Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Barrie versus Disney

An amusing article from a UK publication, which compares J. M. Barrie's original play of Peter Pan to the Disney animated film. The writer seems to defend the Disney version, but often can't decide which adaption he prefers. 
It's a fun read that deals with the Americanization of English folklore.


  1. Disney's Peter Pan to me is as admirable an artistic effort as most animated features from that era, this one standing out for the handling of realistic human characters. That said, I'm not very fond of it overall because it doesn't capture the bitter-sweet poetry of the book. I'll admit, however, that I haven't see any Pan-themed movies I thoroughly enjoyed for similar reasons, not Spielberg's Hook (even though I rather enjoy Dustin Hoffman's comically hammy acting), nor the 2003 movie.

    The issue of the portrayal of the Red Indians (I'm using the outdated term deliberately here) to me is just one of the areas where the Disney version falls subjectively flat. Accusations of racism aside, the animation of the infamous song is very whimsical. However, in spite of it being meant to be little more than a comic relief sequence, I find its underlying idea or "gag" just not very witty or charming.

  2. Thanks for the scans, Andreas. A good read.

    I can't comment much on Peter Pan, not having read or seen the original play, but I do think I see the author's point: I feel much the same way about The Wind in the Willows and most adaptations of it, not only Disney's version. And there's one observation I can make: the play has themes of the sad necessity of growing up, which the film touches on in some places. Yet at the end of the film, Wendy is given special dispensation to at least delay 'growing up'. (And since the film ends at that point, we never see her go on to 'grow up') I can see how that would grate against the play's - and some of the film's own - points.

    And anyone can tell me I don't know what I'm talking about (I might not) but flipping the story so the protagonists don't have to grow up also seems a little 'Walt'.

    Also, I think his (Walt's) comment is interesting: "...the cartoon method gave us many advantages over the stagecraft of Barrie's day." It could almost refer to modern computer-generated effects, with similar implications. While the animation in Peter Pan is good, and arguably of more artistic merit than a lot of effects-schlock today (Transformers quickly springs to mind, among others) - not to mention useful when it comes to representations of flying boys and grudge-bearing crocodiles, etc. - I wonder if the possibilities of the medium were an added inducement to have "emphasised action and comedy and spectacle" over the theme of the play's story.

  3. Greetings Mr. Deja,

    It is an honor for mi to write to you to invite you to teach an Animation Workshop in México. To share more details with you, I ask that you please give me an e-mail adress or some other way of contacting you.

    Thank you for your time and I will wait for your reply with enthusiasm.

    P.S. Your blog is one of the best animation portals I know!

    1. Hi Laura,
      currently I am very focused on finishing my animated film, and won't have the time for travel.
      If you want to discuss further, you can leave your email here.

    2. Allow me to cheer you on for the completion of your animated feature, and I'll gladly keep in touch to organize your eventual visit to Mexico in the future. Our students and teachers really hope to meet you and listen to what you have to say.

      My official e-mail is lquintanilla@uartesdigitales.edu.mx

      Thank you once again for your time!