ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Return to Never*Land (2002), G
Analysis Date: February 19, 2002
CAP Score: 90
CAP Influence Density: 0.17
With Staff Commentary

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

Peter Pan in RETURN TO NEVER*LAND (G) -- ...another of Disney's animation marvels.

Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Director(s): Robin Budd, Donovan Cook
Producer(s): Christopher Chase, Chris Henderson, Michelle Pappalardo-Robinson, Dan Rounds, Lizbeth Velasco
Written by/Screenplay: J.M. Barrie (characters), Carter Crocker (additional written material), Temple Mathews (screenplay)
Animation: Charles Bonifacio, Keith Ingham, Ryan O'Loughlin, Larry Whitaker
Music: Joel McNeely
Editing: Anthony F. Rocco

Peter Pan (voice of Blayne Weaver) and the Lost Boys are back. And so is Captain James Hook (voice of Corey Burton) and Mr. Smee (voice of Jeff Bennett). This "sequel" to Peter Pan opens in the home of Wendy (voice of Kath Soucie), her husband Edward (voice of Roger Rees), her toddler son Danny (voice of Andrew McDonough) and her adolescent daughter Jane (voice of Harriet Owen). Set during World War II England, Edward is called off to fight the Germans. Wendy and the two kids are left at home. Upon leaving, daddy asks Jane to take care of mommy and Danny. After some footage of the devastation of a carton version of World War II, both material and emotional devastation, Jane decides that since her father left her "in charge" that she is no longer a little girl and denies her mother's stories of Peter Pan -- aggressively. That the government decreed that all children must be evacuated to the countryside didn't help Jane's attitude. After falling to sleep following her yelling at her mother, Jane is abducted to Never*Land by Captain Hook as a tool to get his treasure back from Peter Pan. By the way, the crocodile is replaced with an octopus. This is another of Disney's animation marvels. It is childhood fantasy of magic and adventure, strangely atypical of modern Disney-owned films such as Pulp Fiction (Miramax, the distributors of Pulp Fiction is owned by Disney). But with a CAP score of 90, Return to Never*Land earned its place among the G-rated movies earning from 87 to 100 out of 100 among the movies in the CAP comparative baseline database.

The "magic" of flying and pixie dust in Return to Never*Land is no more sinister or evil than the "magic" in Mary Poppins. Our concern is, however, for some of the realistic influences such as jumping off things to see if one can fly. Children pretended to be "Superman(tm)" surrounding the original TV series by emulating his behaviors including bouncing off things with a cape around their necks. Did you ever see the Superman of the TV series jump off a cliff? Unless the carriers edited such behaviors out of the reruns, programming of such imagery was not used, likely because the makers did not want kids jumping off cliffs with capes around their necks.

Further concern is for the influence of 1) Jane shouting at her mellow mother then 2) Jane telling the Lost Boys that she and her mother "had a fight" when Jane was the only one doing the "fighting." In another instance Hook told Jane, who was holding a sword to his chest, to "Go ahead. Run me through. You'd be doing me a favor." Also, there were several instances of gunfire to kill, sword fights, threats to children with swords and other issues of violence similar in magnitude to the "Buggs Bunny/Road Runner" cartoons [Ps. 11:5].

Please understand the CAP analysis model incorporates only those cartoon behaviors which can reasonably be duplicated by or subjected to a real child. For example, children cannot walk up a plume of smoke or jump through a sidewalk chalk painting but they can pick up a weapon and emulate violent behavior they see onscreen [1Cor. 15:33}. They can more easily incorporate the arrogance against parental authority seen in cartoon characters. And believe it or not, the complexity of manipulating the truth to avoid accountability for a wrongdoing is simple to most children [Prov. 22:15].

The listing in the Findings/Scoring section lists all the behaviors for which you may have pre-viewing concern.

Following is a commentary of our Vice President:

We just went to see "Return to Neverland" (Disney's sequel to Peter Pan). It was an enjoyable, engaging movie, and it really wasn't for kids at all. Oh, it was "clean" enough (as clean as the original, in my estimation), and the old gang's all there (well, most of them, anyway...more on that later), but it would appear that Disney has simply lost touch with its inner child. My goodness, this movie was serious! Whereas Peter Pan had a timeless setting, Neverland is set in World War II...London is under siege, families are being torn apart, bombs are exploding, whole neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble. That's a pretty serious setting for a children's movie. Even flying has become more complicated. In Peter Pan the ingredients necessary for a child to take flight were a happy thought and "just a little bit of pixie dust." Now, though, it takes "faith, trust and pixie dust." Ask a child to tell you about a happy thought. Now ask him to tell you about faith and trust. See what I mean? And is that a deliberate twisting of 1 Corinthians 13:13, or am I being paranoid? Finally, Neverland suffers from the general decline of true talent in Hollywood. My wife remarked that the animation wasn't quite as good, the songs weren't as singable, and the story wasn't as sweet as in Peter Pan and I agree. Disney didn't put the same level of time or effort into this production, and it shows. They even paid glaring homage to the "P.C." crowd: those red-skinned injuns didn't appear in Neverland at all. Oh, we saw their totem pole and the tops of their tents, but no injuns. Bummer...I liked those guys.

Don't get me wrong. There's a lot to like about "Neverland," and I hesitate to criticize a good, clean, family-oriented movie. It's worth seeing. But Disney needs to revisit the films of Walt Disney's day. They could learn a lot from the founder of their company. If he were around, I daresay that "Neverland," despite its good qualities, would never have landed in theaters. It just doesn't quite have that pixie-dust glow.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Ps. 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. ["His" in "his soul hateth" is the violent one. "Soul", according to Strong's, is appetite, heart, mind, desire, emotion, passion, i.e., "his heart/mind hates" or "he has an appetite for hating and desire to hate."]
  • Prov. 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child;...
  • 1 Cor. 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    Return to Never*Land (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • several animated episodes of violence such as sword fights, threats with swords and gunfire to kill
  • devastation of war
  • two abductions
  • a character pushed off a tall rock
  • "Go ahead and run me through (sword stab). You'd be ding me a favor."
  • a great jump to test ability to fly

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • adolescent arrogance against mother
  • "We (Jane speaking about herself and her mother) had a fight" when it was Jane doing the fighting.

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • adult character in underwear

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • none noted

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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