A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this movie is rated G, there is some peril, much comic but some a little scary. Children may want to know more about the Blitz (the movie never tells us who it is that is dropping bombs on London, we briefly see children being sent away from their families by train, and we can't tell from the end if the war is over or not).
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What's the story?
In this sequel to Disney's Peter Pan, Wendy has grown up, and is married with two children, Jane and Daniel. She loves to tell them stories about Peter Pan and Captain Hook. But World War II is underway, and London is blasted by bombs. Wendy's husband leaves for the war, telling Jane to take care of her mother and brother. Jane is strong and brave in the face of war and she doesn't allow herself to believe in Peter Pan or fairies. Just before Jane and Daniel are going to be sent away to the countryside, where it is safer, Jane is kidnapped by Captain Hook. He thinks that if he captures Wendy, Peter Pan will come to save her. Because he lives in Never Land, he does not realize that Wendy has grown up. But then, neither does Peter, who does come to rescue her, and is just as happy when it turns out to be Jane. But she does not want to stay with the Lost Boys, even when they make her a Lost Girl. Before Jane can go home, though, she will have to learn to believe in "faith, trust, and pixie dust."
Is it any good?
This pleasant but forgettable sequel can't compare to the original. While it manages a couple of magical moments (especially the opening credit sequence and Captain Hook's pirate ship flying through London), the music, performances, animation, and story are strictly at the straight-to-video level.
For a story about the power of imagination, RETURN TO NEVER LAND is especially lackluster. The original story's crocodile has been replaced by an octopus for no particular reason, and the action sequences are replays of the first version. The sexism and racism of the original are excised (Jane rescues Peter in this one). But that is not enough to make up for a script that even at under 90 minutes, is just too long.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: February 15, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: August 20, 2002
- Cast: Corey Burton, Harriet Owen, Spencer Breslin
- Director: Robin Budd
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Pirates
- Run time: 73 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: mild peril
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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