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The best Peter Pan to date, unfortunately at the wrong time.
shaquanda3620 July 2004
Up front I will say it: this is the best Peter Pan adaptation yet, and in what follows I will tell you why. Despite the film's quality, it failed at the box office, and for good reason. Insight into that shall be revealed as well. Such sage wisdom ye shall not find in other reviews. Read on.

The main thing that sets this adaptation apart from previous attempts is sexual tension. Yes, sexual tension. If you've read other reviews, no doubt it has been mentioned. Many people seem to take offense at said tension. Such people seem to forget what it was like to be in the age bracket of 12 - 14. The makers of this film don't dance around the fact that Wendy has just met the boy of her dreams, and he is ready to whisk her off to fantasy land. Much is made of the fact that they meet in the bedroom and play father and mother to the lost boys. The relationship of these two pre-teens is as complex as any two adults in any other movies. And the young actors handle the relationship with grace and authenticity.

The production itself is beautiful, albeit stylized. The filmmakers do not mask that neverland is a fantasy world, and it stays that from beginning to end. Every frame in this movie is beautiful. There are some moments that are literally breathtaking.

Ultimately what makes this film excellent is that it tells a story. And this story is centered on Wendy, and the boy of her dreams: Peter Pan. Except he cannot be the man of her dreams, and that is truly tragic. Captain Hook is the opposite: a man who cannot be young. A man who is "old, alone, and done-for" according to Pan. We end up exploring Wendy's psyche throughout the film, and it is almost perfectly achieved.

But why did this film fail at the box office? Competetion. Who can possibly defeat Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, two bigger and much more commercial adaptations of fantasy books? This film deserves to be a classic and is one of the best fantasy movies to date. All should see it, young and old. It is rich, beautiful, and exciting.

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A glorious retelling of the J.M. Barrie tale
GulyJimson6 January 2004
Tradition be damned! I HATED the Mary Martin, Sandy Duncan, Cathy Rigby productions of Peter Pan! There, I've said it. I realize I'm in the minority on this point, but I have NEVER been able to accept the idea of some actress dressing up in silly green tights, singing equally silly songs, while pretending to be a prepubescent boy pretending to fly on silly piano wires. I fully admit that it's a pet peeve of mine and not meant to denigrate those who have delighted in this tradition. As a long time lover of the J.M. Barrie stories and play, all I can say is that P.J. Hogan's "Peter Pan" is the Pan movie I have waited my entire life for. It is simply a glorious retelling of the J.M. Barrie tale. After Spielberg's dreadful 1991 abortion, "Hook" I was convinced that the story had been buried forever as far as big budget film-making was concerned. I thought all there would be was the 1953 Disney animated film, which unfortunately is more Disney than Barrie or worse, that I was condemned to a lifetime of endless reruns of Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard. Boy, was I wrong. Taking its visual cue from the wondrous illustrations of Maxfield Parrish, Edmund Dulac, N.C. Wyeth and Arthur Rackham, this new film recreates the storybook Never Land on a level that has never been achieved before, nor will ever be again.

But the film is not simply a special-effects fest a la "Star Wars". The effects, dazzling as they are, are just the icing on the cake. Hogan understands it is the characters, and our need to care for them, that must carry the film. And this film has a wonderful cast. Jeremy Sumpter is a great Peter Pan. Gifted with a luminous smile and physicality, he captures all the radiant cockiness, the self-delighted impishness of undefeated, indefatigable youth. One almost feels sorry for Hook for having such an adversary. Rachel Hurd-Wood in a very impressive film debut does a marvelous job as Wendy, the young daughter of the Darlings now at the beginning of young womanhood. Hurd-Wood is both child and woman, and she and Sumpter have very warm and charming screen chemistry in their scenes together, capturing the potentially dangerous under-current of adolescent sensuality without ever hitting you over the head with it, or becoming too cloy. Olivia Williams as Mrs. Darling isn't given much to do, beyond being the mother everyone wishes they had, but she does that very well, and she serves the story beautifully. And she is absolutely gorgeous. In the double role of Mr. Darling/Captain Hook, Jason Isaacs finally comes into his own as the cinema's most perfidious villain since Basil Rathbone crossed swords with Errol Flynn. Isaacs is simply magnificent in a role he was born to play. With a sneer and a swash of his buckle he obliterates forever the image of Hook as a buffoon, the mere butt of Peter's jokes. This is a dangerous, deadly Hook, a figure of Satanic dignity, who one can believe might actually best Peter some dark, unlucky night. Lynn Redgrave plays the role of Aunt Millicent, a character created for the film and not in any of the Peter Pan literature. While the new part doesn't really add anything to the story, it doesn't really take anything away either. And Redgrave is always a joy to watch. Finally the performance of the great Richard Briers should be noted. As Smee he steals every scene he is in. It is a delightful comic turn.

The one performance I questioned was Ludivine Sagnier as Tinker Bell. While I loved the concept of Tink as a bitch-sprite, capable of murderous intent, I felt at times her performance was a little broad. This may have been the outgrowth of having to play a purely physical role without the benefit of any spoken lines. On the other hand I thought she was vastly superior to Julia Roberts who played the same role in "Hook". Nor was she a Marilyn Monroe wannabe from Disney. Sagnier to her credit never plays the part for easy sentimentality.

Hogan and company have brought the Barrie work to the screen and have rightly restored to it a child's sense of awe and wonder, of both beauty and terror co-existing side by side and for this reason alone it is the definitive film version of Peter Pan
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The definitive version
clydestuff20 July 2004
When I was very young, the first version of Peter Pan I saw was the annual televised production of the Broadway Musical starring Mary Martin. It was delightful in its own limited way because after all, when Mary as Peter took to the skies you could definitely see the wires. Not to mention that Peter's shadow looked suspiciously like female hosiery sewn together in the shape of a boy. Some years later, when it was first released on video, I finally was able to enjoy the animated Disney version of J.M. Barrie's classic story. The songs, the animation, the characters were all first rate. Later, I caught a special showing of the Broadway Peter Pan again, this time with Cathy Rigby filling the shoes of Mary Martin. She was full of spunk and energy, and certainly had the physical frame for the role but you could still see the wires. Then Stephen Spielberg tried his hand at it, bringing us Robin Williams as a grown up Peter Pan, Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook and even Julia Roberts as Tinkerbelle. Spielberg called his film Hook, and it's the first time that character was ever given star billing. I like Julia Roberts, but the beam of light used for Tinkerbelle in the Broadway production gave a better performance. Of course, being a Spielberg film you couldn't see the wires, but surprisingly Spielberg somehow forgot to make his film either interesting or magical. I'd rather have had the magic and seen the wires. The question is, just how many versions of the story does one need? Please don't despair, as it turns out, the latest may just be the greatest of them all.

