In Return to Never Land, the Disney animators don’t make the vulgar mistake of ”contemporizing” the visual spirit of the 1953 ”Peter Pan.” They give us Peter the elfin-eared sprite very much as we remember him, and though the film, aimed at wee tots, isn’t getting the blockbuster push of one of the studio’s summer releases, it’s been animated with as lush a palette, as vivid a feel for movement and perspective as, say, ”The Little Mermaid.”
Which only goes to show that it takes more than technique to make a good children’s picture. In ”Never Land,” Jane, daughter of the grown-up Wendy, enjoys her own set of adventures, earning her stripes as a ”Lost Girl” by enlisting in a rather rote game of wits with Captain Hook. There’s always something to look at (an octopus holding his eyeballs aloft, the petulant Jane assaulted by pixie dust), but the story is weak tea. Though the characters may connect as nostalgia for boomer parents, their kiddies will wonder what all the fuss was about.