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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.76%
Worth A Look: 33.33%
Pretty Bad: 9.52%
Total Crap: 4.76%

2 reviews, 9 user ratings

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Return to Never Land
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Cochise

"Never Land is another planet."
4 stars

This cartoon is a science fiction film in disguise, and, as an additional bonus, it is an adult film in disguise.

The film opens in England during the blitz. Wendy is now grown up and has a daughter Jane, and a son. Jane does not believe in Peter Pan, fairies, or pixie dust. Instead, she takes her life very seriously and is doing some task for the war effort. We see her in the streets of London, with her dog who is helping her go about her (undefined) duties. The film really gets good here as the atmosphere of war-torn London is brilliantly created through sound and imagery. In one scene Jane is running through the streets at night and we hear bombs going off in the distance. The surround sound is used here to great effect, the bomb blasts shaking the room through the subwoofer. In the same scene, as Jane runs through the streets she passes a group of marching soldiers and other images of a nation at war. I found these scenes the most brilliant in the movie.

After the characters in London are introduced, Captain Hook arrives in his ship (which now flys) and kidnaps Jane, thinking that she is Wendy. When Jane gets to Never Land and is rescued by Pan, she has a hard time learning not to be serious like an adult all the time.

“Return to Never Land” is science fiction film as Never Land is another planet!
In the second film, when the children begin their journey, they fly up past the clouds to the upper atmosphere. Then they enter what is, in my opinion, an entrance to a wormhole. (This, of course explains why they don’t need oxygen because they never go high enough in the atmosphere of either earth or Never Land to need oxygen.) The journey through the wormhole is complete with a vocal montage. (The sci-fi film “Time After Time” is another example of a vocal montage in a possible wormhole.)

The idea of Never Land being another planet has been around a while. The first film gives the impression that the journey to Never Land is a journey to another star, but the animators did not use a worm hole to show this. The children fly toward the star, and, as they get closer, the star begins to resembles a planet, then looks like the island. (The idea of Never Land being another planet is confirmed by the screenwriter of “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.” In the end of that film, Captain Kirk said that the crew would take the Enterprise toward the first star to the right and straight on till morning. These are same words used by Peter Pan in the first film when he, Wendy, and her brother are standing on one of the hands on Big Ben.

When Hook comes to kidnap Jane in the second film, there is also an effect reminiscent of “Independence Day.” When the pirate ship looms over Jane’s house, this is similar to the ship(s) in “Independence Day” looming over cities.

The science fiction interpretation also can explain the bizarre aspects of Never Land, aspects which are easy to understand and are quite believable if Never Land is an alien world.

On one level “Return to Never Land” is suitable for children. It has the typical plot points, comedy, and music that children love in Walt Disney cartoons. However, the story deals with a very important adult issue as well.

The film points out that people in positions of responsibility should not become so serious that they forget to have fun. Jane was mature for her years and is doing some undefined work for the war effort. And she is also charged with the responsibility of looking after her younger brother. When she gets to Never Land, she is too serious for the Pan and the lost boys, and they tell her as much. Now, as Jane did have responsibilities, I can understand the adult part of her thinking that she had a job to do and didn’t have time to mess around playing kids’ games. However, in the initial scenes in Never Land, Pan and the lost boys imply to Jane that it is a bad thing to lose the ability to have fun as a child.

Some might feel that Pan should care about the war and Jane’s responsibilities. However, we can’t chide Peter for not caring about those things as, after all, he is a being from another planet, and why should or would he care about the squabbles on planet Earth?

The sound on the region one DVD is fantastic. The booming sound of distant and nearer bombs dropping on London vibrated the room through the subwoofer and was pitched at just the right level. This added tremendously to the atmosphere of war-torn London the film created.

I was truly moved by the end of the film, and seeing Peter meeting grown up Wendy brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know why I was so touched, but maybe part of it was that the meeting of the two characters seemed to provide a very sweet book-ending to the whole saga of Wendy and Never Land.

Unfortunately, there are no special features worthy of note on the region 1 DVD. Also, a director’s commentary is sorely missed.

Not always is a sequel better than the original. However, I believe that “Return to Never Land” is far superior to “Peter Pan.” The animation is far better, and the sound is heaps improved. But this is not a criticism of the first film, as technology is far above what was available when the first film was made. However, the first film lacks the character development of the second film, and this is a justifiable criticism of the first film.

Sometimes you will find science fiction where you least expect it.

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originally posted: 09/05/02 23:17:41
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User Comments

8/08/08 Tiffany Losco Cute, my daughter loved it. 5 stars
5/13/04 Sean Scanlan Fresh, but too depresing 3 stars
7/15/02 J Changing my mind again, but this was still tolerable. 3 stars
6/25/02 DeMunk This was the worst disney Movie ever Jane has to be the most boring character ever created 1 stars
5/23/02 Carrie Kohl A thousand pixie dust enemas couldn't make Jane a fraction of the girl her mom was! 2 stars
2/19/02 Dada EricDSnider is right on about this one. It's to benefit Di$ney, not you. 2 stars
2/18/02 M.S. Barrie A couple funny/smiley parts, but it's bland, badly animated, & recycled. The original rocks 3 stars
2/18/02 J Personally I think it was just as good as the original, but that could be just me. 4 stars
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