on December 6, 2004
I love this book, but I have to admit that I watched the newest 'Peter Pan' movie, starring Jeremy Sumpter, before I actually read the classic. Although the movie including many exact or related lines right from the novel and most of the same major scenes, I found that, in the movie, there was that 'puppy-love glow' between Peter and Wendy that just made the storyline so much more interesting and sweet. The novel does show some sense of that, but not as much as the movie. The whole idea that Peter tries to hide his feelings for Wendy yet act completely irrisistable at the same time...or at the end when Peter and Hook are fighting and Hook makes him realize that he is incomplete and so on. How the movie focuses on 'feelings' in the individual stages of childhood, youth, and adulthood are most interesting and are well demonstrating in the movie. Now, I love this book very much, but I suppose I was a little disappointed when it did not include such things.
on August 17, 2006
This movie satisfied every craving I ever had in regards to the Peter Pan story. When I was little, it was my favourite story, but I was always disappointed that nothing happened between Peter and Wendy in the Disney version (although I know the original was extremely platonic). This one is the way Peter Pan should have been presented. The kiss was so sweet and innocent. It was nice to have a love story told without any scrap of smut. This movie really allowed me to relive my childhood again and believe in fairies.
on June 20, 2007
I love Peter Pan. I swear, I've been in love with him since I was 3 years old. Well, not him exactly. First I wanted to be him, then I wanted to be his friend, and then I fell in love with him. This movie is awesome, Rachel Hurde-Wood is a great talent, and this is THE definitive version...no dinky little Disney cartoons...or weird cross dressing ladies...you're actually afraid of Captain Hook in this one.
on July 5, 2004
The latest film version of "Peter Pan" is a very fine rendition of the J. M. Barrie classic - which celebrates its centenary this year - all about the boy who refuses to grow up and the young girl who almost makes him change his mind. Everyone is clearly familiar with the tale of Wendy and her two brothers who are magically whisked away to a place called Neverland, inhabited by pirates, fairies and a group of scruffy lads known as "The Lost Boys," of whom Peter Pan is the valiant leader. In this particular adaptation, it is the marvelous attention to detail - in setting, design, costumes and special effects - that makes the movie soar.
The scenes set in Edwardian London have a lovely "Mary Poppins" look and feel to them, while those set in Neverland have the otherworldly quality needed to bring such fantasies to life. Indeed, from first moment to last, the film is a visual feast, a masterpiece of image, design, and sheer technical wizardry.
Equally important, writer/director P. J. Hogan never allows the technical aspects of the film to overwhelm the characters, conflicts and themes that have made this story such a universal favorite for nigh unto five generations of enraptured children. The relationship between Peter and Wendy achieves a surprising emotional depth thanks to the two fine young actors, Jeremy Sumpter and Rachel Hurd-Wood, whose job it is to bring these beloved characters to life. There's a particularly enchanting scene in which Peter and Wendy dance in the air, spinning high above the trees against an impossibly huge painted moon (shades of "E.T.," the ultimate "Peter Pan" tribute). Yet, the film is also not afraid to explore some of the darker themes inherent in the material. I am speaking here not merely of the swordfights, deaths and malevolent villains (Jason Isaacs makes a splendid Captain Hook) but also of the strangely tragic nature of Peter Pan himself, a boy unable to feel as others do and unable to take his place in the natural scheme of things - being a member of a family, maturing into manhood, falling in love. Eternal youth may be something we all dream about and yearn for from time to time, but it comes with a price we might not, in those moments of cold sober reality, be willing to pay. As a result of confronting this paradox, the film possesses a bittersweet flavor that helps to dilute some of the treacle and sugary sentiment that could otherwise have taken over the story. Also helpful is the dry British wit that runs all throughout the screenplay.
It's become something of a cliché to describe a film as "fine fun for the entire family," but, trite as it may be, that phrase does indeed apply to "Peter Pan." This film is a genuine treat - whether you're eternally young or not.
on June 28, 2004
First of all, I have always been a Peter Pan fan so obviously this movie is going to speak to me more than it will to most people. What distinguishes this movie from previous versions is that it stresses the ~*loneliness*~ of being Peter Pan. The common misperception of Peter Pan is that he's nothing more than a lucky boy who always has fun and is the subject of jealousy for adults and kids alike. This movie, however, presents him as somewhat of a "tragic boy" who cannot live like the rest of us, can never fully comprehend and experience love, and is given countless opportunities to live but rejects it, and therefore, is always looking in through the window that "bars" him out. I'm not saying that the movie makes you feel only sympathy for him, for after all, if he escapes life then he also escapes the unwanted responsibilities which come with adulthood, the frailty of old age, and ultimately death. In the end, you feel both envy yet sadness for Peter, which are the feelings J.M. Barrie intended his book to evoke. You don't need kids to share this movie with-- everyone can identify with Peter, for surely we have all felt lonely or longed for our childhood at some point in our lives.
on June 18, 2004
Neverland has never looked so lush and treacherous, nor has the subtext of incipient sexual longing ever been so prominent as in P. J. Hogan's Freudian take on the J. M. Barrie childhood classic. Hogan skillfully revives Barrie's original concept of the story as a coming-of-age tale about a girl facing the terror and allure of womanhood -and the fantasy boy who temporarily seduces her back to the world of make-believe.