In late 2003, Director P.J. Hogan brought to the screen his vision of the boy who would never grow up and having just viewed it on DVD, I can proclaim with all honesty that it shall forever be the definitive version of Peter Pan. Well, at least for me it will be. Through the spectacular use of CGI, Hogan brings us a wondrous and beautiful Neverland never before realized on film. From the opening scenes in London and the flight to Neverland, to the snow encased ship of Captain Hook and his Pirates, each scene is rendered in illustrious detail. In one of the more humorous bits in the film when Peter loses his shadow, the shadow takes on a life of its own and it sure isn't unused panty hose. When Peter Pan flies, he does so unimpeded by any laws of gravity, twirling, bouncing, and floating, in a whimsical way that not unlike Superman, will convince you that with the help of good thoughts and fairy dust, a boy can indeed fly. With each movement, Tinkerbelle emits a shining sparkling cloud of fairy dust that fills the screen like a thousand Independence Day Sparklers. When Peter, Wendy, John, and Michael first arrive in Neverland, they land on puffy pinkish clouds, which are quickly bombarded by Captain Hook and his cannons. In one of the most compelling and touching scenes in the film, Peter and Wendy are witness to a fairy dance, and then take to the skies themselves in an airborne ballet. When Pan takes flight to engage in swordplay with Hook and his pirates the scenes are nothing short of amazing. These are just a few of the many magical, charming, and energizing moments throughout Peter Pan.

As for the story, it pretty much sticks to previous incarnations we've seen in the books, films, and on Broadway. Wendy tells stories, Pan listens and loses his shadow one night, the dog Nana makes a mess of things a few times, Papa tells Wendy she has to grow up, Pan comes back to retrieve said shadow and off we go!

There is however, something inherently different about the relationship between Pan and Wendy than anything previously seen. We are made well aware of the fact that Wendy stands on the threshold of womanhood, and all indications are that the process has indeed begun. Peter, on the other hand, had run away from home with Tinkerbelle, before the rites of passage from boyhood to manhood had commenced. It is well within Wendy's ability to love, whereas the concept of true love is a foreign concept for Peter. He cannot love, and will not love, and is firm in his resolve to stay a boy forever. It sets up a much more tense conflict between Wendy and Peter and adds an emotional depth to the story never before realized.

Much of the success of Peter Pan also has to go to the young actors portraying Peter and Wendy. Jeremy Sumpter, who shined in Bill Paxton's haunting film Frailty, will make you forget any previous portrayal. For most of the film he is as he should be, the carefree rascal who sees fighting Hook and his crew as the ultimate in playground merriment. Late in the film, as he discovers the darker side of his emotions, he handles the transition as well if not better than many adult actors.

For Wendy, Hogan chose English Actress Rachael Hurd-Wood. As far as I can discover, this is her first film role of any kind, yet one would hardly believe that would be possible from watching this film. When she discovers she is on the verge of entering womanhood, she is able to portray both the fear and loathing of the prospect, but yet she depicts a wide eyed curiosity of what is to take place. Later, her anger and frustration in dealing with Peter's vow of perpetual childhood, has the same believability of someone twice her age dealing with the same conflicting feelings.

Most of the adult actors are no slouches either. Jason Isaacs does a duo role as both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook. How good is he? I didn't realize he was playing both roles until referencing the credits on IMDb. As Mr. Darling, the timid banker, he reminded me a lot of David Tomlinson's Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins. His Hook is as dastardly a hook that has ever taken the screen. Let's just say that when this Hook does away with someone, they pretty much stay dead and you won't see that kind of ruthless in the Disney animated film. Olivia Williams as Mrs. Darling is perhaps the weakest link in the film. She seems not to be able to portray the deep sadness that comes when one's children are missing, and likewise her joy at their return home is equally unimpressive. She is clearly overshadowed by Lynn Redgrave as Aunt Millicent.

And what about Tinkerbelle? I certainly can't leave her out. She is played with a lot of panache by an actress named Ludivine Sagnier. She does it with a lot of spunk, a little sass, and a ton of energy. She will quickly make you completely forget the fact that Julia Roberts made a mockery of the same role in Spielberg's Hook.

And most importantly there's the biggest surprise of all. Having seen the trailer several times before the film's release last years, I was under the assumption that as it always seems to be the case these days, most of the really good stuff was shown in those few minutes of advertising. I couldn't have been more wrong. Let's just say that if you saw the previews in the theater or on the internet, what you saw is just the tip of the iceberg of the discoveries waiting for you within this film.

One may come to the conclusion that perhaps I am going overboard in my praise. Yet, whether you are young or just young at heart, or wish you could fly away from your troubles to the wonderful place called Neverland, there is something in Peter Pan for even the most cynical film-goer. For an hour and fifty three minutes, it certainly made me feel younger than my years, and when a film does that I have no choice but to give it my grade and it's an A sprinkled with a healthy dose of fairy dust.
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A superb rendition of a favourite of adults and children
acrutherford20047 October 2004
This is by far the most accurate and striking adaptation of the J.M. Barrie favourite that has yet been made. Indeed it is difficult to see how it could have been better.

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.
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One of the most magical, beautiful, and touching films I've ever seen...
HermioneSnape30 December 2004
From the moment when I saw the first preview for this movie in the theaters, I was completely captivated. I've always loved the story of Peter Pan; I grew up watching the Disney and Mary Martin versions, and always thought the story to be one of undeniable power and beauty. When the film was released, I went to see it with my family, and was overwhelmed. I laughed, gasped, and cried, and the movie had my complete and enthralled attention from the opening notes of James Newton Howard's equally magical score through the end credits.

The actors and actresses for this film are all superb, Rachel Hurd-Wood as Wendy and Jason Isaacs doubling as Captain James Hook and George Darling being the obvious and inarguable standouts. Miss Hurd-Wood perfectly captures the spirit of Wendy--maternal, precocious, brave, loving, and loyal--and Mr. Isaacs is endearing as Mr. Darling and both fearsome and deliciously erotic as Captain Hook.

Jeremy Sumpter also did a fabulous job as the title character, Peter Pan, and I thoroughly disagree with those who proclaim his performance as "wooden"; in my opinion, he captured Pan's eternally childlike spirit perfectly, and the chemistry between him and Miss Hurd-Wood was very real and something that was sadly missing from both the Disney-fied version and the stage versions which have cast women in the role of Peter.

The Lost Boys were all brilliant, and worked together and with Mr. Sumpter comfortably to create a believable and familiar little family. The pirates were, of course, delightfully evil, and Richard Briers as Smee served often for comic relief, even as Hook thoughtlessly shot down crew members left and right. The lovely and gentle Olivia Williams was a wonderful Mrs. Mary Darling, and her exchanges with Mr. Isaacs as Mr. Darling were believably loving.

James Newton Howard did a wonderful job with the musical score for this film, completely capturing with both adult and children choirs, lilting woodwinds and strings, synthesizers, menacing and heroic brass, and magical bells, the spirit of Neverland and of Peter--mysterious, enchanting, innocent, with an undercurrent of darkness just beneath the surface that erupts full-force when Captain Hook is on the screen. I would rate the soundtrack a triumphant 10 out of 10 stars.

Everything fit together perfectly, in my mind, to bring forth to the masses a faithful and touching version of the classic story--I left the theater feeling profoundly moved and thoroughly enchanted anew with the story I had known since childhood. Every time I watch this film or listen to the soundtrack, I am haunted by its magical power for days afterward. I love this film dearly, and offer my thanks and praise to its cast and crew. A perfect 10.
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Started my Peter Pan obsession all over again....
RosalieBustingMyBowls16 June 2004
This movie is, in a word, BRILLIANT. I've always been a fan of Peter Pan, and LOVED the Disney and Mary Martin versions we all grew up on, but this film is 100000x better than any other version! This is THE definitive Peter Pan. I can't say enough about it! This has quickly become my favorite film of all time. It's hard for me to explain why, but, NO movie has touched my heart like this before, ever. It's dark, funny, SEXY, intelligent, and a bit scary; just like the original novel.

