Return to Neverland – Disneycember

The critically “panned” sequel to a timeless classic, but is Return to Neverland as it’s made out to be?

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. this and lion king 2 are really the only disney sequals i really liked.

    I mean i didnt love peter pan 2 but i enjoyed watching it.

    (i also didnt mulan 2 when i first watched it but watching it again im not a fan)

  2. The movie wasn’t panned by critics, it was actually just met with mixed reception with critics. I don’t think it’s as flawed as all of that, in fact, I don’t think the direct-to-video sequels are as bad as everyone makes them out to be, a lot of the times I think the complaints are nitpicky. The I’ll Try song and the Second Star To The Right aren’t that poppy or dated. Besides, if you wanna talk dated, look at What Makes The Red Man Red. The original was actually really flawed and dated in a lot of ways. Unpopular opinion, this movie is actually better in my opinion. I feel Jane’s emotional struggle to find a balance between keeping her childhood, but also being mature. She had to grow up too fast with the war going on and how she acts is understandable. I felt a lot more for this movie than the original because I found Hook to be a better villain here, there’s more emotion here, the main character is so likable and kind of complex, the animation is gorgeous, it’s a fun story, Jane is well-developed, Peter Pan actually shows he does have feelings and does care (I don’t count his last minute, “You mean more to me than anything in this world” to Tinkerbell in the first movie), Jane and Peter have a lot of chemistry, and is honestly among one of the best Disney sequels. I’m glad he liked the movie and found it to be good, though not great or fantastic. I personally find it to be fantastic, but to each their own.

    • I’d also like to point out the story of Wendy and her brothers going to Neverland isn’t the original story. It was a sequel.

      • I’m confused what you mean? Peter Pan isn’t a sequel, it is the original story (based on the play). Despite the name, Wendy is the primary protagonist of the original book, and it is about her and her brother’s going to Neverland. The character Peter Pan was mentioned in a few chapters of another book (The Little White Bird) but this was more the origin for the character’s idea: essentially his back story that the idea for the play and novel grew out of.

        • I’m talking about the books that the Disney movie is based on. The story of Wendy and her brothers wasn’t the original story of Peter Pan, it was actually a sequel.

    • 45% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 5.4, yeah it was pretty panned. Peter panned, even.

      • Yeah, that’s actually pretty mixed. In order for it to be panned, it would have to be A LOT lower than that. I’m talking like 25% or less. Also, save the pan humor, I’ve heard enough of that crap on youtube.

  3. I liked Mulan 2 and Lion King 2, as well as Return to Neverland.

  4. Hate to post two comments on the same video, but clearly not enough not to do it. But for me the top 11 (One step beyond and all that, besides those are the only ones I consider to be excellent movie, though the sequels aren’t that bad honestly) best animated Disney sequels (Counting Pixar or The Rescuers Down Under) are:

    11.The Tigger Movie
    10.Cinderella 3: A Twist In Time
    9.The Rescuers Down Under
    8.Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin
    7.Aladdin and The King of Thieves
    6.Return To Neverland
    5.Toy Story 2
    4.The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (Though objectively it’s the best of the direct-to-video sequels)
    3.Beauty and The Beast and The Enchanted Christmas (Yeah, unpopular opinion, but I think it’s a great movie, not nearly as good as the original and has it’s problems, but very movies don’t have flaws)
    2.Lady and The Tramp 2: Scamp’s Adventure
    1.Toy Story 3

    • For me personally, putting Pixar aside since Toy Story is a given, I like Lion Kind 2, Lady and the Tramp 2, and of course Rescuers Down Under. I’d really like to see a review of the 2 former that I mentioned.
      As far as Pixar, Toy Story 2 may very well be my favorite movie ever made. I do think it’s better than the other 2(TS’s) objectively but I also of course have personal reasons for this.
      In case you care, which no one does, TS2 was the movie I called. As a kid, I kept asking, “When is it coming out mom?” and everyone’s reply was “Honey, it’s too old, they won’t make a sequel.” So not only do I consider this movie my bragging rights but I love it to pieces. And, as a kid that was born the year the first one came out, they will all be nostalgic for me forever. Except 4…. we’ll see if I have to disown that one or not.

  5. I always loved this movie as a kid. I remember having a Peter Pan birthday party, but it had to be a Peter Pan 2 party. I was very adamant about everyone knowing that the party was Peter Pan 2 themed. I watched it again recently and saw the flaws the movie had, but I still really enjoyed it. I understand it’s not perfect but I think as far as Disney sequels go, it’s one of the better ones. I’m so glad you reviewed this movie! I hope you review Disney’s Teachers Pet next for Disneycember. That was always such an odd but intriguing film in my opinion.

