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Jake and the Neverland Pirates: It’s a Winter Never Land! / Hook on Ice! (2011) Movie Review

Jake and the Neverland Pirates: It’s a Winter Never Land! / Hook on Ice! (2011)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

Starring: David Arquette, Colin Ford, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Loren Hoskins, Madison Pettis
Director: Kelly Ward, Howy Parkins, Mickey Corcoran
Series: Jake and the Never Land Pirates Season 1, Episode 24
Release Date: 2 December 2011
Language: English
Length: 25 minutes
Movie Rating: TV-G
View Format: TV
My Rating: image_thumb82_thumb1_thumb1

Synopsis:

“It’s a Winter Never Land” – Hook and his pirates don’t want to go to all of the work to decorate a tree and get presents for Merry Winter Treasure Day so they steal everything from the Lost Boys.  Jake and his pals track the pirates through icy conditions, but are unable to recover all of their decorations and gifts.  Can they all remember what is really important about Winter Treasure Day?  Will the pirates learn the true meaning of Winter Treasure Day?

“Hook on Ice!” – In the spirit of the holiday, Captain Hook asks Jake and the Lost Boys to join the pirates on the hunt for the Snow Day Treasure.  Bring your slippery, slidey things (sleds, skis and more!) and get ready for adventure!  With Jake and his team helping out, can the pirates travel down the snowy slope, trick their way past the ice ogre, and save Hook (multiple times) so they can claim the treasure?

Review:

This is a popular and fun Disney Jr. show for toddlers and preschoolers.  It is a learning show and they teach counting, critical thinking skills and other lessons in a fun and interactive way.  I typically find something in the Disney shows that entertains me as an adult and I have tried to watch this show a few times, but it is solidly made for young children and does not really have anything in it for older kids or adults.  That said, it is beautifully made and my little nephews look forward to watching it every morning.  My favorite characters are the two real-Bones and Sharkeylife pirates (Loren Hoskins and Kevin Hendrickson) who sing all of the songs for the show.  If there is anything for adults in this series, it is these two and the funny songs they sing.  Typically the songs are at the beginning and end of the episodes, however, so there is dead space in between.  If you have little boys or girls at home, this is a great show for them to enjoy watching in the mornings before they go to school.  The main character is Jake, a little devil-may-care boy who is a lot like Peter Pan, but his crew has girls, boys and animals so everyone is covered and has someone to root for.  The adult pirates are bumblers and never seem to do anything right so it is easy for the children to defeat them all the time.  Good times for kids.

This particular episode is as close to Christmas as you get with this series.  Disney has been trying really hard to make some of their children’s shows non-Hook on Icedenominational holiday celebrations and this one is no exception.  The “c” word (Christmas) is not mentioned, it is all about treasure days.  Now, children who celebrate Christmas will recognize the decorated Christmas tree and presents that Hook stole from the kids, but for those who celebrate another holiday, it is just a decoration in the series.  The spirit of the holidays is found in this show, however, and I think that it offers a great lesson about valuing friends and family and being a better person around the holidays.  Captain Hook in particular did a great job illustrating this point as he is never willing to share with anyone and is much more likely to steal.  In “It’s a Winter Never Land!,” Hook regrets stealing the presents and cannot It's a Winter Never Landeven enjoy his ill-gotten gains.  Instead, he gives them back and then Jake and his crew invite the pirates to celebrate with them.  In “Hook on Ice!,” Captain Hook asks Jake if they can help him find the treasure so that they can borrow all of their snow gear (snowboard, sled, etc.).  Then he shares the treasure with the kids at the end.  Even though it seems like every Christmas show talks about sharing and the value of giving, I don’t think that you can show your children too many examples of this in action, especially for little kids who focus so much on the getting around this time of year.

With bright, friendly colors and simple storylines, Jake and the Never Land Pirates is definitely a show that is welcome in my home for young children.  They speak slowly and clearly and have some fun, piratey songs that kids will 122428_0026enjoy.  The characters try to encourage the children watching to participate by doing motions and cheering/talking in appropriate places.  I always encourage the kids watching to follow along (usually by doing it myself) as I love that they are trying to make shows interactive.  This is a great choice to watch around the holidays, especially if you are looking for something without Santa in it (Peter Pan sent the gifts).

Content:

Appropriate for children of ages, recommended for ages 2 and up.

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Filed under Animated Movies, Children & Family Movies, Christmas, Disney

Return to Never Land (2002) Movie Review

Return to Never Land

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

Series: Peter Pan #2
Starring: Harriet Owen, Blayne Weaver, Corey Burton, Jeff Bennett, Kath Soucie
Director: Robin Budd & Donovan Cook
Release Date: 15 February 2002
Language: English
Length: 72 minutes
Movie Rating: G
View Format: TV
My Rating: image_thumb83_thumb1_thumb

Synopsis:

When Jane’s father charges her with the safety of her mother and brother while he is away serving in the military, she takes her new responsibilities very seriously.  Convinced she is now too old to hear stories about Peter Pan and Captain Hook, she refuses to listen to them and argues with her little brother about them.  So when Captain Hook kidnaps her and sweeps her off to Never Land, Jane is in for a real surprise!  Determined to return home, Jane makes the mistake of trusting Captain Hook and gets Peter Pan and the Lost Boys into a great deal of trouble…

Review:

The Disney sequels are typically not as good as the originals and Return to Never Land is no exception.  Though this movie was created for theatrical release (and I saw it in the theater back in the day), there is just something Return to Never Landmissing that keeps it from being truly memorable.  All of the characters are back from the original Peter Pan movie, with the exception of Wendy and her brothers.  Instead, we have Jane, Wendy’s daughter, who is determined to be an adult even though she is clearly a child.  It was sad to see her refusing to play and to join in the antics of the other children.  I think it is important for us to remember that there is a very short time in life where children should be allowed and encouraged to act like children.  Go out and have fun, play games, take risks, learn about the world around you by exploring.  Too many parents push their children to act like adults at far too young of an age.  Though it is sweet of Jane to try to help her parents in this trying time in World War II, her mother seems more than capable of handling their physical care and just needs Jane’s support and high spirits to help her through.