In her film debut as Wendy, I thought Rachel Hurd-Wood was nothing short of brilliant. She really does look like she belongs in another era! I can't believe they found this girl at an open casting call! Amazing. If she chooses to continue acting, Rachel surely has the power to become one of the biggest actresses in the world within the next few years.

As for Jeremy Sumpter, he was, in my opinion, equally as brilliant. I've been a fan of his since his first film!! Frailty was obviously a different kind of movie, and Jeremy was good in that, but, he just IS Peter Pan!! I'm not ashamed to admit I have a crush on this boy. His smile melts me every time, and he has the indescribable boyish charm that is essential for the role. I know a lot of people get on his case about his little lisp, and about his supposed "wooden" acting, but, I thought he was the perfect choice. Where ELSE would they find a kid who looked good, was fit enough to do all the stunts, AND have the same AMAZING chemistry he had with Rachel?! It just wouldn't have been the same movie without him =) Mark my words, this kid will be a HUGE box-office draw very very soon!

A lot of people dislike how Tinker Bell was played, but I really enjoyed Ludvines performance!! Tink is everything she's supposed to be: Jealous, petty, and totally devoted to Peter! She is, after all, a very "common girl" and I thought that aspect came across great.

There isn't one weak performance in this flick. The Lost Boys are all charming and adorable in their own individual ways. Jason Issacs Hook is UNDENIABLY sexy and intriguing. Jason is also effectively meek and mild as Mr. Darling. As Smee, Richard Briars never fails to get laughs. And Oliva Williams plays the PERFECT Mrs. Darling, and she is really one of the most beautiful woman i've ever seen.

This movie was far superior than anything i've seen in a looooong time. I just think it's pretty damn near perfect, and it's already a classic in my eyes. We can quibble all we want about the films imperfections, but, I just like to focus on the MANY things that the movie got right. The special effects are often jaw-dropping without feeling overdone. The colors in this movie are drool-worthy. It's like nothing i've ever seen!

This is VASTLY underrated by many people, bur i'm pleased that it got as least mostly positive reviews, and has a devoted fanbase that grows every day! Rent this, and the whole family will love it!! What other movie has sword fighting, flying, fairies, mermaids, indians, pirates, AND romance!?!?

Long Live Peter Pan!!!
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Peter Pan beautifully explores the bittersweet truths of life.
kjohn117 December 2003
We attended the World Premier of "Peter Pan" in London and are happy to report that the film is exquisitely lensed, brilliantly cast and resounding with Barrie's original concepts of growth, loss and the bittersweet beauties of life.

For young and old, this is definitely a must-see film. Children will be able to enjoy the story on the full-blown adventure/fantasy scale, while adults will be deeply moved by the underlying emotion of Barrie's classic tale.

While watching the film I was caught by the memory of being a child again. All the wonder and sheer joy of it. I felt that sensation, as I did so many years ago upon reaching that moment in my life just on the cusp of adolescence, when I realized there was something much more to life than play and schoolbooks. It was fascinating and frightening.

PJ Hogan has done a superb job of melding these adult emotional truths and childish delights. The script balances the themes with a touch of magic, adherring to Barrie's works quite faithfully (verbatim at times), while infusing the whole with wit and wisdom. This is not a dumb film to be viewed as mere spectacle. The dialogue will make you laugh and think and most certainly feel.

And this thanks to superb casting. One has to admire the producers and directors for casting for talent and appropriateness for role above Hollywood stardom. Rachel Hurd-Wood, in her first performance handles Wendy's emotional struggles with the acting chops of a seasoned veteran. She is a youthful beauty on the edge of bloom and one has high hopes of seeing her yet again. Jeremy Sumpter, excellent in last year's "Fraility," is definitely Peter Pan. Cocky, adventuresome and self-absorbed. He handles the demanding action extremely well, and while at times his American accent is a bit troublesome, he does manage to capture Peter's uncertainty regarding his choice to remain forever young and therefore left behind.

And then there's the leading man in character disguise, Jason Isaacs. In a word, brillaint. And beautiful to behold in the demanding and complex dual roles of the dorky Mr. Darling and the dangerous, handsome Captain Hook. So polar in appearance are these portrayals that if you didn't understand Barrie's tradition of casting the same actor for both roles, you might not recognize him. His Darling and Hook are divergent yet deeply connected roles, and Isaacs never gives in to camp or ham acting. Its a superbly intelligent and mesmerizing performance and he embues the whole with genuine charisma and virile sex appeal. With his leading man looks and leading man talent, one has to wonder why he's not a big star yet.

Visually, the film is exquisite to behold. One of the most beautiful films to simply "look at" that this viewer has yet to see. The entire screen is awash in vibrant storybook colors and elaborately detailed yet enticing sets. All production values are top shelf and belie the enormous budget.

As for the special effects, it is difficult to tell where traditional wire work and set stunts end and special effects take over. This film is a hugely complicated effort that does at times call a bit too much attention to itself to the distraction of the story itself. Less would have been more in some places, particularly in the final battle.

James Newton Howard's score is magical and enhances the story without overwhelming. I've been humming the tune since last week. Patterson's costuming is spot-on and imaginative without detracting from the iconic nature of the characters.

This tale is iconic and classic after all and for the first time audiences can truly witness and enjoy Barrie's deep and delightful tale as he intended. See the film, you will rediscover so many things lost and now found again. The kids will love it, too!
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Peter Pan - A Movie Review
brad-draper29 February 2004
By Bradley A. Draper

One must see this movie with an innocent, to glean the full joy of this precious childhood fantasy in film. I had that privilege with my seventeen year old Niece, Allison. Ah, to be seventeen again. Such a magical age. But I digress, back to the movie.

Every frame in this dream like story is an oil brushed painting. This film is so visually beautiful it will take your breath away. From dodging cannon balls in pink cotton candy clouds, to sailing ships in the sky, and a live golden sprite called Tinkerbell, such imagery will carry the young at heart to Never Land, forever and a day. And the score sweeps to match the brush of such sights the eye beholds.

The script was actually pretty simple, but is it? The director, P.J. Hogan, chose to follow J. M. Barrie's book, a sweet little English Victorian children's fairy tale with adult overtones, that tells the story of Pan, the boy who never grows up. This memory is in the thought of every responsible adult, in a whimsical wisp of a dream that is nostalgia.

So the story is set, the imagery is magic, the music is perfect, but always, that is the easy part. The writer, director, and most importantly, the cast must pull off the story to make it really sing. This is after all just a movie, and it is dictated that a movie should be generally profitable. I care not one wit for this, as I seek a diversion from reality, and "Peter Pan" the movie took me to childhood's comfort. This cast really works.

There is Peter Pan of course. The Pan, the tempter at the bedroom window. Jeremy Sumpter is Peter Pan. He is a daunting young man, very athletic, and he has that melting smile of the mischievous boy that seems to affect the female heart. Yet, he is still a cocky cut-throat little soldier, ready to take on Hook and his band of pirates.

