Almost 50 years after the release of the original “Peter Pan,” in 2002, Disney went back to the well with the sequel, “Return to Never Land.” Unlike many of Disney’s sequels to their classics released around this same time, “Return” was a theatrical release, and it shows in the quality of the animation. Unfortunately, the story is lacking, and not just when compared to the original. It is busy and pleasant enough, though, to hold the attention of the kiddies.
Some years have passed in this reunion. Wendy is grown, living in London, married, and has two children of her own. World War II is raging, London is under siege, Wendy’s husband leaves for battle, and Wendy’s daughter, Jane, is so embittered and jaded by it all that she refuses to believe Wendy’s stories about Tinkerbell and Peter Pan.
Captain Hook arrives just in time to change all that. Confusing Jane with Wendy, and still out for revenge, Hook kidnaps Jane to Never Never Land and it is up to Peter Pan to save her (there is a twist here).
With a brief runtime of only 72 minutes and packed with plenty of action, the film certainly isn’t boring. But it does lack heart and imagination (some of the action scenes are awfully similar to what we saw in the original), and even a sense of nostalgia for its predecessor. The wee ones, however, might not be charmed, but are almost certain to have a good time.
Return to Never Land is available at Amazon.com.