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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.66:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English
  Extras
  • Additional footage - Pluto's Fledging
  • Deleted scenes
  • Featurette - Art Attack
  • Animated menus
  • Music video - 'I'll Try' by Jonatha Brooke
  • Interactive game - Rescue the Lost Boys Adventure Game

Peter Pan - Return To Neverland

Disney/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 70 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Return To Neverland is a sequel to the Disney hit Peter Pan; this film made some 49 years after the original. While still using traditional cel animation techniques, this film also brings aboard 3D modelling, notably used in the flying sequences and with Captain Hook’s ship. This mixture of technologies looks superb, with an increased level of excitement and exhilaration while still capturing the classic trademark Disney appearance. This animation breaks the barrier on traditional techniques, showing how good the genre can be, without relying 100% on a computer.

The score by Joel McNeely is suitable for the tone of the film, adding tension in the appropriate places, as well as creating an exciting roller coaster ride for some of the “action sequences.” This film is great for kids, as it isn’t (terribly) scary, and has a short running time of just 70 minutes – this means that they shouldn’t get bored or terribly restless. The pace of the film is quick; with the first (and only) hour passing you by before you even realise you are watching the film.

The story still builds along with the original film, such as characters, places and names, which adds to its authenticity as a sequel, even though it was made nearly 50 years after the original film. The film opens in London, where Wendy (the little girl in the original film) now has a family of her own. Wendy's daughter Jane is becoming sceptical about her mother's stories about flying and Peter Pan and the mystical world called Neverland. But one night, when Jane is at her most sceptical, Captain Hook’s ship, The Jolly Roger, descends upon the house and Hook and his men kidnap Jane (they think that she is Wendy) and take her to Neverland. Jane learns of Hook’s plan against Pan, and its up to her to call upon “faith, trust, and pixie dust” (the lyrics to the moving I’ll Try) and save Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and all of Neverland.

  Video
Contract

The film is presented in a 16x9 enhanced widescreen aspect of 1.66:1. Now you are probably saying how can something with such an aspect be 16x9 enhanced? Easy! The actual video is 1.78:1, but small black bars are on each side of the picture making it 1.66:1. On a 4:3 television, this can barely be seen, but on a DVD-ROM drive, this can easily be spotted.

Colours are rich, bold, solid and striking, with absolutely no bleeding. The picture quality is superb, as it should be for such a recent film, and this disc is nothing short of stunning. Blacks are crisp and deep, with a great level of detail. Shadow shading is clearly and precisely defined, with a rich texture and, for once, no signs of low level noise on any of the darker regions. The digital elements (such as Hook's ship) are animated with a precise realism and similar style to the cel techniques.

This transfer really shows off the traditional cel animation with a superb clarity. The picture is consistently sharp and clear, with a solid yet subtle ambient surrounding.

There are no film artefacts at all, nor is there any film grain. Some very minor MPEG artefacts can be seen on Hook’s red coat at 40:18, but pointing this out is getting really really picky.

This dual layered disc does have a layer change... somewhere. But that just shows how well hidden and discrete it is.

  Audio
Contract

The two audio tracks provided on this disc are both simply stunning. We are treated to two English tracks, a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a DTS 5.1. Now we could stay here and go over the usual hoopla about which is better, but to be honest, these two sound so similar that it’s a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Dialogue is crisp, clear and located in the centre speaker. The surround channels are used primarily to carry the score, but are occasionally used for discrete effects. The soundstage that is created is solid and enveloping, and provides a great ambience, even for a dialogue-driven film.

The subwoofer rears its booming head in the odd few scenes, but generally behaves in a similar fashion to the surrounds and that is to carry the score.

  Extras
Contract

The menus are beautifully animated, and are 16x9 enhanced. The swarm of extras that accompany this film compliment and complete the viewing experience.

The Disney Story Time is a read-a-long story, similar to that on the Monsters, Inc. disc, and is called Neverland’s New Hero. This one is good for the little ones, especially if they are learning to read.

Rescue the Lost Boys Adventure Game is a game, we’ll give it that, but not too much of an adventure. OK, sure, it’s harder than the Monsters, Inc. game as pirates can find you (three strikes and you’re out), but it will keep the littlies amused.

The Lost Treasures are two deleted scenes, with an introduction and afterword by Chris Chase (producer) and Sharon Morrill (executive in charge of production). These are presented in a 16x9 enhanced format, with 1.33:1 introduction and 1.85:1 footage.

The song I’ll Try by Jonatha Brooke is the Music Video which shows footage from the film mixed with footage of the making of the song. This is a touching track that holds thematically true to the film. The annoying thing about this clip is that the making-of footage is 1.33:1 and the film footage is 1.85:1. Surely this could have been fixed, either with full frame footage or widescreen making of... Oh well, its still a touching song.

Pluto’s Fledging is a six-minute cartoon from Disney which has been added on as a bonus. Where is the DVD of all of these short cartoons though?

Art Attack: How to Make Your Own Island is a special edition of Art Attack (it used to be on the ABC during the school holidays years ago) where you are shown how to make an island (would you have guessed?). Art Attack has a loony as a host who loves making a mess and getting his hands in, but that makes it amusing for adults to watch. Still, a time consuming exercise for the kids – remember this for the next school holidays.

  Overall  
Contract

The film may not be for everyone, but it's definitely a great one for the kids. The stunning animation, wicked transfer and bundle of extras should be enough for even the pickiest of DVD fanatics.


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      And I quote...
    "Disney’s cross between traditional cel animation techniques and stunning 3D modelling shows why they still remain the best in Western animation."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Philips DVD 736K
    • DVD Rom:
          Compaq SD 616ST
    • MPEG Card:
          Geforce2 32MB AGP
    • TV:
          TEAC EU68-ST
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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