Jeremy finally breaks the mold, successfully, of middle aged gamine women who had played Pan in the past, and it is refreshing for sure to see Peter the way he should really be. As a young and brash boy, with dirty feet and hands, blond tousled hair, in one hand a sword, and in the other an acorn - a kiss, for Wendy. Jeremy as Peter has some rather heartbreaking moments that affected my male heart, and like all men, I suddenly felt a longing to be a lost boy.

Wendy's father sans Captain Hook, is traditionally one in the same, and this movie rendition is no different. The disciplinarian, and forbidden male dominator, Jason Isaacs perfectly portrays Wendy's Father and Captain Hook, in a delicious dichotomy of stodgy Victorian Dad and the vile evil villain of a pirate. Hook is not to be ignored for he is a key character in this tale. Hook is bad, but we can admire him. And for one moment, Wendy wants to be a pirate and join Hook and his motley crew, as "Red Handed Jill" - ah - a great pirate name, as Hook would remark with gusto.

Olivia Williams is cast as Wendy's Mother. Olivia is one of the most beautiful women alive today. This is necessary, as she must impart a genetic note upon her daughter. Wendy is as beautiful too - just not quite grown up yet. Olivia as Mother of her kidnapped children, is heartbreaking, as night after night, she sleeps in their room, and insists the window be kept open for their return. And when they do, such joy, and Olivia's maternal instincts convince a stodgy husband to adopt the lost boys.

Then there is the fairy sprite "Tinkerbell". She is a key player. Tink is the temptress, the reason Peter Pan stays young. Yet she holds faith in her magical wings and cements the story's chapters together. Tinkerbell is portrayed by the current French coquette that wishes to be Bridgett Bardot, Ludvine Sagnier, who has been seen in French films, in various states of undress. Oh, how perfect, because Tink is a nymph, a sprite, a fairy, and has no concept of "clothing." She is perfect for this role of jealous female as a golden spiteful insect. And you will believe you can fly, if sprinkled with her pixie dust.

To round out the cast, Smee is notable as Hook's comic relief, and Dame Redgrave as Wendy's Aunt adds a necessary Victorian touch, the little girl who plays Tiger Lilly is precious, the mermaids are menacing, and Wendy's brothers with the lost boys throw in the delicious little boy gang. Hook's pirate crew is truly funny and revolting at the same time. Tictoc the croc is really big, and a very real looking digital monster. And who could forget Nana, the Newfoundland nurse dog, who's own brand of protective mischief plays a part in the film.

But it is Wendy, precious and wise Wendy, that really, is what this tale is all about. A young girl on the cusp of womanhood. That is the most tender and fragile of times. She is in love for the first time in her life, with Peter - recalcitrant at parents and teachers authority. A budding beauty that seeks the freedom that Peter Pan gives. A most complex creature this nubile young lady. She is the focus of the story of Peter Pan.

What female actress could fit the bill? Well the makers of the movie looked for someone perfect, interviewed some 300 girls, and in doing so, found the perfect Windy. Rachael Hurd-Wood is an unknown, just pre-teen English lass with lush and long light brown hair, big blue eyes, a body so demure in flannel nightgown, she has dimples and a slightly toothy grin framed by full promising red lips, and such wonderfully perfect cheekbones which mark a little girl as a future beautiful woman. Prior to Peter Pan, she only acted in school plays. She captured my heart and soul as she did Peter's.

And now, because of this part, Rachael is Windy always and forever. She takes on the roll as mother to the lost boys in a touching caretaker way. Yet she is tomboyish and brave enough to sword fight both Pan and Hook. And Wendy is the conscience of civilization. When Peter tempts her "come with me . . . we will never, never, have to worry about grownup things again." Wendy looks at him sadly and remarks "never is an awfully long time." But then Peter smiles and then Wendy smiles, and suddenly we are flying above the rooftops of London in our pajamas to Never Land. Wow! That's love. That's magic. That is the lure of Never Land.

If as a parent, you are reticent to take your child to this wonderful film, it would be as if you would have prevented said offspring from seeing "The Wizard of Oz." You must share this story with them, as it has all the whimsy of childhood magic that an adult can participate in, with, and as if, a child.

This is a wonderful film. One that adult and child can enjoy together. A true classic and I highly recommend it. Oh, and while you are at it, buy Barrie's book as well, and read it to yourself and to your children, as Peter's shadow watches over you.
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An unforgettable version of a timeless story ...
prairiedog541322 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers

I've never seen a movie quite like this one. It's a 100 year-old, live-action, big-budget ($100 million) fairytale that makes no attempt to pander to a mass audience in the name of financial success. On one level it's just a children's story, beautifully told. But it's more than that - much more.

It's about family, sacrifice, responsibility; the joys of childhood and the inevitability of leaving it behind; generational conflict, aging and loneliness; and the wonder, confusion, exhilaration and excitement of first love. It's a complex tale with elements of Greek mythology and Freudian psychology, but also a simple story of good versus evil.

At the ripe old age of 12 or so, Wendy Darling, who lives in Victorian London, is informed that it's time she became a young lady. She is displeased, and ends up flying off to Neverland with Peter Pan and her brothers, just like in the stories she tells them each evening (no electronic entertainment back then). In Neverland there are Indians and pirates and mermaids and the Lost Boys. There are fairies and castles and forests and the evil Captain James Hook. There is danger and adventure and yes, even romance. Of course, this is all really just Wendy's dream, isn't it?

The movie is beautiful to look at, and the orchestral score is just right. And then there's the cast ... ohh, the cast. Lynn Redgrave as Aunt Millicent is a scream (what WAS that book she was reading when Peter returned for his shadow?). Olivia Williams is a beautiful and touching Mrs. Darling. Richard Briers as Hook's right-hand man Smee (oops ... can Hook have one of those?) is very funny. Wendy's brothers, Tiger Lily, and the Lost Boys as a group are both hilarious and endearing. Ludivine Sagnier as Tink was appropriately jealous and naughty. Have I forgotten anybody? Hmmm... oh, of course!

Jason Isaacs is great as the unassertive Mr. Darling, and just out-of-this-world as the evil, dashing, depraved, pathetic and manipulative Captain James Hook. This IS a children's movie, and Isaacs walks a fine line perfectly. And he can play the harpsichord with a hand and a hook! Rachel Hurd-Wood as Wendy and Jeremy Sumpter as Peter are, well, ... amazing. It's truly a beautiful thing to watch them interact, and it's tough not to love them both before it's over. Together they embark on a little dance of internal discovery that is funny, cute, heartbreaking and ultimately life-affirming.

There are lots of terrific special effects, but the goal isn't Lord-of-the-Rings-type realism. The fairytale has jumped off the pages of a lushly illustrated book, and we are there. With a sprinkling of fairy dust together with happy thoughts, we can fly (and LIKE it!).

Finally, some parting thoughts. Except for Jeremy Sumpter as Peter, the cast is British and Australian, and they very much sound like it, so Americans may have to listen extra closely (I might just be getting old). Having a look at the book "Peter and Wendy" by J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan's creator) can refresh your memory if you don't know or have forgotten the story (like me). To really enjoy the movie, it's best to let down your defenses and become a kid again for a bit. In fact, if that idea is unappealing, you might want to pass on this film. However, if you like it the first time you see it, you may well LOVE it the second time ... and thank you director P.J. Hogan.

