Monday, December 21, 2009

Hidden Gems: Peter Pan

Almost everyone knows the classic tale of Peter Pan. Whether their knowledge comes from the Disney classic or the vague Steven Spielberg sequel, audiences have always enthralled to the adventures of the boy who never grew up. In this latest version of the classic story, directed by P.J. Hogan, we see a different side to both Peter and Wendy than ever before, a blossoming romance.

This latest version of Peter Pan is a mega-budget Hollywood production that practically bombed upon its release, but contrary to common belief, the film is actually an extremely faithful and emotionally satisfying adaptation of J.M. Barrie's classic story.

Unlike the Disney version, the filmmakers didn't sugarcoat Neverland. Neverland can be both beautiful, and foreboding both at the same time. As well, the filmmakers wisely left in many of the references to death and love that the Disney version almost all but cut out. This only strengthens this film and allows it to stand amongst the rest as not just a faithful adaptation, but a rich and involving adventure yarn. But don't be fooled, this is a fantastic film for children as well, but I believe many adults will adore this film alongside their children.

In the film, Peter Pan is played by spry Jeremy Sumpter, where as Wendy is portrayed by Rachel Hurd Wood. The film depicts young love in a beautiful way, the first brushes of adolescence are poking out. The film focuses the tension between the two, and at the end when they finally kiss, it is magical.

On the flip side there is Captain Hook, seen here in this film played by Jason Isaacs, who also doubles as Mr. Darling. They actually give Hook a little bit more to play with in this film than in previous versions of the story. While Isaacs' Hook is not as hilarious as Dustin Hoffman's, Isaacs plays the role with way more menace and grit.

I really believe that director P.J. Hogan should be applauded for figuring out an extremely wonderful way to portray the death and resurrection of Tinkerbell in this film. This is probably the most moving scene in the entire film, but there are so many other fantastic moments that bring the magic of this story directly into your heart and allows you to fly and soar above Neverland. This film makes you wish you never had to grow up, and for that reason alone it is worth seeing.

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