REVIEW: ‘Peter Pan & Wendy’ gets the job done in a perfectly fine adaptation
The next live action remake of a classic Disney animated movie is here and it’s “Peter Pan & Wendy,” a retelling that hits all the expected beats and explores just enough new ideas to be better than average.
The story of Peter Pan has been around since 1904 and has seen countless adaptations, including the original Disney cartoon in 1953. The new live action remake, also from Disney, generally follows the same story as every other adaptation, but it doesn’t take any risks or try anything too new or interesting.
There’s nothing wrong with being a better than average, entirely watchable film.
Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, visits Wendy Darling and her brothers and takes them to Neverland, where they don’t have to deal with parents or boarding school or any other grownup stuff. No sooner do they arrive than they’re set upon by the fearsome Captain Hook and his pirate crew.
If you’re a fan of the Disney classic and the Peter Pan story in general, “Peter Pan & Wendy” is a perfectly adequate adaptation that features all the hits. There’s Peter Pan, Wendy, the Lost Boys, Tiger Lily, Hook, Smee, the Crocodile, Tinkerbell and thinking happy thoughts in order to fly. It’s all there and it’s all fine.
The movie does take a few liberties, all of which help. It finds some new ideas to explore in the relationship between Peter and Hook, and it gives Wendy a bigger, more exciting role. The story of Peter Pan was never actually about Peter, after all. Both of these changes make for a stronger film.
Acting wise, Ever Anderson is exceptional as the heroic Wendy, while Jude Law does a fine job as a more contemplative Hook. The young boy playing Peter Pan does not have as much energy or presence as the role requires, but he gets the job done. And comedian Jim Gaffigan is a real standout as Smee. He’s clearly having fun with the supporting role.
The story of Peter Pan is a tale as old as time at this point. There are great adaptations, there are good adaptations and there are boring, forgettable adaptations. This new version lands somewhere in the middle, and is worth a watch if you’re a fan.
“Peter Pan & Wendy” is now streaming on Disney+ and is not playing in theaters.
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