Rating: 9 out of 10
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Boy, why are you crying?
snapie-16 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
There's only one word for this film: AWESOME.

Okay, so unless you've been living in some bizarre netherworld with no access to any media for the last century and then some, you've heard the story of Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up. Personally, I haven't read Barrie's book, or play either. But you bet I'm looking for it now.

I've seen the pantomimes, I own the Disney version, but both have been far overshadowed by this masterpiece of a film. Whoever started the tradition of an adult female in Peter's role wants shooting, or killing painfully in some way at least. After seeing Jeremy Sumpter's performance as Peter, seeing that cheeky (and heart melting) grin, watching how accurately the emotions that his character is going through shine through in the way he looks and moves, if I happened to meet the critics that were so hard on him, I'd be giving them an earful about it. I am an actress, and to do what he did, put up with the sword fights, the flying and learning that wonderful script, is a damn hard job. Plus, he was only 14 at the time (I think). I couldn't do all that at once if you payed me a million pounds. Rachel Hurdwood does a smashing job of playing Wendy Darling (sooo much envy...), not too over the top, but she knows when to hang back and when to let herself shine. And who could forget Jason Isaacs as Hook? Haunting..and brilliant. Smee got some awesome lines ('Its all a bit tragic really, isn't it?') And the rest of the actors make a seamless cast. I like it how the weather in Neverland ties in with Peter's emotions, and that the director was not afraid to show the darker side of the story. The film will thrill children, no matter what the critics say. My little sister is 7, and she enjoyed it as much as I did. It makes you think very deeply about the characters and particularly the troubles Peter is presented with, if you're older. After all, what Peter Pan has is what every ten year old boy wants..but what they have, Peter will never get a chance to feel. Hook could not have been more wrong exposing Peter as not the golden boy he wants everyone to see him as, but the sad, lonely boy trapped in his own fairy tale that he really is. Wendy and her brothers (even the Lost Boys -slightly was cool-) might be able to return home, but for him the window is shut, and will always be, since in Neverland the only way to die is to be killed perforce. The 'I do believe in fairies' scene was funny, but a bit annoying..and the fact that Hook dies is a bit of a let down. As for the chemistry between Rachel and Jeremy (which, had it not been palpably real, would have ruined the movie), it reminded me of Romeo and Juliet. You know how it ends, but you so hope that one of them will make the ultimate sacrifice, or that something will change so they can be together. But, Pan being Pan, his love of being forever youthful is too great for him to go back on it, even for his Wendy. He would rather she (to nab from the movie) go home, and take her feelings with her than force him to grow up. In a way though, she did. She made him question staying in Neverland for the first time, and when he was looking in at the window at the end of the film, you could see on his face that he was torn in two, at least for a few minutes, before dear old Tink pulled him away.

This movie would have been a box office smash, had it not been released between Potter and Lotr. Too much competition. But this film has set a new standard for Pan movies, and a damn high one. I will be very surprised if anyone manages to top it in my lifetime, or indeed my children's. (If I have any) Commendations to all, and to the critics that found anything major wrong about this film, watch it again with an open mind. Your opinion will change. It will. The music is enchanting, the scenes picturesque to the minutest detail, and the entire cast on top form. 14th time of watching it and I'm still not tired of it yet! And remember, All Children Grow Up...Except One.
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Not your ordinary Hollywood flick
spiral_blast16 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Frankly, I was never much of a fan of the Peter Pan story. The idea of a leaf-covered flying child plucking children away from their nursery seems a little far-fetched to say the least. But this Dreamworks production will blow you away.

The movie's immense charm lies in its unpretentious and faithful manner of retelling an old but familiar reverie. Peter Pan gently takes you on a flight of fantasy, reliving those precious memories you thought were long buried beneath the sands of Time. Its depiction of the stronghold of nursery rhymes and bedtime stories is almost magical.

As the story goes, Wendy Darling is soon turning 13 and fears the transition from childhood to adulthood. Along comes Peter Pan who whisks her and her brothers to Neverland where children never grow up and the only evil to fight is a bunch of dim-witted pirates (adults, of course). There, they have their adventure, defeat the pirates and return home. Sounds like a like a simple trip to Nirvana and back, right? Perhaps; the idea of flying off into the night without a care in the world is no doubt an alluring one. It's the stuff childhood dreams are made of.

Incredible charms aside, Peter Pan does so much more than merely skim the surface of blissful waters; it plunges the depths and explores themes that will hit you like a brick --of reality-- in the face. It's a story of our fears, courage, imagination, understanding and acceptance.

Wendy was daunted by the prospect of growing into the adult world where unknown evils seemed to lurk in every corner. It was, after all, unfamiliar territory compared to the comfortable nursery where she had spent all her life thus far. So flying off to Neverland and staying there for good seemed a great idea. And why not, with pink cotton candy-like clouds, a sprawling jungle, mermaids (albeit nasty ones), pirates to trample over and a vast, endless sea without a matrimonial/ patrimonial figure in sight? But as Wendy slowly discovered, there is no absolute bliss, no Nirvana-- even if you had your greatest fears removed. A world without parents to guide and care for them is decidedly wrong, just as a world without dreams and fantasies would be starkly void of wonders.

To live like the timeless Peter Pan would be to escape the bonds of reality while tying yourself down by another set of chains-- that of our own imagination and cowardice. Oh, I'm not saying that Peter Pan is a coward. But Captain Hook couldn't have been more right in his life when he called him "a tragedy". Peter Pan, for all his legendary adventures and triumphs over sniveling pirates, could not conquer his one fear of the real world. And that inability to accept "growing up" as part of his life is what made him "incomplete", to paraphrase Wendy. His self-denial and insecurity was ever so lucid when he said, "I taught you to fly, to fight with swords... isn't that enough? What more can there be?". Apparently, his Utopia is one where we will never have to be burdened with heavy issues, like "feelings". But Wendy's reply must've sunk it in for him: "I don't know... perhaps it becomes clearer when we grow up." So it looks like if we wanted to enjoy life to the brim and experience all that Life had to offer, we'd have to take the plunge and accept growth and change. Otherwise, some things will forever be a mystery to us. And truly, for all his joys in Neverland, Peter Pan was to be forever barred from having the love and care of a family because he chose to live in an adult-less "reality". Upon retrospect, is that price any smaller than that which we have to pay for growing up? Really, in this world there is no complete answer to our problems; there is no perfect circle of happiness that can be drawn. What we do have is our imagination to help us get the most out of whatever we have, and pray that our courage and vivacity would be enough to fend off those unknown monsters of the night.

The story of Peter Pan teaches us to understand the inevitability of the passage of Time, to accept the necessity of change, and finally, to embrace all that the world has to offer. All is not lost even as our childhood days pass into the faded pages of the calendar. Our dreams do not simply die when we take on the role of an adult; they are ours to keep and savor. Stepping into adulthood does not mean abandoning that child in you. In fact, you should cherish it all the more because it is you past; that which molded what you have become today. There is a fine line between being caught up in the moment of fantasy and learning to keep that fantasy as a part of you even as you're forced to step out of it.

The Eternal Child was unable to conquer his worst enemy-- his own fears-- and was so condemned to never truly "live", sealing his fate as an evergreen legend of our fantasies.

