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Disney 'Peter Pan' is back on movie screens

By David Sterritt / January 18, 1983



It's a pleasure to have Peter Pan back again after an absence of several years. While not a Disney classic of the very first rank - it's no ''Pinocchio'' or ''Dumbo'' - it has a sense of fun and imagination that stand up marvelously. And, as more than one critic has pointed out, it has a special kind of ''realism ,'' in that it presents the most fantastic flights of the old J.M. Barrie tale with no artifices but the film's own cartoon format.

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On the minus side, there are some slow spots, and the important Wendy character seems rather precious during her early scenes. On the plus side, though, there's the near-perfect portrayal of Captain Hook, not to mention the delicious idiocy of his henchman, Smee. And don't forget the warm sketches of the Darling household - or the fabulous battles between Hook and his nemesis, the tick-tocking crocodile, who stalks the wicked pirate in a zany reversal of the ''Moby Dick'' motif.

It adds up to a splendid show, which delighted my children last week as much as it captivated me when it was fresh in 1953. Long may it fly.