Return to Never Land [2002]

Unlike Disney's other sequels to their classic films, this follow-up to the 1953 version of Peter Pan debuted in theaters. World War II has turned Wendy's preteen daughter, Jane, into a realist, a girl who insists there's no need for stories and fun while London is crumbling. Hook kidnaps Jane (thinking she's Wendy) and returns to "the second star to the right" to foil Pan. Alas, the film doesn't build on this new story line (the London scenes have the most emotional impact), and what follows is a thin reworking of the original. On the plus side, a clever octopus takes over from that old crocodile, and Jane turns out to be a solid--and modern--role model. Those from ages 4 to 9 who have been brought up on the original should enjoy these adventures, even if the story, like Peter himself, "hasn't grown up." The 72-minute film is shown with the delightful 1948 short "Pluto's Fledgling." --Doug Thomas

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