Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Peter Pan

Walt Disney Animation Studios 14th feature film.


My opinion right after watching movie

My opinion right after watching the film is that it is pretty darn good. The plot is well paced and tightened, it has a strong lesson that prevails throughout the film, it has a lot of charm, and it is a lot of fun. While some of the characters are unlikable, the ones we follow from start to finish are the ones that are likable.


In 1935, the film was intended to be the second film after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but he could not get the rights to it until 1939, and it was then supposed to be the fourth film to be released after Snow White, Bambi, and Pinocchio, but it got pushed back because of the war and from problems with the story. There were many changes, like the backstory of Peter Pan, the parents coming home to find their children gone, Nana originally going to go to Neverland with the kids, and more. Production was put to halt on 1941, forcing this film, Alice in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows, and Fun and Fancy Free to stall in production.

After the war ended, they were still broke and continued to make package films. After they started to make revenue shortly after Fun and Fancy Free was released in 1947, production for the film as we knew it started. Many of the voice actors for this film were also live action references for their characters.

Peter Pan is the final film in the canon to be distributed by RKO Pictures (the money from Cinderella caused them to make their own distribution company), and for all of the 9 old men to work together.


So the narrator is telling us that a story of Peter Pan coming to kids house and taking them away has and will continue to happen, but this time it happens in London, where we are greeted to our main character Wendy (Kathryn Beaumont); I will discuss later as to why she is the main character and not Peter Pan. Her parents are going out and George Darling (Hans Conried) is looking for a part of his outfit, but is tripping on blocks, and found out that a part of his clothing has been colored as a map through Neverland. He loses it and lectures his kids, but his wife tells him he overreacted. He gets even more upset when they rush to Nana when they both tripped instead of him.

If this bullshit happened to me, I would have snapped and some major decisions would be made in the household. He sends the dog outside, because he is a dog and not a nanny, and tells Wendy that this is her last night in the nursery, and it is her time to grow up. Time to get more practical.

So the adults leave and the children go to sleep. Wendy tells to her mother that she has Pan’s shadow. Peter Pan (Bobby Driscoll) goes into the house to get his shadow, and Wendy wakes up. They are immediately attracted to one another and as she sows on his shadow, he says that girls talk to much and tells her to “get on with it girl” establishing what a prick this guy is. I will discuss him harshly in the Characters section.

Tinkerbell is jealous of Wendy because she and Peter have an attraction, so she tells Peter that she is ugly. So Wendy is taken to Neverland because Peter wants the Lost Boys to hear more stories about him, but she forces him to take her brothers with her. He gives them fairy dust to fly to Neverland, and we get the nice song of We Can Fly.

They reach to Neverland only for Captain Hook (Hans Conried) and his crew preparing to attack him. We find out that Captain Hook hates Peter Pan because he cut off his hand, which only establishes how much of a prick he is. So he shoots cannons at them, which ultimately fails. As Peter Pan tells Tinkerbell to take the Darings to the land safely, she flies off to tell the Lost Boys to kill Wendy, establishing what a prick she is too.

So Peter banishes her forever (a week), and decides to take Wendy to see the mermaids. John (Paul Collins) and Michael (Tommy Luske) go off with the Lost Boys to find those Red Skinned Indians, and eventually get captured because they think the boys know where Tiger Lily is.

I don’t know if I should be offended by their description and their interaction with the Natives or not.

Wendy’s trip to the mermaids are not fun as the thirsty girls try to kill her because they like Peter Pan. He thinks Wendy is overreacting, EVEN when the mermaid tells them that they were going to drown her. He follows Captain Hook to a cave, where they see Tiger Lily (who Hook took to wonder where Pan’s hideout is). Pan starts to creep them out and gets so full of himself that he almost gets killed. They fight for a while, but Hook flees because the crocodile that wants to eat him came back.

So they return Tiger Lily to her people, and Pan is for some reason deemed as a Chief. During the party, Wendy gets mad at all the foolishness and childishness on Neverland, but walks off when she sees Tiger Lily give a very suspicious dance to Peter Pan. She walks off of the hideout and demands Pan to take her home. He is mad that she is not praising him like everyone else is (insert 1000 eye rolls here), and he goes into his room. She establishes her development and change in her brothers with her singing about Mothers, and how they need to be practical at times.

Oh, while all of this goes down, Tinkerbell tells them where the hideout is, and they are planning to drop a bomb for Peter Pan to kill him. Am I supposed to root for her?

Hook kidnaps all of them but Pan and comes up with an ultimatum; either join his crew or walk the plank. Wendy decides to walk the plank, but gets saved by Peter Pan. Captain Hook is worried about the bomb going off, but Pan avoided it by Tinkerbell saving him it. The crews fight, Hook looses and is running from the Crocodile, and Pan decides it is time for the Darlings to go home. They make it back home and her father thinks that he is overreacted and is willing to let Nana stay in the home and for Wendy to stay in the nursery, but she tells them that she is ready to go home. We then have a nice ending of him looking at a boat cloud he saw when he was a little boy, with his wife, Wendy, and Nana looking at it together.

