On this day in film history, Disney released Return to Neverland (2002) to theaters. Set during the Second World War, the story largely follows Jane, the daughter of Wendy, who used to believe firmly in Peter Pan, but now declares she is “too grown up” for such things…until Captain Hook shows up to kidnap her (thinking that she is Wendy).
Return to Neverland was releasd during the time when Disney was obsessed with making sequels (or midquels) to everything (before they learned to “reboot” everything instead). Case in point: The Lion King II, Tarzan II, Lady and the Tramp II, Mulan II, Cinderella II (and III), Bambi II, etc. and so on.
Return to Neverland was one of the few sequels actually released in theaters (most are direct-to-DVD and for good reason) and (if you’re a kid) it’s not a terrible movie. Now if you’re an adult like me and you remember the original Peter Pan…that’s different. For one, the octopus is no substitute for the crocodile. And the animation…they did their best to match up the style but it’s just not the same. One moment I really liked though was when Peter and adult Wendy ended up face to face after so many years. For that moment, I really wished they would’ve kept Kathryn Beaumont (the original voice of Wendy) as the voice actress, it would’ve been so fitting. Unfortunately, her entire performance was dubbed over (but I’m sure she did splendid).
I did like the “These are the things we Lost Boys do” song, and the whole concept of a “Lost Girl.”
I don’t remember any particular announcement, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were planning to make a live-action Peter Pan based off the animated version (even though several live-action versions already exist).
At any rate, Return to Neverland is not a bad sequel, so much as an unnecessary one (in my opinion). -Bex
*All images are property of Walt Disney Studios
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