    • I also hope he decides to check out some episodes of the show before reviewing it. (Heck, episode 1 is on the DVD. He can check that out in advance to get a better understanding of the film)

  6. Oh God, I loved this film as a child. It’s one of the better Disney sequels-and I should know, because as well as growing up with the classics from the 90s, I also remember a time when Disney sequels were everywhere but I didn’t have much of an opinion on it because I was a kid who just wanted to watch good films and I loved both 2D and 3D, (I grew up with Pixar, and THAT was just a highlight of my childhood you can imagine how spellbound I was over Finding Nemo, how I adored Monsters Inc, replayed Toy Story over and over and was treated like an adult by the Incredibles) but YEEEEEAH the sequels to some of these great animated classics were very desperate and really stupid, I think Saturday TV Funhouse poked fun at it (search Bambi 2002) But I loved Return to Neverland. I loved Jane because she has realistic reactions to the world she’s in. Where Wendy was wide eyed, impressed and dazzled by Neverland Jane bitches and whines first before warming up to it, which is understandable I mean she’s been kidnapped by pirates.
    I think that setting it in WW2 is really good too, (despite what Critic said that song gets me every time) because it shows the struggles and it shows how some people used to live and people who still live like that-this film came out a year after the September 11 attacks and I think there were some people who needed escapism and what better place to escape to than Neverland where your only problems are pirates and murderous mermaids?
    Also I noticed that the Indians from the first film are absent from this sequel

  7. I actually did enjoy this film as kid. I liked the animation a lot. Recently I watched it again and while some of the pop songs don’t work, “Second Star to the right” I kind of liked. Now the Person playing Pan is clearly not the original but Doug is right, he does a damn good job sounding like Peter. However i was unaware that the actor playing Hook wasn’t the same one. I can’t tell a difference it’s incredible!

    • You’d think that be obvious seeing as this film is 5 decades later but I just assumed the actor just happened to be 20 years old when he recorded the first film and maybe he was like late 60’s and 70’s during the sequel.

  8. Aw, I liked Treasure Planet. Anyways, that’s off topic. I remember seeing Return to Neverland. I didn’t like the first Peter Pan but I HATED Peter Pan 2. I guess you can say that if you don’t like the first one, you definitely won’t like the second one. LOL. I hope that you review the other Disney sequels because I saw quite a few of them. No wonder I didn’t like Disney as a kid. ;D

  9. As far as the direct-to-video sequels go, Return to Jafar is my favorite.

  10. Wait, so you’re not reviewing the rest of the Muppet movies? You should at least do Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island (a personal favorite of mine) as those were co-produced by Disney despite the fact they hadn’t acquired the franchise yet.

  11. I liked the song during the sad moment. I liked it better than the lost boys song.

  12. I couldn’t finish watching it. At least I lasted longer than Atlantis 2: Milo’s return. We turned that off about five minutes into the movie.

    On the other hand, I do like The Lion King 2. True the outlanders sort of came from nowhere, but I can shrug it off. Zira was just so psychotic I practically loved every minute she was on screen. I swear “My Lullaby” is better than “Be Prepared,” at least in my opinion. It just has more ‘umph’ to it and seems more threatening.

    Hated that love song though /shiver. It was kind of humerus to see Simba put in his father’s place and Nalaa point out ‘yeah, all the trouble we got into, that was you.’ It was a little corny in places, but at the same time it actually made an enemies death sad. Poor boy, he just wanted his mother’s approval.

    Cinderella 2, from what I recall, was basically nothing more than a bunch of short stories, so it wasn’t bad really and can’t really be called a movie on it’s own. Aladdin was good, all three of them. Little Mermaid 2 was cringe worthy, but I did make it through to the end. It just wasn’t interesting and the character’s were boring with a villian that was extremely non threatening.

    • Sad part is, Little Mermaid 2 had an interesting idea going for it, but they just did nothing interesting with it at all. I mean, Ariel’s daughter longing to be a mermaid is an obvious, but cool idea, along the lines of Simba being put in his father’s position… since Ariel disapproved of her daughter’s desires initially, although you’d think Ariel would have more enlightenment and acceptance beforehand. She was more sympathetic towards her daughter at least, but the fact I don’t remember it well enough to even comment on it much proves how little impact it truly had.

      The most memorable part was just how cringe-worthy having Ursula’s sister as the villain was. I mean, seriously? That too didn’t have to be terrible, but the way they introduced it and didn’t really do anything with her as a character made it even more lazy and kind of pointless beyond giving the movie a lackluster plot and a reason for Ariel to fret over her daughter.

      • The line “Ursula’s crazy sister!” nearly made my brain implode.

        • It’s actually heavily implied in the first film that Ursula is supposed to be Triton’s sister. So, you’re telling me Triton had TWO btchy sisters he grew up with, who he had to banish, and who both just happened to have octopus tentacles? Was their father just really into Hentai so he satisfied his need by banging cephalopods and that was the result?!

          • I told my younger sister Triton and Ursula were siblings recently and her reaction was to stare at me. She didn’t believe me ! Time to break out the deleted scenes from the Little Mermaid dvd. It makes sense they’re siblings, they already feel like they have major history!