The story is very good. It establishes that it is time for us to grow up eventually, but we can still keep the fondness of childhood with us. It had slapstick at the right times, knew when to have action and when to have its serious moments. Something is always going on in the plot and you never feel as if a scene is unnecessary. Wendy and the Darlings come to a consensus, and it is a very warming film.


While I praise the plot, there are some characters that are too darn unlikable. A good amount of them are enjoyable, but the ones that are unlikable aren’t SUPPOSED to be unlikable. There is development (which seems to lack in the DP films so far, but in almost every single film otherwise). Most of them are not that developed though.

Some people call her bland, though I can see why, but she does have a personality. She is classy, graceful, curious, naturally mature, and is no-nonsense. When Tinkerbell constantly insults her, she just says “and I think you’re beautiful”. Now as to why I consider her a main character over Peter Pan. SHE is the one we are introduced to first, SHE is the one who develops and has to accept that she needs to grow up, most of the film is in her perspective, SHE is the core of the theme of the movie. And in that way, she is a good character.
Ugh, now let’s get to this prick. I think he is a prick because he only cares about others and to save others if it makes him look good. He is so arrogant that he goes to people’s houses to read stuff about HIM. Almost everything he does is about him. He is actually very cruel with how he thinks dark actions are very light. I just cannot get over how irritating he is. I guess an excuse for him can be the fact that he had no authority and had no need to grow up or mature.
He is a………decent villain. He is intimidating enough, and he is funny, but no one in the film takes him seriously or much of a threat. He does his job well enough, but he is mediocre.
She is a spiteful bitch. I have no reason to like her.
He is……. smart and useless.
Eh…. he is a baby.

The other characters like the Darling parents, Smee, and the Lost Boys are likable and entertaining.


The animation is good, but it does not stand out.  While it is alright to look at, the animation is the last thing on my mind. The colors don’t stand out, the designs don’t stand out, the backgrounds don’t stand out. It just does not stand out, though there is no bad things to say about it.


The music is good to listen to. Though half of them are useless like Following the Leader and What Makes a Red Man Red, the ones that are important are very good, and establishes the themes of the movie very well. Most of the soundtrack and the score has a calm, and mystical feeling to it, like it is symbolizing innocence.

Reception at Release

When the film was released on February 5, 1953, it was a HUGE success. It is the highest grossing film of 1953, and made $7 million out of its $4 million budget. This money would go into many things, like the film that was forever in Production; Sleeping Beauty, and the upcoming Disneyland. Critics praised this film.

Reception Today

It’s reception today is HUGE. It is one of the most iconic Disney films, and started a franchise in the 2000s. A sequel called Return to Neverland, 5 Tinkerbell movies, and a Disney Fairies franchise. Tinkerbell is one of the most known icons.

Final Score



Animation: 7.5/10

Music: 8/10

= 30/40 =75%

Next Time

Review: March 24th, 2014

20 thoughts on “Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Peter Pan

  1. This is the only film that when watching again for my project, I disliked it even though I had liked it before, and I’m not too sure why.

    I didn’t find myself liking any of the characters except for Mr. Darling. “Poor Nana?! Poor Nana?! Out, Out, I say!” You tell them, Mr. Darling!

    1. You know “Armes Nannilein” (“Poor Nana” in the German version) is kind of a saying in my family. Mostly used whenever someone is complaining about a minor thing, to lighten the mood again.

  2. I think the best part of the movie is the humour. I am really not a fan of slapstick, but the trio Hook, Smee, Crocodile is first class slapstick and I can still laugh about them.

    Otherwise…it’s one of those movies I like less the older I become. It’s a good one. But not an outstanding one.

    1. I still think it is better than a majority of Walt’s films, but there is this…….weird feeling about it. The humor is definitely good though.

      1. I think the main problem is that it’s a very safe movie…perfectly serviceable, but without any depth. It plays all the right notes for a Disney movie, but it doesn’t challenge the status quo the way movies like Lady and the Tramp did.

      2. Swanpride, I think that overall, the Silver Era films are safe and very sugar-fied. It was easier, and they were becoming a mega company. Walt started losing interest in animation around LatT-SB.

  3. Haven’t seen this one in years.
    I think Captain Hook is the most overrated Disney villain ever, as he’s just a cowardly, unthreatening buffoon. He’s funny, but not very menacing.

      1. All I will say about Lady and the Tramp is that I have almost nothing to bash about it. Captain Hook is kind of overrated. Definitely not one of the best villains.

    1. I think he manages both just fine…the scene when he his climbing up the rock behind Peter, the face in the shadow…he looks very menacing there. Or when he kills off one of his men in an offhand manner. I also love the way he pretends to act honourable while breaking every rule in the book.

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