Hogan dares to cast authentic boy Jeremy Sumpter as Peter. Androgynous and feral, with his tousled hair and unsettling coquette's smile, this Peter combines irritating boyish bravado with hormonal confusion; he doesn't know what he really wants when he brings Wendy to Neverland as a surrogate mother. Rachel Hurd-Wood is a ripe and trembling Wendy, who fears the grown-up world, yet expects something more than childhood games from Peter. When Peter can't or won't comply, Wendy dallies with an even more ambivalent and unstable romantic object-Captain Hook (Jason Isaacs). Wendy is "not afraid, but entranced" by "the dark figure that had haunted her dreams."
Isaacs' superb Hook is no comic buffoon. Psychopathic enough to gut his own crewmen with his hook, he's also a raging wit, vain of his own erudition, amusing himself with jokes no one else can grasp. ("Split my infinitives," he exclaims, mid-battle.) Isaacs revitalizes Hook with dark comedy and menacing brio. Yet there's a poignant underpinning: the poison he concocts from his own tear is a toxic brew of "malice, jealousy, and disappointment." Isaacs' textured performance invites us to ponder the tragedy of a grown-up Hook trapped forever in Peter's eternal childhood. (...)
on June 4, 2004
I have a child. I have seen EVERY version of Peter Pan made -- many many times. Imagine my *delight* at seeing yet another version (sarcasm here) when the film came out in theaters. I have to admit, however, that I was immediately and continuously impressed by this superb adaptation of J.M. Barrie's classic children's tale, and bought the dvd as soon as it came out.
The cast is absolutely perfect. Jeremy Sumpter in the title role is wonderful, bringing a mischievous energy and boyishness to the part that has been amazingly and consistently missing (having been played by Mary Martin and Robin Williams). I'll also single out Rachel Hurd-Wood as Wendy and Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook/Mr. Darling for their great performances, but the entire cast is terrific.
The script is spectacular, exploring the subtext of the Pan story in a simple but profound way that puts film critics' shameless psycho-jargon to shame. It is the kernel of truth wrapped round a rousing adventure story -- replete with cruel pirates, brave Indians, sinister mermaids and loyal parents. Captain Hook's cruelty is evident, but takes place mostly off-screen and is never gory. This is a thinking (little) person's Peter Pan, certainly, drawing as it does on previously unexplored themes of the complexity of growing up, the consequences of our choices, and the acceptance of our children as they grow up, but it's also a gorgeous realization of Barrie's (and Wendy's) fantastical imagination.
DVD extras are quite entertaining and include: an alternate ending, deleted scenes, Jason Isaacs' video diary, "The Legacy of Pan" with Sarah Ferguson, and a number of micro-minifeaturettes on flying, sets, etc. Too bad it lacks a commentary track but otherwise lots of fun.
For Pan fans, highest possible recommendation;
for all others, see above.
on June 3, 2004
Sure this movie has it's flaws, but don't they all? But this "Peter Pan" seems to have quite a few less than most movies coming out recently. Some folks complain that it isn't really a "kid's movie" with all the violence and swordfighting and shooting. And to them I say, "Did you actually ever read the book?!" It is not a "children's book" though it is billed as one simply because it's got fairies and a boy who won't grow up. This movie, in fact, throws in lots more things for the kids to be interested in than the book ever did.
Anyway, despite some large changes, it holds to the feel of the book. It also manages to pepper itself liberally with direct quotes: "Eyes as blue as forget-me-nots," "nightlights are the eyes a mother leaves behind," "a hidden kiss in the right-hand corner of her mouth that Wendy could never get." All were culled straight from the book. Even the ingredients of Hook's poison were correct (and what child would understand a poison brewed from malice?).
The acting is superb by everyone, though I was particularly entranced by Olivia Wood (Mrs. Darling) and was floored by the ever-so-sexy Jason Issacs (Captain Hook/Mr. Darling). Rachel Hurd-Wood (Wendy) is a promising young actress and Jeremy Sumpter (Peter Pan) is bright and brash. The special effects are gorgeous and lush, the colors highly saturated. And (my most important point) it sticks to the book. It is by far the closest to the feel and the plot of the original story.
This is no Disney movie and no aging Mary Martin on strings either. This is a vibrant new Pan, bursting off the stage and I suggest you take advantage of it now.
on June 3, 2004
Peter Pan is visually stunning and lives up to it's original source.The characters are loveable.The dialogue and problems in the story are well written and acted.The story lives up to the other Peter Pan stories and cartoons and makes itself equally original and successful raking in almost $50,000,000 at the box office and VHS rentals.The special effects are vivid and exciting.Jeremy Sumpter does a good job as Peter along with the other actors playing Wendy and her brothers.Many fans of Peter Pan will love this movie.This is definetly a movie you will want to see this year.A haunting tale of adventure and dreams, Peter Pan has thrilled audiences around the world since it premiered on a London stage 100 years ago. But J. M. Barrie's classic story of the boy who wouldn't grow up - and the girl whose family insists that she must - has never been fully realized onscreen. In stifling Edwardian London, Wendy Darling mesmerizes her brothers nightly with bedtime tales of swordplay, swashbuckling and the fearsome Hook. But the children become the heroes of an even greater story when Peter Pan flies into their nursery one night and leads them over moonlit rooftops through a galaxy of stars to the lush jungles of Neverland. Wendy and her brothers join Peter and the Lost Boys in an exhilarating life free of grown-up rules, while also facing the inevitable showdown with Hook and his bloodthirsty pirates. Check it out.
