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Return to Never Land

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Promotional poster for Return to Never Land.

Return to Never Land is a 2002 animation film sequel to the 1953 film, produced by the DisneyToons studio in Sydney, Australia and released by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution. The original "Return to Never Land" DVD & Video was released on June 18, 2002. It included digitally animated sequences and an all-new voice cast. Return to Never Land was re-released on DVD on November 27, 2007.

Contents

Plot

The story begins in World War II London, during the Blitz. Peter Pan's former playmate Wendy Darling has grown up and married, and has two children of her own: an 11-year-old daughter Jane, and a 4-year-old son Danny. Her husband Edward is sent to fight in the war, leaving her to raise the children by herself. She tries to keep their spirits up with stories of Peter Pan, but Jane has become cynical under the pressures of war, belittling the stories her mother tells and ridiculing her brother's faith in them.

Captain Hook, who survived his encounter with the crocodile at the end of the last film, has sailed through the skies on his pixie-dust-enchanted pirate ship. He finds Jane sleeping by the window, and – mistaking her for Wendy – abducts her to use in a scheme to defeat Peter Pan, narrowly escaping as the German Luftwaffe attack London. Back in Never Land, he drops the girl into the waiting tentacles of "the beast", a giant octopus, expecting Peter to also be devoured by it as he dives after "Wendy" to save her.

Peter rescues Jane, and upon finding she is Wendy's daughter, assumes she would like to follow in her mother's footsteps. He takes her to his home to be mother to the Lost Boys, but Jane refuses, more interested in getting back home. They try to make her have fun and to teach her to fly, but she fails because she doesn't believe. She blurts out that she doesn't even believe in fairies, which leaves Tinker Bell slowly dying.

Jane leaves them, and is approached by Hook, who tricks her with a deal. He promises to take her home and lies that he won't harm Peter, and she agrees to help him find his treasure. He gives Jane a whistle to signal him when she locates it. She returns to the Lost Boys to play a game of "treasure hunt", and they try to win her into becoming one of them, so she'll believe in fairies and restore Tinker Bell's health. When Jane finds the treasure, she throws Hook's whistle away, but Tootles finds it and – not realizing what it is for – blows it. Hook and crew arrive, and capture Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, but let Jane go as thanks for "helping" them. Peter hears this and says that now because she doesn't believe in fairies, Tink's light would go out.

Back at the Lost Boys' home, Jane gets to Tinker Bell too late, but with her new-found belief, she revives her. They hurry to the Jolly Roger, where they find Peter on the plank. Jane saves him, and with the help of "faith, trust, and pixie dust" learns to fly. Hook grabs Jane, but Peter saves her, also sinking the ship. Hook and the pirates exit via a rowboat, pursued by the giant octopus who due to a major sight problem, believes them to be different kinds of fish.

Now that she can fly, Jane is able to return home to Wendy and Danny; Peter and Tinker Bell escort her. Peter and Wendy are briefly reunited, and he is displeased that she's grown up, but she assures him that she hasn't really changed. Edward returns from the army, the family is reunited, the family watches as Peter Pan and Tinker Bell quietly fly home.

Differences from the novel

The final chapter of Barrie's Peter and Wendy briefly introduces Wendy as an adult, and her daughter Jane, serving as the premise for Return to Never Land. Disney's Jane is modern: tomboyish and independent, and fully capable of taking care of herself; Barrie's Jane plays the part of a new Wendy: motherly and domestic. In the film, Jane refuses to believe her mother's stories about Peter Pan, and is brought to Never Land by force (by Hook); in the book Jane is eager to believe in Peter Pan, and she meets and flies away with Peter much as Wendy did (but with her mother's knowledge and permission). Wendy's son Danny and husband Edward are new characters created for Return to Never Land; they are not in the novel.

The film is more properly a sequel to Disney's 1953 animated film rather than the novel, and reflects the ending of the film instead. For example, Captain Hook was not killed by the crocodile (who didn't appear in the sequel but is mentioned), and Tinker Bell has not died as explained by Barrie. In the novel, the Lost Boys returned to London with Wendy and grew up like normal children, but in Return to Never Land they have stayed as young as Peter Pan himself. However, they are all somewhat different characters than they were in the original film. Like the pirates, they have become even less serious and far less competent, designed almost completely as characters to laugh at.

Voice cast

Because nearly five decades had passed since the original Disney film, a new cast of voice actors was used for this sequel. Kathryn Beaumont, who provided the voice of Wendy in the original, recorded all of the now-adult character's dialogue for Return to Never Land, but Disney later had Kath Soucie completely rerecord the role.

Soundtrack

Joel McNeely composed the score of Return to Never Land.

Track listing

  1. "Do You Believe in Magic?"
    • BBMak
  2. "Main Title"
  3. "Second Star to the Right"
    • Jonatha Brooke
  4. "Tale of Pan"
  5. "I'll Try"
    • Jonatha Brooke
  6. "Jane Is Kidnapped"
  7. "Childhood Lost"
  8. "Here We Go Another Plan"
    • Jeff Bennett
  9. "Summoning the Octopus/Pan Saves Jane"
  10. "Flight Through Never Land"
  11. "So to Be One of Us"
  12. "Meet the Lost Boys"
  13. "Now That You're One of Us"
    • They Might Be Giants
  14. "Longing for Home"
  15. "Hook and the Lost Boys"
  16. "Hook Deceives Jane"
  17. "Jane Finds the Treasure"
  18. "Pan Is Captured"
  19. "I'll Try (Reprise)"
    • Jonatha Brooke
  20. "Jane Saves Tink and Pan"
  21. "Jane Can Fly"
  22. "Flying Home"
  23. "Reunion"

Reception

Return to Never Land grossed $48,423,368 domestically and $26,481,222 overseas, for a total of $74,904,590. With an estimated budget of $20,000,000, this made Return to Never Land a modestly successful theatrical release. This was before DVD sales, which had been the initially planned market for the film. Critics seemed to feel that it was lackluster, giving it a total score of 45% on rotten tomatoes.

Release

Return to Never Land was released on DVD August 20, 2002, and it took in only lukewarm sales. The movie was also released in a Peter Pan Trilogy, along with the Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, on December 18, 2008.

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