The Darling family children receive a visit from Peter Pan, who takes them to Never Never Land where an ongoing war with the evil Pirate Captain Hook is taking place.The Darling family children receive a visit from Peter Pan, who takes them to Never Never Land where an ongoing war with the evil Pirate Captain Hook is taking place.The Darling family children receive a visit from Peter Pan, who takes them to Never Never Land where an ongoing war with the evil Pirate Captain Hook is taking place.
Whilst I'm writing here in praise of the film, I feel I must take issue with the comments of Mr John Ulmer who criticised the film for a number of reasons. I seek to defend the story of Peter Pan and in particular this version. Firstly, it was said that this version has sexual over/undertones.
Erm... well yes... any accurate portrayal of the story would have, as these subtleties are present en masse in the book, indeed more so in the book than in the film it could be argued. It is precisely this evident descent towards Wendy's loss of innocence that both disturbs and excites adult readers of the books and this is quite intentional. Children who are not of an age to appreciate this level are untouched by it but rather take delight in the glorious idea of never having to grow up but instead being allowed to play forever. Indeed the relationship between Pan and Hook is the struggle of youth to overcome the onset of age (singular human vanity and innocent childish rebellion combined). I do not believe that this film's handling of this aspect of the book was merely present in "sick adult humour", I believe that it was beautifully hinted at in a way which would stimulate adult appreciation and childish fascination in the character of Pan.
I should like to make mention of the parallel which Mr Ulmer draws between this version of Peter Pan and Jumanji (namely the use of the same actors to play the adversary and the father of the lead character) is not just a trick put in to hark back to that film. Indeed the tradition of the same actor playing the role of Mr Darling AND Hook dates back to the story's original appearance as a stage play at the turn of the century and has been carried on on most occasions since then, though I concede that the Disney version (a far less worthy and sterilised version) failed to keep this tradition up.
As for the point at which the two boys are hung upside down in their nightshirts, I thought it was funny, as did the rest of the audience in the theatre and we certainly weren't there with a red pen counting the number of bottom shots as Mr Ulmer appears to have done. This film is full of charming humour, adult overtones for the adults, childish fantasy and wonderment for those of the appropriate age. The acting is superb in all areas and I must make particular mention of both Ludivine Sagnier as a wickedly funny Tink and of course Rachel Hurd-Wood whose screen debut showed her as a previously undiscovered talent who will surely go far. All the others were excellent also.
All in all this film rekindled my love of the book which I have now re-read a number of times and makes up for all those years Pan has spent in the Disney wilderness.
- Oct 7, 2004