Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Peter Pan (2003)

I love this version of Peter Pan. I've been jonesing to watch it lately, I don't really remember why, so I threw it on last night.

The story of Peter Pan is one of my favorites. As a youngster, my family had the taped stage version with Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard on VHS and I LOVED it. I watched it over and over and over until my favorite scenes got those white wibbley lines through them. I never really liked the Disney version - they tend to suck the life out of great literature (I think the same of their Alice In Wonderland) - so when this live action Peter Pan came along, I was delighted.

The novel, based on the stage play, which was based on the character in one of J.M. Barrie's adult novels, is my favorite form of Pan. There's part of me that loves the musical aspect of the Mary Martin version and finds the stage woman-pan somewhat endearing, but there's a bigger part of me that appreciates seeing actual children playing the roles. The casting of the live action version is spot on. Jeremy Sumpter was a perfect Pan, his American accent giving him a nice foreigner feel as compared with the rest of the children. (I wish he was as good on Friday Night Lights). And Jason Issacs is always terrific as the baddy.

The visual representations of Neverland are delightful. Lush colors and a storybook feel, it works wonderfully. Ludivine Sagnier is also a very good Tinkerbell. Her silent comedic acting skills are spot on. And the film manages to walk the line of...what should I call it...puppy love? extremely well. Peter and Wendy are adorable together and, as all Peter Pans ought to, it ends on a note that feels tragic if you think about it too much.

Finally, this movie has a great score. Disney has been using it in their themepark commericals since the film came out.
I appreciate when an adaptation gets it right. They have the feel of the story here, and there's no watering down of the emotion behind it (as Disney did). Peter is a tragic figure - in the novel he has almost zero long term memory - and he's stuck. He forgets Wendy, he presumably gets new Lost Boys, and he just goes on, forever. The story doesn't celebrate never growing up - it laments it - and this version gets that.

1 comment:

  1. Gr8 movie!!!! An unforgettable experience....
    Characters are THE best