"What distinguishes this Peter Pan from other versions is its unsentimental insight into the terrors and delights of both childhood and growing up."
on June 1, 2004
"Peter Pan" is such a great movie on so many levels that I don't even know where to begin! This film is no doubt director P.J. Hogan's crowning masterpiece.
After years of being portrayed variously by grown women, cartoon characters, and an aging Robin Williams, Peter Pan finally reclaims his youthful boyishness in this first, and perhaps most faithful rendition of the classic story. The casting is superb from top to bottom. Unlike other versions, Hogan doesn't shy away at using young, talented actors and thus refuses to compromise realism. Jeremy Sumpter is fitting and delightful as the title role. However, it is the beautiful Rachel Hurd-Wood (whose name doesn't even appear on the DVD jacket! What a travesty!) who completely steals the show, and stole my heart! :-) Possibly the most gorgeous thing ever to walk the earth with her impossibly adorable eyes, the precocious Hurd-Wood combines her physical beauty with incredible depth in her acting. Her chemistry with fellow young actor Jeremy crackles with unusual intensity for ones so young.
This version of the Peter Pan story includes a sweet, adorable romance between Wendy and Peter that is the real centrepiece of the film. Hogan doesn't sell us short, nor does he shy away at portraying young love in a positive light, in all its sweet, innocent glory. There's nothing to be ashamed of here; Hogan chooses to acknowledge that 13 year-olds fall in love too. The "fairy mid-air dance" between Wendy and Peter is one of the sweetest and most romantic scenes in recent cinematic history. And the final "thimble"! Wow! I won't ruin it for you guys. :) Let's just say, the true power of love is unleashed to save the day. And none of it would have worked if not for the genuine chemistry between the two young leads, whom I am told are good friends in real life. (Jeremy has expressed romantic interest in Rachel, but unfortunately it is not reciprocated)
Jason Isaacs must also be given special mention for is phenomenal performance as the one and only Captain James Hook, AND Wendy's father! I couldn't tell until someone told me; wow! Now THAT's acting! Isaac gives probably the finest portrayal of Hook ever, AT LEAST on par with (if not surpassing) Dustin Hoffman's also fine performance. Isaacs gives Hook a level of emotional depth that I did not expect. Indeed we find it difficult not to empathise with the lonely, emotionally scarred captain, and can't help but wonder what skeletons hide in the closet of his past.
However, I must note that the greatest thing about this film is also its biggest problem; whether purposely or unwittingly, Hogan has ended up making a version of Peter Pan whose target audience are adults. The film is much too nuanced, layered, and complex to be fully enjoyed by children. And it's much too serious. For the first time, the irony of Peter Pan's existence is explored. Pan's greatest gift is simultaneously his eternal curse; he cannot grow up, and thus he cannot receive his would-be girlfriend's love, nor can he live a full life. As Wendy said "You say you don't feel, but I think that is your biggest pretend". This complexity to Peter's character is fully exploited by the writers (and Hook) in the final battle between Hook and Peter. Even though Peter technically wins (through the triumph of love ;-), in a brilliant twist), we see that in the end, both Peter and Hook are essentially tragic characters, trapped in a similar curse. And, if this really had been a dark parody of the classic fairy tale for adults, I would suggest that the film should have ended with Peter lying on the deck of the Jolly Roger, exhausted and defeated not by Hook's sword, but by the unbearable truth of his words; this is how Peter Pan finally dies.
Another level of complexity lies in the fact that Jason Isaacs plays both Wendy's father and Hook. One can interpet this entire adventure as Wendy's own imagination.
The special effects of the film must also be given a mention; they are gorgeous and superbly done. Hogan has a distinctive style that beautifully gives live-action film a fantasy, almost cartoonish feel without sacrificing the realism and intellectual undertones of the movie. The mermaids were my favourite. Our familiar flippered friends are given a sinister, otherworldly look. Tinkerbell is also very well done, played by the delightfully expressive French actress Ludivine Sagnier.
Alas, this is still technically a children's movie, and everyone ends smiling (except Hook, of course). Children will indeed enjoy this movie, but in the words of Dr. Frink from "the Simpsons", "You won't enjoy it on NEARLY as many levels as I will!" "Peter Pan" is a multilayered and complex treat of social psychology and anthropology. It is a very mature and philosophically rich movie. It can be enjoyed as a fantasy, a coming-of-age story, a very sweet romance, and/or an unapologetic and fearless analysis of Peter Pan's hidden, background themes. This movie will not disappoint the discerning viewer.