Disney's liberal adaptation of J.M. Barrie's famous story has now become a classic in its own right. It tells the story of what happens when Peter Pan, the boy who refuses to grow up, visits the Darling family nursery and takes the children on a magical journey to Never Never Land. When they arrive they become embroiled in an ongoing battle between Peter, his friends the Lost Boys, and the wicked Captain Hook, a pirate who has lost his hand and his watch to a hungry crocodile.
has a special place in the realm of classic animated Disney films: it instills an element of childlike wonder. The 1953 version of James M. Barrie's story is colourfully told and keeps on the straight and narrow of the book. Barrie's wondrous focus on child's play is the key to its longevity: kids who don't grow up, shadows that run away from their owners, pirates, a fairy, and the magic ability to fly. In short, you can't help wishing the adventure would happen to you. Fueled by a few memorable songs (the stunner being "You Can Fly") and the strong impression of the pixie fairy Tinkerbell and the goofy Captain Hook, Disney's version of this story neither supplants nor lessens the Broadway version with Mary Martin that was produced for television the same decade. Unlike some classics, Peter Pan
never ages along the way. --Doug Thomas