Peter Pan is the 14th film in the DAC. It is based on the play and children’s novel Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie from 1904 and 1911, respectively. Like Pinocchio the book is very dark and written for children who are young enough to play make believe but hardened enough to handle some very dark material. A time when children could end up in war or work hard labor. Hopefully, an audience that is no longer in existence in the United States. The darker stuff is left out of the Disney movie (i.e.: The Darlings crying over their abducted children) or made into a more lighthearted scene (i.e.: The Lost Boys being literally murdered by the pirates).
The third movie of the Golden Age has iconic songs, characters, and scenes. Spin off cartoons, rides, movies, and of course theme park characters are all over this one. It was released in February of 1953 and has some culturally insensitive material for today’s world but didn’t cause much commotion in the fifties.
This is a hard one for me to objective over. Peter Pan was my favorite Disney movie until Aladdin came out. I have seen dozens and dozens of times. When I was watching it for the review I found myself talking along with the dialogue.
But, if I am going to try and be objective, I think I feel this is a great movie for the DAC. The animation at this point is standard, it is well done and has a lot of personality. It is the same with the music. Great score that moves the narrative and a bunch of fun songs with a single exception in my mind.
If there is a flaw in this movie it has to be level of violence. Although I think only one person dies in the movie, it seems like a constant possibility. Burning at the stake, keelhauling, being shot, being stabbed, eaten by wildlife… The characters are constantly threatening to end each other, but all that kind of went over my head as a child. Now, I notice it a bit more.
I feel it is pretty easy to put this one on the top of the list, but there isn’t a ton of competition at this point.
Run Time – 77 Minutes
26th Academy Awards – 0 Nominations – 0 Wins
Disney Animated Canon so far in order of Quality
1. Peter Pan 2-5-1953
2. Dumbo 10-23-1941
3. Cinderella 2-15-1950
4. Pinocchio 2-7-1940
5. The Adventure of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 10-5-1949
6. Make Mine Music 4-20-1946
7. Fun and Fancy Free 9-27-1947
8. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 12-21-1937
9. Saludos Amigos 8-24-1942
10. Alice in Wonderland 7-26-1951
11. Melody Time 5-27-1948
12. Bambi 8-13-1942
13. Fantasia 11-13-1940
14. The Three Caballeros 12-21-1944