A Few Words About A few words about...™ Disney's Peter Pan

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    "Goodbye, Nana..."

    Like many of the other Disney Classics and "Classics," Peter Pan has now undergone homogenized digital clean-up. This is both good and bad.

    Gone are any artifacts that might have allowed one to believe that the film was hand outlined on cells and painted by hand in delicate colors over half a century ago.

    Will the kids care?

    Definitely, not.

    Are the basic film elements in any way affected?

    Definitely, not.

    So what one has is another "new edition" with more brilliant colors, blacker blacks, and not a speck of Disney dust in sight.

    As a "new edition" Pan, as have those that have come before it, shines.

    This is brilliant entertainment on which I was raised, which now looks...

    well, different, but pretty.

    Very Pretty.

    A number of years ago, when the digital "restorations" of the Disney classics began, someone queried one of the original animators about the color.

    His reply, and I can't quote, was something like...

    "The color? It's nice color. It's pretty color. But it's not our color."

    While I don't have a dye transfer reference print to compare color to the new DVD, one would think that it would take the same tack as those that have gone before.

    This is a great film. A great entertainment that is still as fresh as the day that it was created.

    So does the updating matter for DVD?

    Probably not, for the result is glorious. Especially for anyone who has never had the opportunity to view this wonderful film.

    One other nitpick.

    A promo notes that the 1967 Jungle Book will be arriving "for the first time as a two disc set" this fall. Not for the first time, but for the first time with a caveat.

    And the film has been "restored."

    A quick before and after shows the ugly old Jungle Book next to the beautiful new Jungle Book.

    The "old" looks faded, possibly water damaged, and generally unviewable.

    I don't for a moment believe that this is the state in which the original SE negative has survived, and seems closest to the incredibly necessary "restoration" of The Little Mermaid.

    This stupidity aside, Disney's Peter Pan is a highly recommended DVD. And don't fret about the original film. It's well preserved, and can be printed in it's original form anytime the studio might wish.

    RAH
     
  2. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    I was wondering when you were going to weigh in on this, RAH. I have the previous DVD and was debating whether to pick this one up. I think I'll pass until an HD version becomes available.
     
  3. c white

    c white Auditioning

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    It does upset me quite a bit that they are modifying the colors with these restorations. The artists that made these films were at the top of game, they were artistic geniuses when it came to painting and color theory. I doubt that there are many people alive today that could compare to the understanding they had of color, especially in the animation field.

    When some technician comes along and randomly makes the colors "punchier" we are losing a lot of subtle effects that the original artists had intended. It may appear to be more vibrant and beautiful, but in comparison to the original intent, it's rather crude and unsophisticated.
     
  4. Kris Z.

    Kris Z. Stunt Coordinator

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    How I wish that Disney could have made two versions of each release in the Platinum Edition line. One mass-market DVNR'd/Lowry'd/digitally altered version, and one original film collector version, maybe even as two different discs in the same set.

    Oh well, here's hoping that BD will fulfill that wish. With the length of most of these features there shouldn't be any problems putting them both on the same disc.
     
  5. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Supporting Actor

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  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    It is extemely dangerous to look to any video as a sort of "reference." Finding a proper dye transfer print from the original release can be enough of a problem, as they vary print to print.

    RAH
     
  7. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Well, after this thread and that link Darren....I'm keeping my Peter Pan Special Edition dvd.

    Unfortunate...and a missed opportunity.
     
  8. flyboy

    flyboy Auditioning

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    The PE looks great! People need to get over it.
     
  9. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I think the PE looks great and is a huge improvement overall compared to the 1997 and 2002 DVDs. The DVNR, edge enhancement, and contrast boosting on the 2002 DVD completely ruin the image. The 1997 looks alright, even if the contrast looks a little odd. Bambi had occasional problems with smearing of detail in large areas of similar color (like snow), but I couldn't spot any noise reduction issues at all in this. Peter Pan has some really complex camera movement at times (especially the gorgeous multiplane flight sequence over London before the first shots of Neverland), which I was sure would have a little bit of smearing. This is clearly the best animation remaster performed by DTS Digital Images and it shows how their system has made standard DVNR filtering obsolete.

    However, I think it's important to keep color timing faithful. I hope I'm not generalizing, but besides die-hard animation buffs, the average owner of the DVD probably wouldn't notice the difference between the updated color timing or a scheme that matched '53 dye-transfer prints. So, why not keep it faithful for the fans who can tell?

    One odd thing I've noticed... even with the original filmic look cleaned up, the 2007 R1 DVD looks fantastic. There's something seriously wrong with the R2 PAL DVD, though. It looks completely different and has some sort of weird smoothing filter that makes the image look warped (like the old re-tracing colorizations). This was remarked upon in Cartoon Brew's mention of the problems, so those with the PAL version are not necessarily seeing the same thing as those with the NTSC.

    The laughable treatment of the supplements, though, is embarassing. Snow White, Dumbo, Fantasia, Bambi, and Alice in Wonderland (besides the exclusion of a commentary and/or new making-of) are wholly satisfying packages. However, I totally ignored all the dumb games and new music videos. Does anyone really waste time with this stuff? It's annoying that Disney chose to repeat the entire damn movie in "storybook" form instead of adding the trailers, Disneyland TV show intros, live-action reference footage, stills galleries, the TV special, and even the 1924 silent film. Thankfully, $19.97 was worth the great presentation, commentary, and the slightly less than an hour of other worthwhile content. These are classics, not disposible products to publicize the forgettable sequels and spin-offs.

    Disney fluffs their releases with games and music videos. Warner Home Video fluffs their releases with feature-length documentaries on featured actors/actresses/directors/etc, cartoons, live-action shorts, and extra feature-length movies. Criterion also adds entire documentaries barely tied into the main feature. They add value even if not necessary to the package like deleted scenes, making-of documentaries, and commentaries.


    Exactly. WB fluffed up their Bullitt 2-disc SE, despite "only" having a fantastic remaster, director commentary, vintage featurette, and a trailer as "movie related" extras. It would have been more than suitable as a single-disc special edition. They fluffed it up to a 2-disc SE. The fluff? A feature-length documentary on Steve McQueen and a feature-length documentary on film editing (both of which are A+).
     
  10. captainjoe

    captainjoe Stunt Coordinator

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    That's why I've always thought of Warner and Criterion as the two best companies releasing discs today. No bullshit, just quality and informative supplements for the movie collector.
     

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