Like clockwork, Disney has released its Q1 Diamond Edition animated classic on Blu-ray, this time Peter Pan, and like clockwork, it’s excellent. Someday, Disney will falter with one of these Diamond Edition releases (just like the once thought to be infallible Pixar faltered with Cars 2), but that day is not upon us with the Peter Pan Diamond Edition Blu-ray.
Peter Pan is a classic that I assume everyone reading has seen, so I assume that a full synopsis is not necessary. In case you haven’t seen Peter Pan, it’s a 1953 release (the day of this post is its anniversary!) of an adaptation of a J.M. Barrie story about a boy named Peter Pan who doesn’t want to grow up. One night he visits a young girl named Wendy hoping to get his shadow back from her. Wendy, along with her two brothers fly off to Neverland with Peter and engage in various adventures. Meanwhile, Captain Hook is scheming of a way to finally conquer Peter Pan, who is his enemy.
Video quality to me on this release is perfect. It looks like a release from 2013 rather than one from 1953. However, I qualify my opinion with “to me” because there is ongoing controversy about Disney’s somewhat heavy-handed noise reduction in its Blu-ray releases of older classics. I think the movie looks great, especially on a HDTV that amplifies every little detail. I cannot perceive any loss in clarity or detail done as a result of the noise reduction; to me it appears to have been applied carefully and without harm to the integrity of the transfer.
Others disagree, arguing that this noise was present in the original release or that noise gives it a cinematic quality. The easy response is that there was no “intent” for noise in the original release, it was an unintended consequence of the filmmaking process, so there should be no issue with removing it.
Still, I recognize this is an ongoing area of contention that I seem to discuss in every release of an older Disney film on Blu-ray. If you really care, you’ve already formed an opinion on this “issue,” so I will spare those who don’t really care from having to read several more paragraphs on this subject. Simply put, if noise reduction doesn’t bother you, the video quality is flawless. If noise reduction does bother you, it’s flawless with the exception of the fact that noise reduction has been applied.
Normally, the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track that Disney uses to expand the audio field for these movies is neither bad nor good. It’s tough for a mono track to really play out all that well in 7.1. Here, I thought it was pretty solid, with a lot of natural movement throughout the sound field.
Disney once again pulls out all the stops with the extra features here, porting plenty of content (like the audio commentary, Backstage Disney, and a music extra) from the previous DVD release, but also adding plenty of new content. The highlights here are the introduction by Diane Disney Miller, archival deleted scenes, and best of all, “Growing Up with the Nine Old Men.” This extra features interviews with the children of Walt’s Nine Old Men as they discuss the impacts their fathers had on animation. At nearly 45 minutes long, this extra is a real gem.
Add to that the additional features, such as DisneyView, and this Blu-ray offers much more in terms of special features run-time than than the movie itself! It would have been interesting to see Disney include an extra addressing the controversies of Peter Pan, but this is ultimately a family release aimed at children, so including an extra like that likely wouldn’t make sense for Disney.
Overall, it goes without saying that any Diamond Edition release is a must-own for Disney or animation fans. Peter Pan Diamond Edition is no different, and continues the “flawless” streak of these Diamond Edition releases.
Buy this Blu-ray/DVD on Amazon by clicking here. Share your thoughts about it in the comments!