This is truly a film made from the heart-- stunning visuals, directing, music and acting. And for those who are looking for something more than just a few hours of entertainment, this movie gives you something to think hard over. The brilliance lasts long after you exit the cinema.
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This movie was great.
jacksparrow4630 May 2005
I loved this movie. It is one of the best movies I've ever seen. The acting from both Peter and Wendy was great, not to mention Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook. Jason Isaacs is one of my favorite actors, and this movie just proved why. He was able to play a kind and lovable Mr. Darling, then turn around and play the fearsome James Hook. There were several moments in this film that just hit home. It gave me shivers when everyone was chanting "I do believe in fairies." You can't watch that scene and not be touched. It just lifts you into the air with joy and I couldn't help grinning. Another beautiful scene is the fairy dance. It is so pure and sweet. I must touch again on the brilliance of Jason Isaacs. Never before have I seen a character who is so evil, yet, in some scenes, likable. The portrayal of the character was amazing. I recommend that everyone see this movie. It will be enjoyed by adults, children, boys and girls. Girls will especially enjoy seeing young Wendy sword fighting instead of letting Peter have all the fun. This is an amazing movie that everyone should see.
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TotallyRad8914 November 2004
I thought that this film showed a more real sense than that of the

cartoon. Even though people can't really fly, it's nice to get away

from reality now and again. I didn't know if I was going to like it,

but after watching it I was more than liking it, I loved it. Jeremy

Sumpter did an amazing job as Peter. I was surprised to learn that he's

only 15. By far the best film I've seen in a while. It's a great family

film as well as a film just about anyone could like. If you haven't

seen it, put it on the to watch list. This film is a state of art

masterpiece that showed a side on adventure and heroism that not only

of Peter Pan, but of Wendy.
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Peter Pan better than the rest!
PiNkPoLkAdOtS2722 November 2004
I can't believe what an amazing job these actors did in this movie. For once, this version wasn't cheesy. I thought Jason Isaacs did a terrific job as Hook and as far as Jeremy Sumpter goes as playing the titled role as Peter Pan, I thought he did amazing. Rachel Hurd-Wood playing Wendy was great for a newcomer in the entertainment business. PJ Hogan at his best! This is a fantastic movie to sit down and watch with your family! The imagination and creativity that PJ brought into this movie was just terrific. The special effects were great. It truly felt like you were in Neverland, along with London. This movie has a little bit of everything such as comedy and a lot of romance,action,adventure,pirates,friendship,and drama. Everything you want in a fantasy movie and thats what the actors gave you. Best movie of 2003 I say!
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A terrific and fun retelling of the classic tale...
rlo15713 January 2004
This latest edition of Peter Pan is a true delight. Jeremy Sumpter is the quintessential Peter Pan. His facial features, his body language, his vocal inflections, all were spot-on in my humble opinion. Oh, and my daughters think he's cute! But it is his bravado, tempered with his boyish charm, that gives the role a new "feel" that was always lacking in past renditions of the tale of Peter Pan. He looks as though he is having a great time playing the part, and his delight at being the boy who never has to grow up leaps off the screen and envelopes the audience. Jason Isaacs is also very good as Captain Hook, menacing but slightly charming in a strange sort of way. Rachel Hurd-Wood is fine too, as Wendy. She has a sweetness about her that plays well off of Jeremy/Peter. All in all, this is a fun and beautiful version of Peter Pan, one that I will definitely add to my family's DVD collection as soon as it comes out. In the meantime, I just might have to take my daughters back to see it again at the theater. Yes, it's that good!
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A good story with above average production values
gregsrants9 May 2004
Remember Betty Bronson and Ernest Torrence as both Peter Pan and Captain Hook respectively? Doubt it. That is because to even my amazement, the last time the true story of Peter Pan was done in a live action format was in 1924 starring the two above mentioned actors that while appearing in over 80 films collectively, we probably wouldn't recognize them if they walked down the street with name tags on their shirts.

Enter December 2003, and P.J. Hogan's retelling of the classic tale that hit theatres amongst all the Oscar hopefuls and faded from memory before recouping even half of its reported $100 million dollar budget. Thank God for DVD.

To have to spend time telling the true story of Peter Pan would mean that the reader of the critique was robbed of an incredible children's story about a fantasy land where kids never grew up and a pirate by the name of Hook set out on a personal crusade to avenge the hand he lost in an earlier confrontation with his nemesis, Pan.

This updated version stars a bunch of newbies or character actors that might seem familiar if unplaced at the time of your viewing. In the role of Peter Pan is Jeremy Sumpter a young child destined for stardom that first took our notice as the young Adam in Bill Paxton's Frailty. He, alongside his fairy friend known to us as ‘Tink', he travels from Neverland to England where he hovers outside a families window to hear the stories of adventure as told by the eldest daughter, Wendy (Rachel Hurd-Wood).

It is not long before the two become acquainted, and Wendy with her two brothers agree to leave their oppressive parentally controlled world and follow Peter and Tink back to a land where children run free and never get old. But pursued to the ruthless Hook and his pirates entourage, there are lessons to be learned, enemies to be defeated and as is ultimate in any fairy tale, a happy ending to endure.

One of the first things you will notice while watching Peter Pan is the incredible production values. Shot in Australia and New Zealand, Universal Studios spared no expense in bringing the childhood story to life. How Peter Pan chases his shadow, how the fairies all fly into their tree loft and the incredibly vibrant colors are all testament to P.J. Hogan's unique vision of telling story as it was J.M. Barrie almost 80 years earlier. Most fascinating is how the art of film flying has evolved from the blue screen laughers almost 80 years earlier. Most fascinating is how the art of film flying has evolved from the blue screen laughers as seen in the Superman franchise to its perfected state in Peter Pan. When Pan and Hook eventually fight amongst the clouds and ships masts in the climax, the shadows are just perfect, the effects are not hokey and the style allows for the actors to feel free from the restraints of the conventional wires we were accustomed to seeing in cheaper adaptations.

Sure, there was a few things that bothered me a little (the repeating 5 note musical score for one), but I was amazed how transformed I became while watching a movie that I was embarrassed that I coupled with Kill Bill Vol. 1 with my rental at the video store. A story that I had seen so many times before in so many formats (plays, animation etc.) was made fresh again by the highly entertaining energy that the cast all put into their roles.

I will admit that Peter Pan is not for everyone. The cynical will call it average and those that are still drinking heavily to try and forget Steven Spielberg's 1991 failed effort Hook, might not be over the nightmares to enjoy this jaunt.

However, with or without a family by your side, this is one of the forgotten films of 2003 that deserves a rental and an open mind.
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Wonderful movie
generallyamusing8 November 2004
Thought the movie was excellent!! The imagery was wonderful and the acting was brilliant. It was a cast of virtual unknowns to play much of the characters and they performed great. It was quite a change to see the darker side of the story- much more enlivening. Maybe not something for those 5 or younger, but I'm 31 and caught myself watching it twice just the other day.

Such a change from all the other Pan movies lately. I think Hook ruined the story for me for a long time (what a horrid movie). I think that if you want to humanize peter pan than this is the movie to see. Wonderful for the adolescent to teen viewer.
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A true classic for the next generation
wildestangel_20003 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I expected beauty from this movie certainly. The previews when it first came out were absolutely dazzling to behold. What I found was so much more. This new Peter Pan is the classic. This is the version I hope to show to my children when I tell them about the story of Peter and Wendy.

