Sunday, June 16, 2013


Feeling bad that I wasn't able to review the silent version of Peter Pan directed by Herbert Brenon, I'm going to review the Peter Pan film that drew inspiration from it.

Peter Pan is a boy who doesn't want to grow up and he takes a girl named Wendy and her brothers John and Michael to the world of "Neverland" where no one grows up. The world is filled with Pirates, Indians, Mermaids, Fairies, a giant hungry crocodile and a group of adventurous boys called The Lost Boys. This film nearly has everything that kids love and has a great balance of stuff for boys and stuff for girls.
  While Peter is the title character, let's be honest, the real star and focus of the film and story is Wendy. We see most of the things happening from her point of view; we get to know her better than Peter; and on top of it, she's the only character in the film to actually have development. When we first see her, she acts all childish and fun, but once she gets to "Neverland"; she at first finds it to be a great escape from growing up, but throughout her stay, she begins to realize how uncivilized and unbalanced life would be if humanity didn't grow up and while maturing, she does keep her child side with her. That's a great moral and character development to this character and the character herself is defiantly identifiable and relatable. Wendy is voiced by Kathryn Beaumont (Who you may remember her voice from the Disney animated film "Alice In Wonderland") and her voice acting makes the character just as lovable as her performance as Alice.

Our hero Peter is another one of Disney's ultimate heroes. He's smart, clever, a real good prankster, knows how to fight, and above all, "he can fly"! Yeah there are times when he's a bit of a jerk, but come on, he never grew up and still remains as a likable hero. He is voiced by Disney child star Bobby Driscoll and yes while sounding like a 50's kid, he still brings the charm and fun to his character. Oh and his crow, is the best Pan crow I ever heard. I'm so glad that there isn't a song about him crowing.

Our main villain in the film is Captain Hook. Let's be honest, when you hear the name Captain Hook, the image that most of us get is the Disney image. While not being the dark and serious version of Captain Hook, he's still villainous. He drowns people; goes against his word; he's very smart; has a really bad temper; makes people walk the plank; blows up people; fires his cannon at our hero; and kills some of the members of his own crew if they really annoy him, that's pretty damn evil. Of course aside from his dark and villainous side, he sure does have a lot of funny moments. His funniest moments are whenever he's with his second in command Smee or when he's being chased by the Crocodile. Disney did a great job balancing the comedy and darkness to the character and sadly Disney is now treating this character as a joke for the show "Jake And The Neverland Pirates"; even in the crappy sequel Disney got this character right. Hans Conried does a great job voicing Captain Hook and to be honest whenever I hear his villainous voice as a cartoon villain, I immediately think of this character.

 The supporting characters in the film are all fun and memorable. First, we have Peter's trusty sidekick Tinkerbell and again I'm sure most us think of this image when we hear her name. While only speaking in a bell sound (Seriously, did Disney have to make a series of her actually talking) you can still get and feel a lot of emotion out of her. Her design is not only great, but Tinkerbell is the ultimate Disney icon.  The parents Mrs. and Mr. Darling, I love that their the complete opposite of each other and I'm glad that Disney went with the tradition of casting the same actor who plays Captain Hook to play the Father. Wendy's brother’s John and Michael are very fun and represent the kids we once were at different stages of our lives. Nana the nurse dog is both funny and lovable. The Lost Boys, again a good representation on what most of us were like as kids and are the most fun supporting characters in the movie. Smee is not only a very funny character, but he is actually smarter (For the most part) then Captain Hook and Bill Thompson (Who you may remember as the voice of the White Rabbit in "Alice In Wonderland") gives a very fun performance as this bumbling pirate. The Pirate crews are very cool and villainous characters, while being fun at the same time. The Crocodile is another very fun character as well and cutting him out of the sequel and replacing him should be a sin. The Mermaids are again fun and each of them have a great design.

The Indians, well I'm not going to deny that they're not ethnic stereotypes on Natives, especially on their design, however, and with that said, I will say it wasn't only Disney who stereotyped Natives in film, but so did Hollywood itself. In most Westerns, films, and cartoons involving Natives at the time, they were all treated as savages with stereotypical behavior on how most people saw Indians at the time. I'm not saying it's right, but by god, most people out there are acting like Disney are the only ones who created  it or did this stereotype when a handful of other studios are just as guilty. As for the Indian song, will get to that later. I will give Disney credit for at least making these characters likable then being just an extra set of villains for the film and the chief voiced by Disney voice actor Candy Candido is great. What I'm basically saying (Once and for all) is quit treating Disney as the only company to create ethnic stereotypes when Hollywood and many other studios did the same at the time when these films were made. In my opinion, most of the Disney ethnic stereotypes are nothing compared to the ethnic stereotypes I've seen in various films and cartoons made at the time. However I will say that the ethic racial stereotypes in this film are indeed some of Disney's worst.

The songs are great, catchy and memorable. The film's theme song really pulls you into the films atmosphere world and it's a good opening to the film. I should also add that the score is nice and gives great atmosphere to the film as well.The song "You Can Fly, You Can Fly, You Can Fly" is very catchy, very enjoyable, and brings a great feel and atmosphere for the whole flying sequence. The Pirate songs are all enjoyable and bring the great feel of being a Pirate, but sadly I wish it were a bit longer. "Following The Leader', again another catchy song and is a great song to sing if you ever play "Follow The Leader". Wendy's song "Your Mother And Mine" is very beautiful and heartwarming and it surprises me that it's not a household Disney song. The Crocodile has a great theme song that's as good as the shark’s theme from "JAWS”, and even though I'm disappointed that the song actual was not put in the film, I am thankful that the "Disney Sing Along Song" video "Under The Sea" put the song on the video. Finally we go to the Indian song "What Makes The Red Man Red". While being catchy, the lyrics are indeed stupid and offensive and just like the song with "The Roustabouts" in "Dumbo", I wouldn't mind this number being cut or better restored with an instrumental of the song with just the Indian chant and just showing the kids having fun and Peter liking Tiger Lillie in later releases of the film. Yet again, I'm against the idea of films being censored or banned. Again, I'll approach that topic in another review.

The animation is great! The designs for the characters are memorable; the locations and sights for "Neverland" is just how you can picture "Neverland"; the comedic timing and pacing between the scenes with Hook and the Crocodile is perfect; and it all has a very imaginative, passion and creative feel to it. There are lots of great scenes where the animation really shines, but I'm sure a lot of you who know the film can picture those scenes right now. It’s really excellent animation.

Aside from the Indian stereotypes; the film has a great story and creative premise with memorable characters; lots of action; plenty of laughs; memorable songs; creative animation; and having most of the things that kids enjoy!


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