Return to Never Land (2002)

Genres - Children's/Family, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Fantasy Adventure  |   Release Date - Feb 15, 2002 (USA)  |   Run Time - 73 min.  |   Countries - Australia, Canada, United States  |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Craig Butler

Peter Pan is a film that doesn't really require a sequel, which fact harms Return to Neverland. Clearly, the impetus behind the film's creation was monetary rather than artistic. That said, Return is not a bad film, but it is in no way an A-level effort from the Disney studios. The vocal talent is not to blame: Blayne Weaver and Corey Burton do an admirable job of imitating the original Bobby Driscoll and Hans Conried without being slavish, and Harriet Owen plays Jane with appropriate fire and gusto. The animation is more than acceptable, but also a bit mechanical. It's smooth and professional but lacks real spark. The larger problem is with the script and direction, both of which are too artificial, as if the directors and writers put their minds but not their hearts into the project. And attempts to subtly modernize the story -- from Jane's occasional too-contemporary reactions and phrases to the "cartoonification" of the Lost Boys to the unmemorable song contributed by Jonatha Brooke -- are annoying. Still, there's enough here to entertain the children at whom it is squarely aimed, as well as adults who are willing to let things slide for another trip with the boy who wouldn't grow up.