Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day Twenty Nine - Peter Pan

Movie: Peter Pan
Released: February 5, 1953
Formats Released: 2 VHS, 1 DVD
Format Watched: DVD
Watched With: I was alone :(
Snacks: Swiss Roll and sugar free cherry kool-aid

Who doesn't love Peter Pan? It's a classic and for good reason. it's a story about growing up but not doing it too soon. It also is a story about the consequences of not growing up. Walt was fond of this story and worked to make it the film released after Snow White but licensing problems forced the production to wait. It wasn't until the mid to late 40's that production really came into full swing. The pressures of WWII slowed down production on just about everything due to the take over of the studio by the US military. Peter Pan also has the distinction of being the last film that the 9 old men worked on together.

My thoughts on the film:

Unlike many of the other films I've watched recently I actually have a pretty good memory of this film. I'm pretty sure I haven't watched the film since we bought it when it came out, but I also have the film on VHS so I'm pretty sure I've watched it a few times.

The film really does look into the idea of growing up and the changes that are made by children. By Wendy being told that she would have to move to her own room and removing her from the antics and imagination of her brothers she is being told that she has to drop her belief in magical things. Oddly, Peter Pan, after he takes her to Neverland, tries to make her the mother figure of the Lost Boys, putting her in the position of the grown up. She experiences some grown up things like jealousy of other girls who are interested in Peter Pan and the life or death (if any one can really die in Neverland) consequences of her decision to come to neverland.

The film is slightly marred by the depiction of Native Americans. I have talked before about the dangers of looking at old films from the lens of today but I think that this is something that should be talked about. The boys decide that rather than hunting bear they will hunt the indians, placing them on the level of animals. This is the area that I have a problem with. Most people cite the song "What made the red man red?" as the area of most concern but I don't really see it that way. It's a funny little song that shouldn't be taken as indians are red because they a blushing, it's just a cute little song in a children's movie that shouldn't be taken so seriously.

My favorite part of the film:

I actually have two favorite parts. First is the little gag of Tinkerbell on the mirror suddenly noticing that she has hips. It's a little throw away gag but the expression on her face is priceless. I'm really fond of the scene where they are flying over London. The background paintings used for that scene are amazing considering the number of buildings that they put into them .

Things I never noticed before:

- Tinkerbell's scene on the mirror
- One of the mermaids looks a lot like Ariel
- In the first scene on the pirate ship there is a seagull flying around in the background setting up the shaving scene to come in a few minutes, it's a nice little detail that could easily been omitted without effecting the story

Final Thoughts:

It's easy to see why this is considered a classic in the Disney playbook. The story is nice and tight, there is some decent character development considering the short run time of the film and the gags used in the film are for the most part pretty funny. I think that anyone who has not watched this film recently should sit down and have another look at it.

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