a critiQal film review Return to Never Land (2002)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: Wendy has grown up and now has 2 children of her own: Jane and Danny. Jane and Danny's father has been sent off to war, and the children are being sent to stay in the countryside until the war is over. Before that can happen, however, Jane is kidnapped by Captain Hook, who thinks he's nabbing Wendy. When Jane gets to Neverland, all she wants to do is go home. Captain Hook offers her a way back, but she must betray Peter Pan to do so.

385 words (Est. Reading Time 1m 55s)
  • ...Disney's best animated sequel since The Rescuers Down Under.

With the amazing amount of sequels to popular Disney movies coming out lately (Cinderella II, Hunchback of Notre Dame II, etc.), it was only a matter of time before the much-loved classic Peter Pan (1953) also got a sequel.

After seeing some of the cheesy storylines that Disney had come up with for some of the other sequels, I was worried they were going to ruin Peter Pan (1953). Thankfully, they didn’t.

Most of the characters you remember from the original are back: Wendy, the Lost Boys, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and Smee are all here. The croc isn’t, but he’s been replaced by a sucker-popping octopus, who’s just as funny. Nana, the dog from the first one, isn’t here, but Nana II (yes, that is her name – it took me awhile to stop laughing after I heard that the first time too) is. It was nice to see all the old characters in a new story.

The storyline was similar to the original, but varied just enough that it didn’t repeat the first film. Jane is kidnapped this time, rather than going willingly, and the storyline revolves more on her not wanting to be there. The story didn’t get too involved, since this is a kids movie after all, which was nice. It’s occasionally nice to watch just a fun movie after all the other kids movies trying too hard to incorporate a valuable lesson, and destroying the movie in the process.

The animation was well done, with a few major differences from the first Peter Pan (1953) that threw me off. The prime example of this was the odd designs that show in the sky when Captain Hook takes Jane to Never Land. I didn’t understand that, and couldn’t figure out why they had put that in there at all. That seemed a major detraction from the movie, since it was so silly.

Return to Never Land is a great sequel, which seems to be a rarity these days for Disney. It was nice to see they kept all the old characters, and didn’t try to copy the original. They had a new and refreshing take on Never Land, and the movie was thoroughly enjoyable.

Kids will love it, and anyone who remembers the original Peter Pan (1953) should enjoy this Return to Never Land with them.

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