I've always been a large Disney fan; however, the animated version of this movie has just never quite pulled me in. When I learned of a live action adaptation with a boy playing Peter, I was intrigued. Then, like I said, the imagery from the trailers sealed it for me. I had to see this movie. So, I did. I rented it, brought it home, popped it in the DVD player, and I was hooked.

Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan was a wonderful choice. He's young, handsome, and quite confident. I thought he was a more than believable choice for the character. At that age, he still had a child's mischievous glint in his eyes; yet, at times the adolescent chemistry between he and Rachel Hurd-Wood was almost palpable.

What a wonderful pair. The romance between the two was just the kind of first that every young girl or boy should experience. It was sweet, innocent, and full of wonder.

The soundtrack is mostly instrumental, and in my opinion, sets exactly the right tone and mood for each scene.

Not to mention Rachel Hurd-Wood as Wendy: spectacular casting in that instance. Sensational debut for such an obviously sweet, guileless young girl. She captures everything I always envisioned for a live action Wendy. Rachel has a sort of tenderness about her that makes it easy to envision her as a little mother hen. She's got a young girl's love of fairy tales, which, when coupled with her love of adventure and action, makes her all the more sweet and endearing to the audience.

I'm 22 years old, and every time I watch the scene of Peter leading Wendy and the boys to Neverland, I still experience what can only be described as childlike wonder and joy. It's easily one of my top ten favorite movies. I thought it was nice that Jason Isaacs played the dual roles of Mr. Darling and Captain Hook as has always been the tradition.

In a nutshell, I feel like a child every time I see this movie. The feeling is wonderful. It's full of discovery, awe, innocence, cockiness, etc...all those wonderful attributes children possess. Like I said, this is the version I want my children to grow up on.
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A Magical Experience
dramaqueen-2020 May 2005
Peter Pan was one of four family holiday flicks that came out at the Christmas season of 2003, along with Elf, Cat in the Hat, and Cheaper by the Dozen. Peter Pan took viewers on a magical adventure to Neverland and back with the three Darling children, portrayed beautifully by Rachel Hurd-Wood, Harry Newell, and Freddie Popplewell.

When I saw this brilliant movie for the first time, I was drawn in and flown away to Neverland where I battled pirates, believed in fairies, and truly didn't want to grow up. This movie is portrayed to its brilliance by outstanding actors and actresses from all over the world. I would truly recommend this awesome family film to everyone who has yet to believe that dreams do come true at that fairies do really exist.
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Really Special
aimless-4612 June 2006
The mixed reviews for P.J. Hogan's 2003 hit "Peter Pan" leave you wondering if adults should be permitted to give a bad rating to a children's film. The vast majority of the reviews were positive ones, as the reviewers either liked the film themselves, or were convinced that it would be very entertaining viewing for children. The negative reviews came from adult critics who found little "personal" enjoyment and never really bothered about the children factor.

I only bring this up because J. M. Barrie's play, while addressing early adolescent angst, was actually intended for adult audiences who presumably would be prompted to retrospectively analyze the angst of their own dim past. Thanks to the toning down of Barrie's basic theme in the Disney and Mary Martin versions, "Peter Pan" became almost exclusively a children's story. Then along came Hogan's version, which fused the thematic emphasis of the original with the children's entertainment emphasis of the others.

Meaning that the film hits a home run with three very distinct target audiences. One thing for sure is that this spectacular adaptation has almost universal appeal to preteen children, they will watch it countless times and you can't go wrong buying or renting it for that age group. And perceptive adolescents struggling with their own growing up process should relate to it. And finally, those adults (particularly males) who have consciously resisted the growing up process their entire lives should connect to this film like few others.

But if you don't belong to these three groups you will wonder what all the fuss is about. The answer is that this film uniquely focuses on the maturation process, which most girls embrace about sixth grade and most boys resist until 9th grade (and would resist even longer if girls were not luring them with the most obvious benefit of growing up). Some boys stubbornly hold out like Peter Pan, usually because they do not have a Wendy to pull them forward, and when they finally surrender and move forward into adulthood, they are aware that they are abandoning something precious and will look back with regret on the moment for the rest of their lives.

Now with that issue addressed this is "Peter Pan" and virtually everyone knows the story. It is a live action version superior to the stage version if only because it is unburdened by the play's odd cross-dressing tradition and the preschool Disney fusion of bad songs and lame slapstick humor. The production design should blow away all viewers, child and adult, with a dreamy Maxfield Parrish Victorian look and Barrie's treasure-map Neverland. The pacing is fast and Hogan shows a respectful grasp of how an imaginative child would visualize things while reading Barrie's story.

"Peter Pan" is really Wendy's story and there is no fault to find in Rachel Hurd-Wood's performance, which would be good enough to carry the film but fortunately is not required to do so. Wendy is second only to Wonderland's Alice as the bravest literary heroine of all time and Hogan nicely incorporates the many admirable qualities of her character into the story.

Jeremy Sumpter's Peter is far more obnoxious than appealing, but isn't that what you would expect from a boy who refuses to grow old.

Ludivine Sagnier's Tinkerbell provides comic relief to go with her homicidal tendencies; only adults want cute, children want pretend-nasty and this Tink is worthy of Barrie's original characterization. The "save Tink" audience chant is nicely incorporated into a full-cast montage.

Hook is played with a controlled zest by Jason Isaacs, not quite the self-parody of a Gary Oldham performance but his restraint is exactly what is needed.

Adults and children know that "Peter Pan" isn't so much suspension of disbelief as it is an exercise in self-knowing whimsy. You know that the mix of fairies, pirates, Indians and ticking crocodiles are devices designed to obscure the difficult facts of growing older. If you can't go with it then you surrendered something a long time ago that Peter is still stubbornly holding onto.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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Peter Pan: The Definitive Coming-of-Age Tragedy
jon681015 October 2006
(Note: Before you see this movie, go see Finding Neverland (2004). You will have a much greater appreciation both for what J.M. Barrie was trying to capture in his original play and how this version nails it.)

I guarantee you have never seen the story of Peter Pan told like this before, even though it is probably the most true to Barrie's original intent, in-so-far-as what he wanted you to realize about the suffering involved in growing up. Mary Martin and Walt Disney did not even scratch the surface of the depths to which this movie plunges.

In this film we are introduced to two central children of the same adolescent age, Peter Pan and Wendy Darling. Peter is intent on always remaining a kid, while Wendy is actually looking forward to becoming a young woman. They fall in love, but from the opposite sides of puberty, if only narrowly. Peter is barely a boy, and Wendy just barely a woman.

This rift creates a sexual tension between the two that Jeremy Sumpter and Rachel Hurd-Wood deliver beautifully, especially the latter (this is the first version of the story that ever has the two share an on-screen/stage kiss). The confusion as to what really matters, having fun as a child or being accepted as an adult, is the same struggle Barrie had as a boy trapped in a middle-aged man's body. His outlet for that overwhelming battle was the play we all now love, one that has been billed over time as a children's lullaby but is actually a straightforward coming-of-age tragedy.

