Peter Pan: The Signature Collection – Blu-ray Review

Peter Pan

Walt Disney’s animated films have always tried to push the envelope when it came to animation. Although it may not match the excellence and creativity of his earlier films, Peter Pan still has the technical brilliance that Disney films are known for. However, Peter Pan doesn’t have the same meticulous backgrounds found in Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. But what it does have is the fluid and lifelike movements of J.M. Barrie’s characters.

While it may seem as if Peter Pan is like other films, it’s not. What makes Peter Pan such a classic is its ability to make you feel like a kid again. The film simply appeals to people’s imagination. The story is incredibly simple—even by Disney’s standards. There’s a lot of subtle complexities in J.M. Barrie’s original novel that’s not in Disney’s film. However, this stripping down gives children the ability to let their imaginations run wild. This is why the film appeals to our imaginations even to this day.

But the film does play out in such an episodic way. In other words, it seems that it’s the type of cartoon special where they simply connect three episodes together. Yet as simple as the story is, the characters are insanely memorable. The actors who brought these characters to life, their voices have become synonymous with their respective characters. With each subsequent Pan adaptation that comes out, the first thing you’ll compare it to is Disney’s film.

Not to mention, the songs in Peter Pan are just as memorable as the characters themselves. “The Second Star to the Right” is an enjoyable song that’s your atypical Walt Disney ballad. However, it’s “You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly!” that’s embedded in the memories of anyone who has watched the film. The imaginative visuals and catchy song come together in perfect unity.

Overall, Peter Pan isn’t Disney’s best film. Primarily because the film just doesn’t flow as well as his other films. Nevertheless, Peter Pan is still a classic film because of its ability to make us feel like a kid again. It’s an imaginative and rich film that’s fun for the entire family.

Movie Rating: 4/5 atoms

Video
Peter Pan - Captain Hook and Peter Pan

The Peter Pan Signature Collection hits Blu-ray with a 1080P MPEG-4 AVC encoded video and a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. For a film that’s over 60 years old, the film looks absolutely amazing. As far as I can tell, this is the same release from the 2013’s Diamond Edition releases. From the line details to the painted backgrounds, the detail clarity is crisp and polished. Not to mention, the colors are vivid and saturated quite nicely. The black levels are terrific and there’s no appearance of crushed black in the backgrounds.

Now, there’s a bit of controversy surrounding the Disney’s effort to reduce the grain in their animated films. However, the fact of the matter is that the film still looks tremendous. So it’s essentially a matter of preference for you the consumer. Overall, this is still a fantastic video transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Audio
Peter Pan - Wendy, John, and Michael Darling

The Peter Pan Signature Collection hits Blu-ray with a DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio track. Considering that the original film was released in monaural sound, it’s not that surprising that the 7.1 track lacks any oomph. Also, this soundtrack comes from the 2013 Diamond Edition release. For the most part, the soundtrack sounds flat and lacks any dynamic pans. The major exception being the score and sound effects enveloping the soundstage. Not to mention that the instruments separated too. As a result, the score sounds dynamic as the different instruments play on individual channels. As you can imagine, the voices can clearly be heard in the center channel. Overall, this is a respectable effort converting a monaural sound to a 7.1 surround soundtrack.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Special Features
Peter Pan - Tinkerbell

The Peter Pan Signature Collection’s Blu-ray disc has the following special features on the release:

  • DisneyView
  • Sing-along version of the film
  • Stories from Walt’s Office: Walt & Flight
  • A Darling Conversation with Wendy & John: Kathryn Beaumont and Paul Collins
  • “You Can Fly”-oke
  • “Never Smile at a Crocodile”-oke
  • Deleted Songs
    • “The Pirate’s Song”
    • “Never Smile at a Crocodile”
    • “The Boatswain Song”
  • Deleted Scenes
    • “The Journey Home”
    • “Alternate Arrival”
  • You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan (DVD legacy special feature)
  • Tinker Bell: A Fairy’s Tale (DVD legacy special feature)
  • The Peter Pan That Almost Was (DVD legacy special feature)
  • The Peter Pan Story (DVD legacy special feature)
  • Growing Up With Nine Old Men
  • Audio Commentary Hosted by Roy Disney
  • “Never Land”: The Lost Song (DVD legacy special feature)
  • In Walt’s Words: “Why I Made Peter Pan” (DVD legacy special feature)
  • Music Video: “Never Land” (DVD legacy special feature)
  • Music Video: “The Second Star to the Right” (DVD legacy special feature)
  • Song Selection
    • “The Second Star to the Right”
    • “You Can Fly”
    • “A Pirate’s Life”
    • “Following the Leader”
    • “Your Mother and Mine”

As it typically is the case, there is a significant amount of quality special features with each of Disney’s home video releases. When it comes to the Signature Collection special features, “A Darling Conversation” is easily the best one out of them all. Kathryn Beaumont and Paul Collins reminiscing about their time working on Peter Pan is both insightful and fun to listen to. The “Walt & Flight” version of “Stories” isn’t as interesting as you might think. Yet it’s still a well-made featurette. The “-oke” (karaoke) versions of “You Can Fly” and “Never Smile at a Crocodile” are fun motion graphic lyrics video. However, it’s just simply lyrics videos.

The classic/legacy special features from the Diamond Edition and DVD release are still wonderful watches even after all these years. Notably, the DVD featurettes still hold up to this day. Sure, the title design and 4:3 aspect ratio looks dated but the content is still insightful. It shows that a lot of tender, love, and care was given to these DVD special features. In addition, the “Nine Old Men” featurette from the Diamond Edition Blu-ray is still a brilliant featurette. Hearing about the lives of the legendary Disney’s Nine Old Men is indeed a great watch.

Special Features Rating: 5/5 atoms


Overall, the Peter Pan Signature Collection is a great addition to your Disney collection if you don’t own the Diamond Edition Blu-ray. The film itself is a classic and one of the very few films out there that truly makes you feel like a kid again. In addition, the video looks phenomenal but the audio is a bit lacking at times. As it is with most Disney releases, there are a lot of quality special features in this release.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1296 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.