|Return to Never Land||
Peter Pan II. Wendy's daughter Jane discovers faith, trust and fairy dust...
dir Robin Budd|
scr Temple Mathews
voices Blayne Weaver, Harriet Owen, Corey Burton, Kath Soucie, Dan Castellaneta, Jim Cummings, Jeff Bennett, Quinn Beswick, Spencer Breslin, Andrew McDonough, Bradley Pierce, Roger Rees
release US 15.Feb.02; UK 22.Mar.02
Disney seems just a bit too keen to give each of its animated classics a sequel--something Uncle Walt would never allow! They've done it with virtually all of their modern animated hits, and now they're raiding the back catalog. But this Peter Pan sequel is different: It's made for the big screen, not straight-to-video. To be fair, this very short adventure does stick to the tone of the original as it follows Wendy's daughter Jane, a very practical young girl during the Blitz, who is kidnapped by Captain Hook and taken to Never Land, where Peter Pan must rescue her ... and vice versa.
The characters are all familiar both personality-wise and in the way they are drawn. Even the computer technology is used to recreate the same look as the original--not as lush, of course, but fairly impressive in some scenes. There's a lively enough tone that will keep viewers young and old from getting bored. Well it's barely over an hour long, so there's not much time to worry about that, as the thin story races along like an episode of a TV series. There are only a couple of songs; half of them are nice, the others are absolutely dire. And that pretty much describes the whole project: it's about halfway there, with just enough humour and adventure, as well as a decent sense of loyalty to the source material, to keep it from being a total waste. The first half of the film is especially promising, as it actually generates some subtext and serious drama in the London-under-siege sequences ... and then in Tinkerbell's early surliness, which is terrific! Of course, it quickly falls back into softer, more child-friendly entertainment. What--you didn't expect a grown-up film, did you?
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