Disney Marathon: ‘Peter Pan’

The significance of this entry didn’t occur to me until about three days after I watched it. I’m an established adult and I’m watching through every Disney movie, and now there’s a movie about endless childhood. Huh.

For those just joining us, this is a movie marathon with a twist. Myself (cranky 40 year old blogger), my son Josh (10 year old Nintendo obsessive) and my daughter Amelia (drama llama 8 year old princess) are watching Disney movies in a random order and ranking them. We hope to see interesting differences in how we organise our lists.

Film: Peter Pan

Released: 1953

Director: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske

Cast: Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Paul Collins, Tommy Luske, Heather Angel, Nana, Hans Conried, Bill Thompson, Candy Candido

Plot: In the early 1900s Wendy Darling is facing to face the prospect of growing up and moving out of the nursery where she takes on a second mother role to her younger brothers. The three children are instead whisked away to the magical Neverland by the impish Peter Pan.

Review: Like so many Disney animated features this movie went through many years of problematic development. Walt Disney was keen to make this the follow up to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but the project was delayed through copyright negotiations with Paramount Studios, a bidding war with Fleischer and then the period of WWII where Disney Studios was roped into producing propaganda. What separates out this project from many other troubled productions is how well the final product came together. It’s no wonder that Walt was set on getting this project underway, the core themes of the story line up neatly with the animator’s attitude towards creating media and theme parks.

Peter Pan is also a film that you’ll feel familia with even if you’ve never sat down and watched it through for yourself. Peter Pan (voiced by the tragic Bobby Driscoll) and Captain Hook (Conried) feature such effective designs and characterisation that their images are as well known and reused in new content 70 years later. From the Kingdom Hearts games, to preschool-aimed show Jack and the Neverland Pirates, to playing a role in Disney Villain spin-off The Descendants, to being playable in board game Villianous, to being one of the most famous theme park dark rides…this character’s are as closely tied to Disney as the rodent. And that’s not even touching on the expansive range of Tinker Bell focused media and merchandising empire. The jerkwad fairy is one of the most used faces on Disney clothing and accessories.

With the over-saturation of the brand you’d half expect it to be an overblown but passable older piece of animation. If you haven’t seen Peter Pan, or haven’t revisited it since childhood, you’ll likely be surprised had how good it is. This movie functions as a showcase of some of the best animation produced in the early days of the studio. The shot of Peter’s face being lit up and revealed for the first time is stunning by the standards of any day, and that’s being they get the nonsensical but delightful Neverland with it’s population of pirates, mermaids, Lost Boys and…um…

Just to keep the focus on the animation for the now, the movie feels most like an alternate version of Fantasia with an actual story to keep us interested. We get sweeping landscapes of gas-lit London as the children fly about it, singing pirates, lagoons filled with sassy mermaids, animal-clothed children singing in a forest…there’s a delightful sense of magic here. They’ve achieved a careful balance of child-like imagination and fantasy adventure.

As you no doubt know, there’s a few parts of the movie that have aged very, very poorly. The stereotyping of Indians is pretty cringeworthy and have absolutely contributed the generations of children accepting these misrepresentations at face value. The role of Tiger Lily in the story makes it difficult to simply cut the sequence out, with ‘What Make’s the Red Man Red’ reaching peak discomfort. That said, I think Disney made the right decision to leave the film intact as a document of animation history, as acknowledging out changing attitudes is more important than covering up uncomfortable artefacts of the past.

Although I’m glad we never visited Cannibal Cove. What’s at Cannibal Cove, Disney?

Actually, I don’t want to know.

Now that we’re past the uncomfortable part, this is a movie worth checking out still. It’s fun, it moves at a good pace, its got a strong heart at the core and the animation is a work of art.

Best Song: ‘A Pirates Life For Me’ is easily the catchiest. It’s just a shame it’s so short.

Coolest Easter Egg: Hans Conried is best known for playing Captain Hook, but in tradition with the theatre history of the story he also plays the children’s father, George Darling.

