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New extra features make Platinum Edition of "Peter Pan" worth picking up

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New extra features make Platinum Edition of "Peter Pan" worth picking up

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Okay. Let's be honest here, folks. If you're a JHM reader, you're already a great big honking Disney dweeb.

Which means that you probably bought the Special Edition of "Peter Pan" when that DVD went on sale back in February of 2002. Not to mention the Limited Issue disc of this same Disney classic, which hit store shelves back in November 1999. And how about the VHS versions of this 1953 release? The "Walt Disney's Classics" cassette from 1990 as well as the "Masterpiece Collection" tape in 1998? You've got those too, right?

So that means that you already own four versions of the very same film? So why the hell would you ever want to buy the new 2-disc Platinum Edition of "Peter Pan" (Which officially goes on sale next Tuesday, March 6th)?

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises

And the answer is ... The extras. All of the extremely cool additional features that the nice folks at Walt Disney Home Entertainment have crammed onto this 2-disc set.

"What sort of extras?," you ask. Well, let's start with "The Peter Pan That Almost Was" featurette that you'll find on Disc 2. Hosted by John Musker & Ron Clements (Who know a little something about what it takes to make a great animated film. Given that these are the guys who directed "The Great Mouse Detective," The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin," "Hercules" and "Treasure Planet"), this 20-minute-long documentary walks you through many of the story ideas that Walt Disney considered and eventually discarded as he & his studio's staff struggled to turn J.M. Barrie's popular stage play & book into a feature length cartoon. Including one proposed opening for the picture where Peter was flying off to London to kidnap a girl -- any girl -- so that she could then be a mother for the Lost Boys.

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises

Then there are those great galleries of concept art. Where you then have the chance to walk through the 17-year development history of this animated feature. Starting back with the darker, much more ornate version that David Hall envisioned back in the late 1930s right through to the more stylized take on this same material that Mary Blair designed back in the late 1940s & early 1950s.

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises

There's also some amazing character development drawings to be found on this new 2-disc set. Where you can see Disney artists try to turn Barrie's characters into toons. And some of their initial attempts are downright hilarious.

Take -- for example -- this early attempt at depicting Peter. Which was obviously heavily influenced by the Lampwick character from "Pinocchio."

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises

But you want to know what my favorite part of the new Platinum Edition of "Peter Pan" is? It's all of the photos from the live action reference footage that was shot for this 1953 release. Where we get to see the always lovely Margaret Kerry working on a empty soundstage, dressed only a swimsuit. Where she interacts with all of these bare-bones oversized props. As Margaret tries to give Disney's animators some idea how Tink would actually think & act.

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises

Or -- better yet -- how about these shots of the live action versions of Captain Hook & his pirate crew? That's Han Conried himself standing in that rowboat on the left. And that tall lanky pirate in the photo on the right? Would you believe that that's Buddy Ebsen? Jed Clampett himself helping to provide live action reference for this Disney animated classic.

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises

And then there's that sneak peek at "Tinkerbell." Which -- in the end -- may wind up being the real reason that most Disneyana fans want to pick up this 2-disc set. Given the version of this 2008 video premiere that's being previewed on the Platinum Edition of "Peter Pan" (according to Chuck Oberleitner, anyway) may have already been abandoned. To be replaced by an all-new storyline that John Lasseter reportedly believes is more in keeping with the Neverland that Walt Disney first introduced us to back in February of 1953.

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises

So (to cut to the chase here) even if you already own the four earlier versions of "Peter Pan" that Disney Home Entertainment has put on the market over the past 17 years, the 2-disc Platinum Edition of this animated classic is still worth picking up. Just so you can then savor all of those cool new extras that the Mouse has added to this DVD.

But if you're not a big honking Disney dweeb who really gets off on seeing behind-the-scene stuff AND you already own a copy of "Peter Pan" ... Well, maybe you can then take a pass on this particular trip back to Neverland.

