Review: “Peter Pan”

So this week’s Netflix selection was Peter Pan, the live-action version from 2003, not the animated Disney film. I had originally planned to do this as a double feature with Finding Neverland but we ended up watching them several weeks apart. (Finding Neverland put my wife to sleep almost immediately despite the fact that it starred Johnny Depp, but that’s because she was very tired.)

Anyway, Peter Pan is of course the story of how a small company introduced a new brand of peanut butter that eventually became part of the ConAgra Foods inventory of products … oh, wait, that’s not it. Ehhh, you know what Peter Pan is about so I won’t bother to rehash it. I will say that the film has an excellent cast, particularly Jason Isaacs as George Darling/Captain Hook (even if I did keep expecting Hook to say “My name is Inigo Montoya … you killed my father … prepare to die.”) and Rachel Hurd-Wood as Wendy, not to mention the guy who played Smee, who was just about perfect. (IMDB says his name is Richard Briers. Well done Richard.) We also get Olivia Williams sitting in a chair pining for her children in a fashion that gave me Sixth Sense Olivia-Williams-Pining flashbacks, but if you’re going to flash back, that’s a good movie to go to. Finally, Ludivine Sagnier makes a saucy little Tinkerbell, even if I have no idea how to pronounce her name, because she’s French.

Although it’s probably technically a children’s movie, there are enough humorous asides going on in Peter Pan to keep the grownups amused. (Most of these involve Smee and/or Michael’s teddy bear.) It gets quite dark toward the end, culminating in the climactic fight between Hook and Pan. Let’s just say that if you’re having a midlife crisis or anything, you may want to avoid this film; it’s not going to make you feel any better about your lost youth.

Peter Pan is basically one long CG effect with actors in it, but for once, the special effects do not get in the way of the story. In fact they’re gorgeous, and greatly enhance the overall fantastical feel. It’s like the entire film is set inside a Maxfield Parrish painting. I would recommend checking out some of the “making-of” special features, as the techniques used to create the effects (crew in head to toe blue suits — freaky!!!!) are quite interesting.

This movie put my wife to sleep in about an hour — not bad for a fantasy film starring a bunch of kids and not featuring a single appearance by Johnny Depp.

Hook & Inigo — Separated At Birth?

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