Okay Disney, I think it’s about time we have a talk regarding your Diamond editions of movies that come “Out of the vault”.
This time last year I wrote a review of the “Lady and the Tramp” Diamond edition, and I was rather disappointed in the re-packaging of this classic film. Now, here we are in 2013, and “Peter Pan” is being given the same treatment. WHAT IS GOING ON, GUYS? First of all, you got my hopes up with this awesome silhouette cover teased online, and then used what’s basically an enhanced screengrab for the final cover. Okay, yes, I’m being picky and obnoxious, but really…that teaser was flippin sweet, simple, and different from anything we’ve seen before. Isn’t that part of the point of re-releasing a classic; reinventing how we see it?
Second, let’s talk about the inside of the DVD box. It sucks. There’s literally nothing new, innovative or interesting about this packaging. It’s exactly like the Platinum edition from six years ago, except that . Everything about the inside of the Diamond edition is plain, perhaps most disappointingly the DVD and Blu-Ray themselves are just plain silver and blue.
You folks HAVE to know that your movies are highly collectible, and that we fans pride ourselves on shelf after shelf of Disney films in various forms. I really wish the marketing team would take that into account when designing these re-released editions of classics. The “collectible” element of the movies is evident in the fact that Disney movies (new AND re-released) pre-ordered directly from the Disney store come with a set of lithographs. Up to this point, I have loved all of the lithographs I’ve collected–and I don’t say that lightly. However, the quality of the Peter Pan lithographs is somewhat lacking. They look like bad copies of cells from the films, rather than artistically remastered versions, the latter being what I’ve come to expect.
Finally, let’s discuss bonus features. The Platinum edition of Peter Pan came with a plethora of special features which are all included on the blu-ray. There are music videos, deleted scenes, and specials from the original “Magical World of Disney” television program–all pretty much the same stuff that was included on the Lady and the Tramp diamond edition, just as they relate to Peter Pan instead. The only feature exclusive to the Blu-Ray is a documentary called “Growing Up with Nine Old Men”, a film about the children of the the Animators known by that name. While the film is interesting and touching, it only tangentially relates to Peter Pan, in that the Nine Old Men worked on the film.
Now, considering this is the first copy of Peter Pan that I will own since the original DVD which had NO bonus features, I’m glad I’m not missing any of the goodies from the platinum edition, and that it’s all packed conveniently onto one disc. However, as something called the “diamond” edition of a film, don’t you think there should be more original content on the disc, exclusive blu-ray features that wouldn’t have been possible with a DVD? Although I wasn’t thrilled with the second-screen elements of Lady and the Tramp, there has to be some way of incorporating extra content into blu-ray films. I seem to remember a pop-up command on Lion King 1/12 that gave insight into classic moments from the original Lion King, an element of the movie that functioned like “Pop-up video”. Where’s that innovation in a movie about the power of imagination?
A perfect example of the innovation I’m looking for is the new “intermission” function that appears when you pause the movie. A clock appears, counting down for ten seconds before “pirate training” begins. Pirate training serves two purposes, neither of which will actually train you to become a pirate, but both of which are highly appreciated. First, it helps avoid any burnout or ghosting on your television screen from a paused movie left for too long; second it will keep any little ones occupied while mom and dad run into the other room to check on dinner or out to the powder room. Smee and Captain Hook identify shapes in smoke clouds and figure out what water-stained maps used to look like, all the while encouraging youngsters to join in the fun. There’s a decent enough amount of content in the intermission loop that I haven’t even seen all of it!
So Disney, if you’ll excuse the cliche, you’re going to have to throw me a bone here. I will admit that the remastering of the film itself is, like with Lady and the Tramp, living up to it’s name. The classic animation in high definition is stunning. I was apprehensive when I saw the commercials on a non-HD television; the flying sequences looked stodgy and…weird. But, when viewed on the blu-ray, on a nice big high-definition screen, everything is delightfully bright and beautiful, bringing another classic into the modern world.
However, the packaging is nearly a collector’s nightmare, and the bonus features leave much to be desired. I would have MUCH preferred a re-release that included the 2002 sequel, Return to Neverland, with both on blu-ray; along with bonus features that related to both films or the development of Peter Pan through history. In short, while the Diamond edition of Peter Pan is pretty swell, ironically, it needs to do a little growing up before I’d be willing to give it five stars.
Want your own copy? You can order it direct from Disney: Disney Store, Peter Pan on Blu-Ray