Note the symbolism, which emanates from Barrie's original play. Mr. Darling has always been portrayed by the same actor as Captain Hook—adults are the bad guys. Peter is an indestructible boy—just as all adolescents think they are. His cockiness stems from that feeling of invulnerability—sound familiar? A ticking crocodile is always chasing Hook—time chases us all. The only adults in Never Land are greedy pirates—as we age, we become more focused on material possessions than on the common struggle we all face to simply be happy, and that greediness is often the very thing that keeps adults from being such.

As a viewer, the hard part to deal with is that it never works out between Peter and Wendy. She grows up and he never does. We identify with Wendy because we all age and are forced to take on responsibility, whether we want to or not, while Peter remains in Never Never Land, torturing himself and us forever. He cannot have both Wendy and the freedom to have fun. But whereas people must eventually grow up, fall in love, take on responsibility and start a family of their own, Peter has found a way to always remain a boy.

This version also presents the most evil Hook of them all, and not because he makes Pan walk the plank or kills Lost Boys. He is a representation of adult society, and as such does his best to convince the boyish Pan that he is worthless as a child and cannot provide the woman Wendy with what she needs until he grows up, something that goes against everything Peter believes. The following is Hook's exchange with Peter during their final battle. Peter is crying…

Hook: She was leaving you. Your Wendy was leaving you. Why should she stay? What have you to offer? You are incomplete. Let's take a look into the future, shall we? You fly to Wendy's nursery and... What's this? The window's closed. Peter: I'll open it. Hook: I'm afraid the window's barred. Peter: I'll call out her name. Hook: She can't hear you. Peter: No. Hook: She can't see you. Peter: Wendy. Hook: She's forgotten all about you. Peter: Stop it. Please. Stop it.

In addition to the issues raised regarding youth-hood vs. adulthood, the film seizes your attention with its dazzling mise-en-scene as well. It reminds me of Hero (2002) in many ways. Each frame seems drenched in color, as if they took the finished film and dipped it in bright ink. This means that every moment of this movie can be captured as a screen shot and would still be visually stunning, the mark of truly imaginative and brilliant cinematography.

After watching Peter Pan, you will go on living your adult life, acquiring more and more responsibility until retirement and death. Meanwhile, Peter will always remain a child, never knowing what it truly feels like to fall in love or have children. Just as we can only imagine his life, he would only be able to imagine ours. It is a mutually unpleasant experience, and will leave you with a lasting feeling of intangible sorrow, both you and Peter always speculating what the other side might be like.
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Classic history with an enjoyable Peter Pan and colorful cinematography
ma-cortes31 December 2004
The film centers about Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumpter), Tink (Ludivine Sagnier), Wendy (Raquel Evan-Wood) and brothers who escape from parents' home (Jason Isaacs and Olivia Williams) and they are going to Neverland . They will take on captain Hook ( Jason Isaacs) and pirates henchmen . The argument is similar to Walt Disney's classic , it's alike the cartoon had been made reality. The starring couple as Jeremy Sumpter and Raquel Wood are top notch and Jason Isaacs, sometimes good (the dad) and other bad (Hook) is excellent . Cinematography by Donald McAlpine and James Newton Howard musical score are breathtaking and spellbound . Industrial light magic (ILM , George Lucas production) special effects are awesome and spectacular . Sets are astounding and gorgeous . The picture mingles adventures, action, humor ,tongue in cheek , fantasy and a lot of entertainment . Since the beginning until the end the amusing is interminable . The fable will appeal to adventure and classic tales fans . Rating. 7/10 above average
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A beautifully done film
elainehowie22 June 2018
I have never seen any other Peter Pan films or the plays so I don't have much to compare to, but I really enjoyed this! The story is simple but nice, and the concept of not wanting to grow up is relatable. The acting is great and it has a satisfying ending.
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Peter Breaks Through
wes-connors9 February 2009
Nothing against the memorable versions featuring Betty Bronson, Bobby Driscoll, and Mary Martin - portraying James M. Barrie's boy wonder - but, this adaptation of "Peter Pan" comes closer to the spirit of the original work. For one thing, "Peter" is played by a real boy, which enables Jeremy Sumpter (as Peter) and Rachel Hurd-Wood (as Wendy) to more accurately portray Peter and Wendy as the pre-romantic couple. The novel's appealing mixture of "romance" and "adventure" is more in balance. The young characters, as children, mix "yin" and "yang". Both characters - Peter and Wendy - are important, and both possess the childlike masculine and feminine attributes.

Mr. Hogan's cast and crew present an outstanding production. Jason Isaacs' "Captain Hook" supports the engaging younger performers beautifully. And, Lynn Redgrave is a welcome addition to the lore. Although this is a relatively faithful-to-the-original adaptation, it only touches upon Mr. Barrie's powerful ending ("When Wendy Grew Up"). So, a more perfect Peter has yet to be filmed...

"Peter Pan" is about that magical part of being a child, before sexuality (or, puberty) takes over, and becomes the prime directive. It's a time when Pirates and Fairies may still be real - and the difficulty in letting that part of your life go may be recalled by adults viewing director P.J. Hogan's exciting interpretation. If you don't remember the magic, watch your children enjoy "Peter Pan" - then, you might remember…

It's second to the right, and then straight on 'till morning…

******** Peter Pan (2003) P.J. Hogan ~ Jeremy Sumpter, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Jason Isaacs
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A great film with great settings and cinematography. The one Peter Pan film yet that truly brought J.M. Barrie's masterpiece to life.
Staritza5 July 2004
I first watched this movie, expecting it to be much like the Disney cartoon film, only with greater settings...and a much cuter Peter(ü) but I was proven wrong after watching it. PP03 definitely topples the Disney version off the throne. Yes, the Disney film is a classic, it is one of my favorites...but now watching PP03 and bein older than I was when I first heard of peter, the boy who flew and never grew up...has put the entire world of neverland in greater perspective, one with more colors, more depth to the all its ambiguity and this film really does love its characters.

The Disney version was sweet and charming, this was too. Though, with PP03, the entire package is with greater action, the blatant and perennial darkness that is neverland (a side Disney could not have pulled off, be it that little kids are a bigger percent of their audience) is greatly conveyed here. Captain Hook isn't merely constantly and countlessly bugged off by Peter Pan...he too is menacing, with nearly (yes, nearly) every drop of his blood stained with utter evil. Ludivine Sagnier does a great job as Tinkerbell, at first I preferred a younger girl, but she really does grow on you. Her facial expressions are enough to spare her of actual words. All characters were brilliantly cast, Wendy and Captain Hook, to name a few. i wasn't completely sure if Jeremy Sumpter (half the reason why i watched this in the first place.ü) would be a good actor at first...but he IS peter pan. cocky smiles, cheeky smirks (üaawwwü) and all.

I have learned to love this film. it is one of my favorites! My one complaint is the fact that they only bothered to show one of their many adventures. It was the same in the Barrie's book version, but making this movie could've been a great way to really stretch the picture of Neverland.I know and believe P.J. Hogan could've thought of great adventures if he wanted to.

I am only 13 years old...and watching this film made me want to turn back time and stay being a mere 9 year old. Life was easier then, so free of worries, and full of playing. I watched this film countless times over my entire summer vacation, I too wanted to fly my way to Neverland and fight those ghastly pirates! And as school started, I dreaded it greatly knowing i had to go back. I knew i had to grow up, be 14,study and so on...

This is without a doubt the perfect movie for everyone's inner child.
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