Peter Pan (2003)

Peter Pan (2003) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: P.J. Hogan. Cast: Jason IsaacsJeremy SumpterRachel Hurd-Wood, Olivia Williams.

This has always been one of my favourite stories: how could it not be? The concept of a boy who “never grows up” and in fact it doesn’t really want feels a bit close to home (hehe). I’ve always been a little bit of a “Peter Pan”… at least at heart. The Disney version is the ultimate translation go screen, it’s the one that everyone remembers, for better or worse (the “better” is of course the magic, the flying, the songs, the wonderfully drawn characters, Tinkerbell… The worse is of course the now infamous “racist” depiction of the Indians. But then again, 1953 (which is when the Disney animated version was made) was a long time ago and our sensibilities were a lot different then. Today Disney+ runs the film (as well as “Dumbo” and “Jungle Book”) preceded by an un-skippable advisory messages about racist stereotypes, how hurtful and wrong they are… etc. etc…

Anyway, back to this 2003 version, the makers know very well that the enduring images we all know about Peter Pan come from the Disney version, so instead of re-inventing the wheel (something which incidentally Spielberg did with Hook, a mixed bad, and also tried very unsuccessfully in the 2015 version “Pan”), they stick the existing template pretty closely, with a few extra additions straight from the original book (Among the other things, the ending, with the lost boys leaving Neverland, but also the fact that the parents are getting worried when the children are gone for many days).

It’s a fairly unimaginative take on the story, but it’s still rather charming and pleasant film. The cast is pretty solid (Hello Jason Isaacs) and the action scenes are To its credit the film attempts at least to develop the issue at the core of the original story: all children have to grow up at some point and that’s something that Peter Pan doesn’t intend to do. Whether the message will stick with the score audience of children who might be a lot more interested in the swordfights is whole different matter.

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