do the trick. Audiences get a glimpse into the woman who was the original inspiration for Tinkerbell as well as Tinkerbell herself being an example of a progressive woman. As is noted, she represented a very independent, strong and strong willed woman who would eventually become the basis for so many of Disney’s modern princesses. As short as this feature is, had a person not watched it before, then watching it now with the movie’s new re-issue will show just how far ahead of everything this movie is simply through this factor. And hopefully it will develop a new appreciation among audiences who had otherwise never considered Tinkerbell’s overall importance before. It’s just one more of so many features included in the new re-issue that exemplify why Peter Pan always has been and always will be a timeless family film both in the world of Disney and in the movie industry as a whole.
The brand new triple-disc diamond edition of Peter Pan will be available next Tuesday, February 5th. It will be available in stores and online. It can be ordered direct via Disney’s online store at http://disneydvd.disney.go.com.
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