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Review: “Peter Pan” Diamond Edition Blu-ray soars with outstanding “Nine Old Men” bonus feature, gorgeous digital restoration

Review: “Peter Pan” Diamond Edition Blu-ray soars with outstanding “Nine Old Men” bonus feature, gorgeous digital restoration

Celebrating its 60th anniversary, Disney has released the timeless classic animated film “Peter Pan” onto Blu-ray for the first time with an impressive trip to Neverland given “Diamond Edition” treatment.

“Peter Pan” is one of Disney’s crowning achievements in animation, originally slated to follow “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” many years prior, but ultimately held back until technology caught up to Walt’s vision. Ultimately, the characters of Tinker Bell, Captain Hook, and Peter have become synonymous with staying in touch with the kid inside all of us – the little part that never wants to grow up. It’s that part that lets us still enjoy the wonderful artwork of Disney today, no matter how old we are.

Like Peter Pan himself, the movie does not seem to have aged at all, presented with a stunning digital restoration, presented in near perfect high-definition with little to no visual noise. Colors pop and lines are crisp in a beautiful transfer. Sound is clear down to every tiny tink. And it’s all offered in the film’s original aspect ratio, a bit thinner than today’s 16×9 standards but entirely appropriate for preserving its history.

Clip from “Peter Pan”:

The film itself can be enhanced by a few Blu-ray extras, the best of which is “Disney Intermission,” adding pirate-infused entertainment when the viewer pauses the movie. Games, animated sequences, and songs vary throughout the film, worth stopping to enjoy on their own. “Disney View” is also available for those who don’t like black bars on the left and right sides of the screen, adding custom artwork that matches each scene – but it can be quite distracting.

The included extra “Growing Up With Nine Old Men” is a documentary worth the price of the release on its own. Created by Ted Thomas, son of famed Disney animator Frank Thomas, this short film seeks out the children of seven of Disney’s prized “nine old men,” artists hand-picked by Walt to help create some of the world’s greatest animated films. Two of these men didn’t have children, but while the rest of their offspring are now “old” themselves, they’re able to share interesting, funny, and often touching stories of what it was like growing up with the guys who drew classics like “Bambi,” “Pinocchio,” and – of course – “Peter Pan.” The roughly 40-minute documentary is filled with must-see moments for any Disney fan, particularly its ending that will grab the attention and hearts of anyone who is familiar with the passions and hobbies of Walt and this group. (I won’t spoil it.)

Clip from “Growing Up With Nine Old Men”:

Two deleted songs included on the Blu-ray are also quite entertaining, accompanied by storyboards to help them along. “Never Smile at a Crocodile” is a classic despite its lyrics not being featured in the film and this release does it justice with a music video of sorts emphasizing each and every word, of which there are many.

Other bonus features include a pair of deleted scenes, an introduction to the film by Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller (clip below) at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, and plenty of classic features inherited from previous DVD releases.

There’s no doubt every Disney fan will want to own this release, not only for the best version of “Peter Pan” ever made available to own, but also for the outstanding documentary “Growing Up With Nine Old Men” sharing wonderful insight into the lives of the talented group who brought so many cherished characters to life.

“Peter Pan” Diamond Edition Blu-ray is available now on Amazon and at other major retailers.


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