Return To Never Land

"Weak"

Return To Never Land Review


With this week's theatrical release of "Return to Never Land" and the video release of "Cinderella 2" on February 26, Disney has blatantly abandoned any and all pretense of making cartoons for love, for art or for the entertainment of children. Flimsy, forced, fabricated sequels to beloved classics are about one thing: money.

Disney has been doing straight-to-video sequels for years, but until recently the studio has had the decency not to desecrate its more timeless pictures. Now it seems anything is fair game -- even stories that end with the clear and definitive summation that "they live happily ever after."

"Peter Pan" has a little looser finale and has, of course, been sequelized once before. But while Steven Spielberg was reverential, funny and wonderfully creative in the liberties he took in "Hook" -- starring Robin Williams as an stuffy adult Peter who rediscovers his inner child -- "Return to Never Land" is nothing but a recycling of the same tired themes Disney has beaten to death in nearly every animated feature they've released in the last 15 years.

Opening during the Blitzkrieg on London during World War II, the cartoon introduces an adult Wendy and her deadly serious daughter Jane (the conspicuously un-childlike voice of Harriet Owen), who has become a very somber girl since her daddy went away to war. (Disney children are always short at least one parent.) She's too practical to believe any of the bedtime stories her mother tells about her adventures in Never Land -- that is until the night Captain Hook and his crew kidnap the girl as bait to lure Peter Pan into a trap.

A one-liner spouting Pan (voice of Blayne Weaver) rescues Jane, who then goes through pretty much all the same Lost Boys rights of initiation that Wendy once did (being viewed as the boys' new mother, learning to fly and crow). In the course of one montage sequence -- set to the tune of a superficial, forgettable pop song -- Jane comes to believe in faith, trust and pixie dust, then helps defeat Hook and save Tinker Bell (who has been reduced to a one-note jealously joke sidekick). And that's pretty much all the cursory, uncalled for "Return to Never Land" has to offer.

Minimal effort went into creating this movie, as evidenced by the unsophisticated animation and the lack of celebrity voices. Such things are not necessary to make a good animated film or even a good unauthorized sequel 'toon (see "The Tigger Movie"). But if Disney wants to bastardize classic children's stories by imagining what happened after their unequivocal endings, the least they could do is show a little ambition and imagination.



Return To Never Land

Facts and Figures

Run time: 72 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th February 2002

Box Office USA: $48.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $109.9M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures

Production compaines: Walt Disney Television Animation, DisneyToon Studios, Walt Disney Animation Australia, Walt Disney Animation Canada, Walt Disney Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
Fresh: 42 Rotten: 52

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: , Ian Harrowell

Starring: as Jane / Young Wendy (Voice), as Peter Pan (Voice), as Smee (Voice), as Wendy Darling (voice), as Captain Hook (voice), as Wendy Darling (voice), Andrew McDonough as Danny (voice), as Edward (voice), as Cubby (voice), as Nibs (voice), Quinn Beswick as Slightly (voice), Aaron Spann as Twins (voice)

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.