Peter Pan

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Peter Pan
Review (5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

P.J. Hogan directs the latest version of J.M. Barrie's fairy tale, Peter Pan, the enchanting story of a young boy (Jeremy Sumpter) who takes the three Darling children - Wendy (Rachel Hurd-Wood), John (Harry Newell) and Michael (Freddi Popplewell) on the trip of a lifetime to the magical kingdom of Neverland, where they learn to fly, meet the children who never grow up and are introduced to Peter's arch nemesis, Captain Hook (Jason Isaacs). Isaacs also plays the children's bumbling father with a cast that includes Olivia Williams as Mrs. Darling and Ludivine Sagnier as the rather annoying Tinkerbell.

Hogan's adaptation of the story of Peter Pan might be the closest version to Barrie's classic, most definitely closer than Spielberg's blasphemous Hook (a movie I personally thought was mildly entertaining but was looked down upon by the general public). Although Hogan's film is, at times, visually stunning (the London set was outstanding), there are other times where the scenery and colours seem out of place and underwhelming, particularly when the story switches to Neverland. Some of the effects in the movie are amateurish - most notably Hook's parrot and the famous crocodile. The acting is fairly even-keeled throughout the movie. Sumpter does a decent job as Peter Pan (suprisingly, he is the first child to ever play the character on the big screen), Hurd-Wood is even better as the frustrated Wendy and Isaacs is not too bad as Hook. Captain Hook's sidekick, Smee (played by Richard Briers) is as good as anyone in the movie. But none of the characters particularly stand out. They are all decent but by no means are they excellent. I know Hook is a character we are almost supposed to feel sympathetic towards, but I would have rather seen a real bastard of a Hook that I wanted to see get chewed up by a croc. The movie tried to give us this Hook but I feel it failed to do so. Instead, I almost felt like I was cheering for Hook in the end, rather than Peter Pan, and that is just not right. Even Tinkerbell seems to be a non-factor in the movie and in fact, is more of an annoyance than the cute little pixie that I remember her to be. Nanna, the kids St. Bernard dog, might have been one of the best performers in the entire movie.

Peter Pan ends up being nothing more than an average adaptation of one of the great fairy tales of all time. Not a whole lot stands out in this version and it is quite unfortunate that the movie even seems to drag in some parts. This is not good news for people looking forward to bringing their young children to the movie during the holiday season. I would think that children might become restless in parts of the movie and at other times be confused by the sexual tensions and connotations between Peter and Wendy. Although Peter Pan is fairly decent and even-keeled from beginning to end, it really does lack the magical feeling that one would hope to experience when seeing a movie of such grand proportions.

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