For those unfamiliar with Jake and the Neverland Pirates, it is a Disney Channel series that takes place in the world of Peter Pan. Jake and his pirate crew are kids who get into all kinds of adventures in Neverland. While Pan and Tinkerbell rarely ever make appearances, the main antagonist for Jake and his pirates (Izzy, Cubby and their parrot Skully) are Captain Hook and his trust first mate Mr. Smee. The show was an instant success, and is one of the main reasons that Disney Jr. was such a great success.
Throughout the series’ history, there have been special “feature length” episodes, and the most recent one was Battle for the Book. For Jake and the Neverland Pirates, a feature length episode means it is around 45 minutes in length. It also means that the episode is more of a larger story than just a short tale meant to educate kids. The DVD, which comes out on Jan. 6, 2015, and contains both Battle for the Book as well as a number of other episodes and cartoon shorts.
Battle for the Book is actually interesting because it starts with Wendy reading a story to her siblings and then we see that Hook and his crew have heard the story and want the book so it can never be read again. Hook heads to London and steals the book, which causes Wendy to call Peter for help. Peter is busy trying to save some mermaids, so he has Tinker Bell send Jake and his crew to help Wendy, and they get Peter’s hat so they can keep him updated.
Jake and his crew head out and pick up Wendy and her siblings and then take chase after Hook. This chase leads through London, and back to Neverland, where Peter Pan joins them to battle Hook to regain possession of the book. While still targeted towards the younger audience, Jake and the Neverland Pirates is good enough to keep parents entertained along with their kids. This is a big deal because there are many kid’s shows that are a torture for an adult to sit through.
For anyone who hasn’t watched Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Captain Hook in the series is nowhere near as deadly as in the original Peter Pan movie. He is more of a bumbling foe and actually shows heart on occasion. With that said, this is a show for kids, so that is expected. As a story, Battle for the Book is an entertaining and fun romp for kids and is good enough not to drive their parent’s insane.
While the feature presentation of Battle for the Book is only 45 minutes, don’t think that the price of the DVD isn’t worth it. There are four additional episodes added to the set: Treasure of the Pirate Mummy’s Tomb/Mystery of the Missing Treasure!, Pirate Genie Tales, Captain Gizmo/Jake’s Pirate Swap Meet, and Sleeping Mermaid/Jake’s Mega-Mecha Sword. That gives kids a fill 141 minutes of Jake and the Neverland Pirates episodes to enjoy.
There are also 10 shorts included on the DVD as special features. These are short specials that show on Disney Jr., separate from the actual Jake and the Neverland Pirates episodes. You can play all of them in order, and that lasts about 15 minutes in total length.
For kids, there was also a surprise in the DVD case in a Jake and the Neverland Pirates bandanna as well as a checkers set that is pretty much little cut out pieces of silver and gold coins. It is fun, but neither will last very long. There are also a bunch of trailers included so you can get acquainted with a large number of Disney Jr. shows, many of which are quite good if you have children.