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French 2 disc "Peter Pan" arrived today (1 Viewer)

James Reader

Mar 10, 2002
Sadly I don't have time for a proper review at the moment (expect one later today) but here's some information:

The packaging is wonderful!

Both discs have a language selection at the start - so both discs can be viewed in English. However, as expected the DTS track on the film is French only.

The first disc includes the movie which also includes the audio commentary from the existing "Peter Pan Special Edition" DVD.

The second disc is a bit of a disappointment - new features include a 30 minute documentary on "Disney's Nine Old Men", Paramount's silent "Peter Pan" (quick impressions are picture quality good, but sadly no introduction putting the release into context) and a Silly Symphony.

I'll do a full review tonight, comparing this release to the R1 "Special Edition" release.


Supporting Actor
Oct 23, 1998
...a French DTS soundtrack (5.1, one presumes... or, possibly, may one hope, even ES!?!) for a 1.37:1 movie that was originally released waaay back in 1953 and thus originally and undoubtedly was graced with a GLORIOUS MONO soundtrack... it fair boggles the mind...!...

. . .

James Reader

Mar 10, 2002
Yeah well Hendrick, I don't really agree with it. At least not when the original mono track isn't included. Check my posting history! (such as my Pinocchio Special Edition review)

Although knowing Disney I'm not sure if the original was recorded in mono or not (but I doubt it was 5.1! :))

But hey, the existing Peter Pan disc only has 5.1 audio so including DTS isn't that much of a change.

Besides, when reporting on a new release (especially if most people don't know about it) I consider it important just to state the facts.

I'll cover some of these issues in my review.

James Reader

Mar 10, 2002
The Packaging

The discs are presented in a cardboard "digipack" with a thin cardboard outer slipcase. A circular hole is cut into the front of the slipcase, revealing Peter's shadow on the full moon. When the inner digipack is removed, the hole shows the face of Big Ben, with Peter and Wendy's silhouettes.

It really does look absolutely beautiful.

Disc 1: The Film

Upon inserting the disc, a quick menu appears asking if you want to view the disc in English or French. Once the selection is made, the disc 'boots' up as normal. Disney's annoying "preview trailers" are present for "The Disney DVD Collection", "Peter Pan 2: Return to Neverland" and "Treasure Planet". Note that even if English is selected from the main menu, the on-screen titles shown are in French (but the soundtrack is English). Like later R1 Disney discs, the previews can be skipped by pressing the "menu" button.

The Disc's menu matches the menu used on the "Peter Pan: Special Edition" with one slight change – "Special Features" has been replaced with "Audio Commentary", the sole special feature on Disc 1.

Audio options are English or French DD 5.1 or French DTS. It is disappointing the films original sound mix has not been included (which one presumes is mono) and one has to wonder how much of an improvement the French DTS track is. I doubt non-French speaking viewers will be missing anything by being limited to the Dolby track only. Subtitles are in English or French only.

The actual transfer of the film appears to be identical to the existing "Special Edition" transfer. I've not done an A-B comparison, but the "Special Edition" transfer has been criticised by some for incorrect colours, and the problem seems to be present on this disc. The bitrate fluctuates wildly (meaning intelligent use of VBR has been used) but seems to average around the 7.0 mark throughout the film. Disappointing considering the DTS soundtrack and the fact that the film basically has a disc to itself.

As mentioned, the only supplement on Disc 1 is the Audio Commentary ported from the "Special Edition" release, hosted by Roy Disney.

The transfer has been THX approved, and for what it's worth, a THX configuration screen is available from the disc's "set up" menu.

Disc 2: The Supplements

Good news, as with the first disc, when the disc is inserted a quick menu give the option of viewing the disc in English or French. Should English be selected, the whole disc is in English. This is different from the mainland European "Sleeping Beauty" discs, which were only viewable in the native language of the originating country.

A quick run down of the supplements on this disc which are lifted from the "Special Edition" release:

"You Can Fly – The Making of Peter Pan" a modern featurette looking at the making of the film(10:30). I understand this is taken from the laserdisc release.

"The Peter Pan Story" a contemporary featurette looking at the making of the film (in Black and White) (12:05).

"The Peter Pan Still Frame Gallery" is exactly the same as on the "Special Edition" disc. Most disappointing, as I was expecting vast galleries charting every stage of the film's production, as on their other 2 disc releases. For me this is a major disappointment, as the galleries are my favourite supplement on Disney's two-disc sets.

For the children the "Following the Leader" sing-along, "Peter's Playful Prank" read-along and "Pirate Treasure Hunt" game have been ported across. It's surprising to see no cross-promotion for "Return to Neverland" being as this was released in France on the same day as this 2 disc set.

In addition to porting across the supplements from the existing "Special Edition" a number of new supplements are included.

The most important is probably the inclusion of the full 1924 Silent version of "Peter Pan" originally released by Paramount Pictures. This runs for almost 97 minutes, but has no chapter stops! I'm not an expert on the presentation of silent films on DVD, only possessing a few myself, but the print used seems to be cleaner than most silent films I've seen. It's a shame no attempt is made on the disc to put this film's inclusion into context, selecting this option from the menu simply starts the film. The film is briefly mentioned in the "You Can Fly" featurette, but a feel a proper explanation before viewing the film would help. Some people may be ecstatic at this film's inclusion, but for me it is a novelty, and nothing more. Incidentally, I've been unable to confirm this, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that Disney purchased the rights to this film from Paramount prior to starting work on the animated "Peter Pan's" production (which may explain the good condition of the print).

Also new is a John Canemaker documentary on the Disney's so-called "Nine old Men", "The Story of Disney's Nine Old Men" (27.19). This is basically a long monologue from Canemaker, presented as such, but with relevant clips when appropriate. Sounds boring? Absolutely not! All I can say is this one of the best documentaries I've seen on a Disney disc and I'm sure I'll be watching it many times in the future. I don't know the origin of this documentary, but the opening credits are rather similar to the openings on the 'Walt Disney Treasures' discs, so I'm assuming this is new.

A "Silly Symphony" cartoon "Playful Pan" is included (6.44), presumably the only connection being the word "Pan". This cartoon was originally released in 1930 in Black and White, but has been coloured for television showings, and the colour version is included on this DVD. Picture quality is average at best, and I really have to question it's inclusion. However, it's always great to see these shorts.

The only other new supplement is the Poster Gallery. This shows world wide posters for the original release and re-released, as well as (what appear to be) Christmas Cards. Again there is no explanation about what your are viewing.


So is it worth getting this set. Undoubtedly if you don't own the current "Special Edition". However, if you already do, it’s a harder question to answer. While I have no reservation recommending the "Nine Old Men" documentary, the other new supplements are weak. The inclusion of the 1924 "Peter Pan" will be a decision maker for some, to others it only has limited appeal, and I cannot recommend the set on the basis of a 30 minute documentary alone. The lack of a decent still gallery is a major disappointment.

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