          • Since Triton was a mermaid and Ursula was an Octopus, that plot point was cut (because Disney felt audiences would be confused). However, when the show was adapted to the stage and made it’s Broadway debut, that plot point was put back into the story with added content; Ursula and Triton were the children of Poseidon. On his deathbed, he gave each of them half the sea to rule over and he gave Triton his trident and Ursula her magic shell.

    • Atlantis 2 was so obviously supposed to be part of a tv show they couldn’t get to air. So they cobbled three episodes into one movie and released it on dvd. A bold gambit considernig they couldn’t get said show out, but it really does feel like a tv show cut in half. I like the original movie and they could have had some Gargoyles-esque dealing with mythology stuff going on but it just kind of fell flat with its premise. And spoiled its own first season ending at the end of the film.

  13. One effect that annoys me sometimes is when water colored by a rainbow acts like the water is really colored. It’s fine with me if it’s supposed to be an actual ‘rainbow waterfall’ but when it’s not it just feels…clumsy.

  14. Actually the first Disney Peter Pan movie I’ve seen and I pretty much agree with the “good not awful” opinion. Though I still prefer the ACTUAL sequel to the story – “Peter Pan in Scarlet”. That book is both delightful and disturbing and scary and touching and weird, all in the right way.

  15. The Nostalgia Chick put this on her worst Disney sequels list for a reason. Jane is ostracized for trying to grow up in the middle of WWII, the octopus (or squid, whatever) is just a rip off of the crocodile, Hook is even more foppish, etc. And you know what? I agree with her. I hate this film. It has quarter-decent animation but that can’t save it.

  16. this was just a direct to video sequel they gave a theatrical budget to.

  17. I liked this movie pretty well. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the pop songs that were included, but the fact that they were included, yeah, may have been pretty distracting, so that would be the only problem I can see with them. Otherwise this movie was pretty fun and I’m glad I saw it in theaters. Frankly I kind of prefer the octopus over the crocodile, it’s just easier to look at for me, and it’s definitely made to be a much more comedic looking character. I find it much less unsettling for me to watch than any of the scenes with the crocodile, those didn’t make me laugh, they just made me sympathize with Hook more. With this movie however, I actually got a few laughs from the octopus scenes. What can I say? It’s funnier when the beast going after Hook doesn’t look as frightening to me.

  18. I think this is one of the better Disney animated sequels… though that’s not saying much. Overall, I think it’s decent. Not great, but decent. I hate the octopus, and I don’t get why they didn’t just keep the crocodile. On the other hand, I adore the scene between Peter and Wendy at the end.

  19. To date I still haven’t seen this one. And that’s strange considering how much my family loves Disney. I guess I missed some films in the early 2000’s and this was one of them? If it went into more mythos wtih the book as you say I really should check it out sometime. The hand-drawn animation looks amazing so there is that 😛 And they actually do the “dont’ believe in fairies” bit? Hey the original didn’t even do that/

  20. Three Degrees of Bacon

    This movie disappointed me. I don’t say this to tear it a new one. But I think it says something that even without this mini review, I still think about it, and with mixed feelings. I dunno. I saw it in theaters. I was hyped. And when it ended? I had mixed feelings. It wasn’t what I expected with the “Do you believe in magic?” trailers. And it was hit or miss.

    I guess the long and short of it: I left disappointed, but not feeling like I wasted my time. Like I’d want to see this redone, but better. This was the first time a movie gave me that feeling. And I have shitty taste in movies. I usually enjoy myself and don’t delve any deeper. I’m Hollywood’s dream audience – I’ll lap up almost anything.

    It disappointed me, but I want to give it a second chance.

  21. The Second Opinion

    Personally, I thought most of the Neverland characters were a piss poor imitation of the earlier film, like some kind of wannabe 90s John Hues film. I’m honestly surprised he found the stuff with Captain Hook funny, after recognizing what made the first film’s iteration work so well. (Every piece of his comedy I remember here was the usual formula of showing kids goofy underwear, silly faces, and whiny screams, so they can point and say “Ha ha! Stupid!”) I won’t pretend I didn’t accept it well enough when I was younger, after having wanted to see it, and I won’t pretend it’s the worst Disney sequel. But as a Pan fan, I admit it, I was hoping for a flame review here.

  22. I’m gonna be ashamed of this in the morning, but the only thing I can really remember from this movie was how… appealing they drew Older Wendy. She looks really hot in a mature way… and I enjoy bathrobes on girls as well.

  23. video stores don’t even exist anymore Doug.

  24. Wow, I was not expecting you to like it! I know it wasn’t technically a direct to video sequel, but it certainly seems like one. I imagine you wont’ review most of the other direct to video Disney sequels. The Nostalgia Chick covered them well already. I’m glad to know why they made them. I am also glad they simply stopped.

  25. What’s the music in the background? It’s absolutely gorgeous and I’d like to use it in a short film!

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