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One man and the search for his inner child...a great message
on July 11, 2004
For a movie going on lucky 13 years old, it's still as fun to watch as it was the first time I saw it in the theaters. Peter Banning is a well off American lawyer married to the great grandaughter of Wendy Moira Angela Darling...Mora Darling. He also has two kids, Jack and Maggie. However, supporting for his family has become a full time job and as such he's forgotten all about having an imagination, playing with his kids, spending time with his family, and enjoying his life. And in the middle of all of this, there's Capt. James S. Hook, life long enemy of Peter Pan (Banning, though unbeknownst to him). In an act of vengeance, he kidnaps Banning's kids in the night, and tinkerbell comes home to bring Peter back to Never Neverland and make Peter remember the life he left behind and the fight that was never finished.
Mr. Spielberg went all out on this movie, and it shows. There's a lot of heart and soul here from the pirate ships to the lost boys hideout to London and back again. At the same time, there's a lot of heart in both the screenplay and the actors embodiment of the characters. I don't think there will ever be a Hook as good as the one that Dustin Hoffman has done in this film, Bob Hoskins is always a pleasure to watch and his comedic timing is near perfect, causing everything from a slight chuckle to uproarious laughter to pass your lips after each scene he's in, and William's Peter Banning/Pan, while extrodinarily silly and misguided at times, comes around brilliantly, and the first time you watch him fly you can't help but grin from ear to ear.
The child talent is always a risky business, but if you accept that the kids are not going to be the best actors in the world, you realize that most of them do the script justice, whether they know they are or not. Charlie Korsmo, along with Dante Basco, are clearly the most talented, carrying their scenes with Williams and Hoffman very well.
John Williams score is as wonderful as it ever was (you can hear some of the framework for the Harry Potter music in this particular score)...
And finally, there's the message..."never grow up". It's the same message from the original movie, but how it gets there is slightly different. As we watch Peter Banning remember and relive the life he left behind, we realize what he realizes; growing old doesn't mean you have to grow up...and you have to live...for that is the "great adventure".
At 2 hours and 20 minutes, the movie drags here and there a bit from time to time. And on no fault of the original production, the special effects of the film have not held up as well as they could have in the last 13 years. The movie is starting to look it's age. But I think no matter how old this movie gets, there will always be people who will be taken back by the simple premise of this movie and embrace it for the wonderful way it's taken the original Peter Pan story to a whole new level...and beyond.