But what do you folks think? Are you actually planning on picking up the 2-disc Platinum Edition of "Peter Pan"? Or is it just too soon after the release of the 2002 DVD to buy yet another copy of this Disney classic?

Your thoughts?

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  • Being a sucker for behind the scenes stuff, I'm there.

    Especially since the only copy I have is on laserdisc.

  • something I've noticed. in routine articles like this one, Jim likes to throw around edgy slang ("a big honking Disney dweeb who really gets off on seeing behind-the-scene stuff") and the occasional mild curse ("why the hell would you ever want to buy the new 2-disc Platinum Edition?"). but then in the articles that relate more to actual news (Pirates spoilers, Pixar stuff, stock & money discussions), and are therefore more likely to be linked to by real-life news sources, he cleans it up.

    I'm on to you and your seemingly-informal-but-actually-totally-deliberate tone.

    To answer the question, yeah, I'll prolly buy it.

  • I'm definitely getting this- I'm so excited.  I have the SE VHS tape, but I don't have PP on DVD yet.  Although, unless someone's a huge Tinker Bell fan, I can't see people picking this up *just* for the Tink sneak peak.  But, on my "Dumbo" 60th Anniversary DVD, I like seeing the sneak peak for "Dumbo II"...I love "the Disney that never was"... I'm really excited for the galleries and the "Peter Pan that never was".  Thanks for the DVD sneak peak, Jim!

  • I'm especially interested in seeing the bonus footage, having just finished (FINALLY!) the Gabler biography in which the development of Peter Pan is discussed at length.

    I think it would be amazing to have the chance to see all that live action material and actually see the character and plot evolution that Gabler describes in the book.

    And besides ... to be perfectly honest ... I buy every stinkin' Disney DVD that's released.

  • I buy very few DVDs- I prefer to rent them. But I did buy the "Lady and the Tramp" Platinum edition after renting it because the extras were spectacular. I'll certainly rent the "Peter Pan" DVD, at least for the extras, and if the extras are extraordinary, I'll certainly buy it. BTW I'm glad to hear that the "Tinkerbell" story is being reworked. From what I've read of it, it did indeed need work.

  • Perhaps Jim ought to edit his article to reflect FIVE previous versions of Peter Pan that would mention LASERDISC!!!

    I too own Peter Pan on laserdisc and wished that Disney would include some of the bonus footage found on laserdiscs on to their DVDs.  The Lion King is the perfect example where the laserdisc was far superior than the deluxe DVD, in terms of bonus material.

  • Well, Tink is pretty, that's good news.I was really worried that a CG Tinkerbell would end up looking grotesque, like most CG people.

  • I've seen the digitally restored picture and heard the upgraded 5.1 surround mix.

    Buy it.                                  

  • I only have three (2 VHS and 1 DVD), but yeah, I'm going to get this.

    BTW. I think that they've done an awfully good job on the CG Tink.

    And the good thing w/ CG is that all that work on the Tink can be kept

    (and even enhanced) for the new movies. It's still a lot of work, but it's

    probably several person-months that won't have to be redone.

  • VHS..Laser..DVD..

    what no BETA?

  • Love the behind the scenes footage info.  I'll definately buy it.

  • I'll wait for the Blu-ray disc.

    Hi-def, baby.

  • I'm surprised the commercials I've seen do not stress more of the additional features, to help set it apart from the previous DVDs.

  • P.Pan is one of my top Disney films, the story, characters, environment are complexing yet very Barrie. At first I was a bit skittish bout the lack of Peter Pan's Xmas (Walt Disney Xmas Show) being placed on this dvd, but I really enjoyed Alice's Xmas (One Hour In Wonderland) alil better. My fav. bonus is The Oringal Peter Pan, such wonderful ideas that might've worked in a different way and the gallery was quite intresting while informative. I highly recommend Peter Pan: Platinum Edition.

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