Weirdest Trivia: Although there have been many productions of the classic story on both stage and screen, this was the first time Peter had been played by a male performer, and the first time Tinker Bell was given a humanoid appearance rather than appearing as a bright light.

Rating: EIGHT out of TEN



Click those titles if you want to see what we said about the other movies.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Aladdin
  4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  5. The Lion King
  6. Wreck-It Ralph
  7. Alice in Wonderland
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. Moana
  10. Big Hero 6
  11. Lilo & Stitch
  12. The Great Mouse Detective
  13. The Little Mermaid
  14. Frozen
  15. Peter Pan
  16. Tangled
  17. The Sword in the Stone
  18. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  19. Enchanted
  20. Mulan
  21. Raya and the Last Dragon
  22. Cinderella
  23. Emperor’s New Groove
  24. Fantasia
  25. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  26. The Three Caballeros
  27. The Jungle Book
  28. Fun and Fancy Free
  29. Sleeping Beauty
  30. The Princess and the Frog
  31. Hercules
  32. The Rescuers
  33. Oliver & Company
  34. The Aristocats
  35. Saludos Amigos
  36. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  37. Home on the Range
  38. Bolt
  39. Dinosaur
  40. The Fox and the Hound
  41. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  42. Pocahontas
  43. A Goofy Movie
  44. Tarzan
  45. Fantasia 2000
  46. Treasure Planet
  47. Meet the Robinsons
  48. The Wild
  49. Chicken Little


Amelia couldn’t quite articulate what she liked about this movie, but I have a feeling it was very fairy and mermaid based.

  1. Raya and the Last Dragon
  2. Frozen
  3. Moana
  4. Tangled
  5. The Little Mermaid
  6. The Rescuers
  7. Peter Pan
  8. Emperor’s New Groove
  9. Zootopia
  10. Lilo & Stitch
  11. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  12. The Great Mouse Detective
  13. Home on the Range
  14. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  15. Mulan
  16. Hercules
  17. Alice in Wonderland
  18. Cinderella
  19. Wreck-It Ralph
  20. Bolt
  21. Pocahontas
  22. Enchanted
  23. Dinosaur
  24. The Aristocats
  25. The Princess and the Frog
  26. Robin Hood
  27. The Jungle Book
  28. Fantasia 2000
  29. The Lion King
  30. Beauty and the Beast
  31. The Three Caballeros
  32. The Fox and the Hound
  33. The Sword in the Stone
  34. Saludos Amigos
  35. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  36. Tarzan
  37. Oliver & Company
  38. Aladdin
  39. Treasure Planet
  40. Big Hero 6
  41. Fun and Fancy Free
  42. Sleeping Beauty
  43. A Goofy Movie
  44. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  45. Meet the Robinsons
  46. Chicken Little
  47. Fantasia


I found it good. But it was older than I thought. And Tinker Bell was a lot more mean and selfish than I expected (and I kept calling her ‘Stinker Smell’ 🤢).

  1. Zootopia
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. Raya and the Last Dragon
  4. Aladdin
  5. Emperor’s New Groove
  6. Treasure Planet
  7. Moana
  8. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  9. The Three Caballeros
  10. Saludos Amigos
  11. Wreck-It Ralph
  12. The Rescuers
  13. Frozen
  14. Mulan
  15. The Princess and the Frog
  16. The Lion King
  17. Lilo & Stitch
  18. The Jungle Book
  19. Robin Hood
  20. Bolt
  21. The Sword in the Stone
  22. Beauty and the Beast
  23. Oliver & Company
  24. Peter Pan
  25. Sleeping Beauty
  26. Tangled
  27. The Great Mouse Detective
  28. Cinderella
  29. The Little Mermaid
  30. Meet The Robinsons
  31. Enchanted
  32. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
  33. Home on the Range
  34. Pocahontas
  35. A Goofy Movie
  36. The Aristocats
  37. Fantasia
  38. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  39. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  40. Fun and Fancy Free
  41. The Fox and the Hound
  42. Fantasia 2000
  43. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  44. Dinosaur
  45. Hercules
  46. Tarzan
  47. Alice in Wonderland
  48. The Wild
  49. Chicken Little