Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Dustin Hoffman, Radha Mitchell
Directed by: Marc Forster
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Video: 2.35:1 enhanced for 16:9 widescreen, 1080p HD
Audio: English PCM 5.1 Uncompressed, English and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Chinese, Korean
Supplements: Director, writer and producer audio commentary; Three featurettes (“The Magic of Finding Neverland”, “Creating Neverland” and “On the Red Carpet”); Three deleted scenes with optional commentary; Outtakes; Movie showcase
Length: 101 minutes
Movie Rating: **** AV Quality Rating: ***1/2
Writer James M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) finds himself at a career crossroads after his latest play fails. Barrie’s personal life is not much better as he is stuck in a loveless and childless marriage to a woman wondering when he is going to grow up. In need of inspiration, Barrie meets the widow Sylvia Davies (Kate Winslet) and her four adventurous boys while walking his dog in the park. Together they form a friendship that sparks Barrie’s imagination and leads to the creation of Barrie’s greatest literary work, “Peter Pan”. This film was nominated for several Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and it is easy to understand why the film received so much critical praise. Depp and Winslet give brilliant performances (which seems to be the norm for them), as does child actor Freddie Highmore (who played Peter and was also in the recent release of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”). The costume design for this period piece looked authentic and the Oscar-winning score soared. As “Peter Pan” is a story that so many of us had come to love as children, it was fascinating for me to learn a little about the man and events behind the popular story. Highly recommended.
In terms of HD video quality, this Blu-ray DVD ranks somewhere between fair and good. Images are somewhat soft but are otherwise clean with fine detail and dark blacks (if you have a display that shows them). Colors are warm and robust with fully-saturated hues. Picture defect mastering is commendable with no major flaws aside from some occasional film grain. The audio quality is good, with the compressed English Dolby Digital 5.1 track serving as the basis for this review (an uncompressed PCM 5.1 track is also available). With the exception of the fantasy sequences, the soundtrack of “Finding Neverland” is focused towards the forward soundstage. Dialogue is natural sounding and intelligible (which is not always the case when British accents are involved). The surround channels are selectively utilized for both the sound effects and the musical score. The LFE channel is tight and punchy.
-Calvin Harding Jr.