• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

PETER PAN AND WENDY movie review

ByTaylor T Carlson

May 8, 2023

PETER PAN AND WENDY is directed by David Lowery. The film stars Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson, Jude Law, Yara Shahidi, Alyssa Wapanatahk, Joshua Pickering, Jacobi Jupe, Molly Parker, Alan Tudyk, and Jim Gaffigan. It’s a remake/reimagining of the 1953 animated Disney film, which in turn was based on the works of JM Barrie. The movie was released to the Disney+ streaming service.

Wendy Darling lives in London with her two younger brothers and parents who don’t understand why she doesn’t want to go off to boarding school. Distraught by her future, Wendy and her brothers are ecstatic when they get a visit from Peter Pan, who takes them to Neverland, introducing them to the Lost Boys and putting them right in the middle of a battle against the nefarious Captain Hook. Will Wendy want to stay in Neverland, or decide growing up isn’t so bad? And what’s the past connection between Pan and Hook?

Disney seems to be going for broke when it comes to remaking their animated classics as live-action feature films. Other studios have had a field day as well trying to make their own versions of classic fairy tales, some of which Disney has also done films of over the years. While that track record for these live-action remakes has been inconsistent, there have still been a handful of triumphs. PETER PAN AND WENDY is a movie I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about, especially considering the politically correct climate we live in nowadays. Despite my fears, PETER PAN AND WENDY is actually a surprisingly solid reimagining of this material, retaining the elements that make the earlier Disney adaptation a success while putting a slightly darker and deeper take on the material.

I’m happy to say that the casting works surprisingly well. Peter Pan is played by Alexander Molony, and I was pleasantly surprised to read that this was his first time acting in a feature film. He doesn’t step wrong, and gives this character everything he needs. It’s a who’s who of old and new stars alike, even featuring Alan Tudyk as Mr. Darling, who makes an impression despite limited screen time. The standout in the cast, of course, is Jude Law and his take on Captain Hook. While I’m not sure anything will ever top Hans Conried voicing the character in the classic 1953 animated film, Law gives this character the perfect balance of menace and deeper backstory, while at the same time ensuring the performance doesn’t feel like a caricature.

The sets and atmospheres of the movie look fantastic, whether it’s a London of days gone by, or on a pirate ship in the waters of Neverland. The film is faithful to what came before, while at the same time giving us a more fleshed out take on the fantasy world. The movie isn’t quite a straight “remake” of the 1953 animated movie, walking the line between a remake and a reimagination. Whatever’s on screen is typically a sight to behold, with so much of the movie looking like a work of art. I mean that in the best of ways. Music still plays a role in the film, although sequences of characters bursting into song and dance (a hallmark of older animated Disney films) are kept to a minimum here.

Needless to say, due to many of the elements of the older film that would likely be deemed racially insensitive in today’s political climate, some elements have been changed and updated, though thankfully this doesn’t really do any damage to the story. More ethnic characters appear. The Lost Boys now include girls. The blatant Native American stereotypes are eliminated. Princess Tiger Lily is retained as a character, but reimagined as more of a fighter and less a damsel-in-distress; that’s one change that actually works to the movie’s benefit, although I do wish we got to spend more time with the character.

While the film is good overall, it does tend to suffer in a few areas. The running time of just under two hours feels excessive; by comparison the original animated Disney movie didn’t even clock in at an hour and a half, yet still told a complete story. Likewise, while I appreciate the movie trying to be something deeper than its predecessor, not all of the elements present quite live up to their potential. Exploring the relationship between Peter and Hook is a great idea, though the movie never quite goes all out with this gimmick or explore it to the fullest.

PETER PAN AND WENDY isn’t the most original film around, but it’s a worthy take on PETER PAN that respects the animated Disney classic while updating it well enough for modern audiences. If you’ve got a Disney+ subscription, this one certainly comes recommended.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.