I have decided to revisit some of my favourite childhood Disney movies to see if they are as good as I remember. I started with Peter Pan. I have a strong childhood memory of convincing myself one night that Peter Pan might come to my bedroom and take me to Neverland if I could just stay awake until midnight. I tried really hard not to fall asleep, and spent ages staring out of the window at a really bright start (the second to the right) but alas I awoke suddenly the next morning and realised I had missed my chance. Gutted!
Since I didn’t get to go for real I thought I would visit it through the Disney classic. So I put the disk in and whilst the trailers ran Rob and I set up a strange kind of picnic tea on the floor of spicy rice, some beef, peppers and onions, wraps and a mixture of salsa and sauces so that we can make burritos whilst we watch.
Here are my thoughts:
- Really long opening credits. It seems this was the done thing with films in the fifties. Just illustrated stills with a list of names whilst some very dated music plays. I am glad I have food to keep me occupied because so far it is a bit dull.
- Wendy speaks and I realise for the first time that it is the same actress who plays Alice in Alice in Wonderland. That high posh clipped voice is unmistakable!
- Tinkerbell is the chief scene stealer. I especially like when she admires her reflection in the mirror and is not happy with the ample size of her bottom!
- Speaking of behinds, I have a genuine LOL moment when the seagull is accidentally shaved by Smee and flies off in horror whilst trying to cover up at the same time. I have never seen a bird look so indignant! Very childish and very funny!
- I remember being obsessed with Tigerlily when I was little. She isn’t in the film for long and she doesn’t have a single line (except for ‘Hel-gurgle-gurgle!’) but she has a lot of presence. I defiantly preferred her to Wendy, who is a bit wet. Tigerlily is brave, she doesn’t flinch even when Hook and Smee are about to leave her to drown.
- Is it wrong that I really enjoy the very un-PC, probably racist sequence at the Indian camp? It is, isn’t it? It is also really wrong that out of all the songs in the film ‘What makes the Red Man Red?’ is the only one I end up humming the next day. Darn it’s catchy tune!
- At some point I would love to make a Neverland map and cover it in fairy footprints. Wouldn’t that be a great thing to have in a children’s bedroom? Hmm…I may have to look in to that.
- Fun fact: In productions of the play of Peter Pan the actor who plays Mr Darling will also play Hook. This animation follows the same pattern (as does the more recent Peter Pan film). But the play also uses the same actor to play Nana and the Crocodile, so in the animation the Crocodile displays a lot of canine behaviour to mirror Nana. Pretty clever!
- Hook is too good a villain to kill off! I am glad that he survives to go and terrorize the seas in all his pirate glory!
- The golden ship flying taking off from the sea and into the sky is still just as captivating as it was when I was a child. This whole sequence is just beautifully done.
- And the film ends with Mr Darling being redeemed. He brings Nana back to the Nursery, relents on pushing Wendy into growing up too soon and recognises the flying ship from his own days as little boy. The film ends on a very clear Disney value: Never forget the magic of childhood imagination.