The animation is top-notch.  It is simple, but everything is well drawn and Never Land is completely recognizable and loveable.  Captain Hook’s new nemesis (replacing the crocodile), is a huge octopus who got a taste of the Captain and now can’t resist trying to hunt him down.  He follows behind the Jolly Roger, Hook's Octopusbending his arms and using his suction cups to make a sound similar to the crocodile in the original.  Captain Hook’s interactions with his crew and the octopus are the best parts of the movie (Hook’s over-the-top reactions to the octopus are really funny!), but there are some cute scenes with the Lost Boys.  It was wonderful to see the children playing games and singing songs on Never Land, particularly when Jane joined in the fun and played treasure hunt with everyone else.  Little girls will thrill at the idea of being in Jane’s shoes and becoming the first Lost Girl, especially when she has to save the day at the end of the book!  Though this movie will also appeal to boys because of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, the main character, Jane, is heavily featured and seems to be geared more towards girls.

If you have little ones who are fans of the original Peter Pan, you should Jane Become a Lost Girlconsider adding Return to Never Land to your regular rotation.  It is always wonderful to return to the magical realm of Never Land, whether it is through reading the book, watching the original movie or enjoying Jake and the Never Land Pirates on TV and this movie is no exception.  Though a little lacking in spirit and not at all the storyline that I was expecting, I ultimately found Return to Never Land a sweet little tale that I will enjoy watching again in the future.

Content:

This movie contains some cartoon violence between the Lost Boys who punch each other and knock each other on their heads with clubs.  The boys talk about how they refuse to allow a girl into their club, but they eventually accept Jane.  A giant octopus keeps trying to eat Captain Hook, but he is so funny in the way he reacts and his escape attempts that it should not be scary for children.  Recommended for ages 3 and up.

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Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns! (2012) Movie Review

Jake & the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns! (2012)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

Series: Jake and the Never Land Pirates
Starring: David Arquette, Colin Ford, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Loren Hoskins, Madison Pettis
Director: Kelly Ward, Howy Parkins, Mickey Corcoran
Release Date: 13 February 2012
Language: English
Length: 40 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: DVD
My Rating: image_thumb84_thumb1_thumb

Synopsis:

Peter Pan has returned to Neverland because he needs help – his shadow is missing!  Jake and his friends are ready to help Peter search everywhere, but Captain Hook finds Peter’s shadow first!  Without his shadow, Peter Pan is not happy enough to fly and, if he can’t fly, he can’t catch Captain Hook!  Can Jake and his crew get Peter’s shadow back?

Review:

This is such a charming special that I cannot resist watching it every time it Jake, Peter Pan and the Crewcomes on TV.  I confess that I was a bit disappointed that the Jake and the Never Land Pirates series was way too young for me to enjoy watching, but this particular feature-length episode is an exception.  The regular episodes are geared towards preschool age children (not that this would keep me from watching it if it was clever instead of just cute) and, while this “movie-length” version is also meant for the younger set, the music and details definitely enhance the show enough for older viewers to enjoy it, too.

My favorite part about this show is the music.  Most of the feature-length specials that are created out of popular TV shows are just a longer episode, but this one is something truly special. Not only is Peter Pan (voice by Adam Wylie) Peter is Too Sad to Flyback as a guest-star for this episode, but the show is packed with wonderful music!  “Here We Go, Yo Ho” will definitely play in your mind long after the movie ends, as it should, because it is wonderful!  Peter Pan sings a lovely lament about not being able to fly any more and there are several other songs included, as well. If you wait until the end of the movie, you can see two live-action pirate guys (Loren Hoskins and Kevin Hendrickson) who are part of Captain Hook’s (voice by Corey Burton ) crew singing another new song.  These two play dimwitted pirates to perfection and are a lot of fun to watch!

I also enjoyed the details that the animators included as Peter Pan, Jake (voice by Colin Ford ) and his crew traveled around Never Land.  The Tiki Trees all have different faces that change expression as you run by, the Cave of Shadows 126795_0042is delightfully spooky and the final race with pirate ships will have your little one cheering!  I believe that this series is created using CGI, but the show has a hand-drawn look, as well, which I find particularly attractive.  Your children will also be learning from Peter Pan as the episode plays.  While I found it ironic that Peter is cautioning Jake and his crew to look before they leap and to plan carefully before they take action, I guess he is the oldest person on the island!  This special features a new, more mature Peter and he helps Jake and the gang figure out how to outwit Captain Hook and eventually return Peter’s shadow to them.

If you have a little one at home, they will surely delight in watching this movie. It only runs about 40 minutes long so I am really using the term “movie” loosely, but for a younger viewer, this is the perfect length.  Packed with music, silly pirate antics and lots of adventure, this fast-paced feature will be sure to please your little pirate or princess at home!

Content:

This movie contains a mildly scary scene in a shadowy cave where things are pretty dark, but it really isn’t scary.  Recommended for ages 18 months and up.

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