Going into Peter Pan and Wendy, I was a little apprehensive. Both Peter Pan 1953 and Hook 1991 are some of my favourite movies from my childhood. Both Hook and Peter Pan had a great sense of imagination mixed with some really great performances from their leads. Peter Pan and Wendy had a high bar to hit, and with a few stumbles along the way, for the most part, they hit those heights. With a few delightful surprises along the way, Peter Pan and Wendy was a treat.
I was quite surprised by just how much Peter and Wendy evolved the Peter Pan and Hook story. Divulging into the story of how Captain Hook and Peter Pan came to be rivals was the true takeaway of the story to me personally. It was an exciting addition to the world, making Captain Hook a likable character overall with some redeeming qualities. In turn, it also sheds a darker light on Peter Pan, showcasing that even in fairy tales, everyone has flaws.
Right off the bat, we are introduced to Wendy, John, and Michael. With a typical sibling relationship, we quickly see that there is a lot of love between the trio but also some trepidation and angst towards the brothers from Wendy. As Wendy is told to prepare for boarding, she proclaims that she wishes she could never grow up. This leads to our introduction to the titular Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.
Immediately Alexander Molony gives us a child-like charm that never wavered during the film’s one-hundred-and-six-minute runtime. After some awkward CGI with Peter’s shadow, we are whisked away to Neverland, in which some cinematography is just outstanding. We get to see the means of getting to Neverland here, and it feels like something ripped right out of a dream. Not to mention the landscape of Neverland immediately feels like something you are familiar with, like every childhood fantasy battle had taken place there.
“Jude Law as Captain Hook was fantastic, the way he commands any scene he is present in is a wonder.”
From there, we are taken on quite the journey with both Captain Hook and his gang of pirates and the Lost Boys. All centred around a coming-of-age story for Wendy, Peter Pan, and Captain Hook. So it makes sense that the three leads in Peter Pan and Wendy stand out the most in both their screen time and acting chops.
Jude Law as Captain Hook was fantastic, the way he commands any scene he is present in is a wonder, as well as his ability to strike fear into everyone else present, and you feel the passion that Jude Law put into Hook, especially towards the climax of the film, when things take a more serious turn. During Peter Pan and Wendy, Captain Hook has some genuinely sweet moments with his bitter rival Peter Pan; never did I think I would be rooting for Captain Hook, but here it is. I have already mentioned Alexander Molony as Peter Pan and his ability to bring forth that sense of child-like charisma from Peter.
He can also change gears towards the more severe while we are learning a bit more about Peter’s past. Finally, Ever Anderson, as Wendy Darling, is the runaway star here. The way she is able to keep in step and outshine even Jude Law was something I was not expecting. I couldn’t be happier with this casting choice. You really feel the chemistry between Wendy and Peter and even the motherly love for the Lost Boys. Peter Pan and Wendy asks a lot from Ever Anderson, and she delivers the best Wendy performance we have seen as she sells this coming-of-age story.
“What surprised me about Peter Pan and Wendy were the expertly crafted fight scenes between Peter and the pirates and the big climactic battle towards the end of the film.”
While there are a few missteps, particularly with the CGI and Peter Pans shadow, or the swift turn of character Peter Pan, whom we learn is basically an egotistical maniac in one scene saying how he doesn’t need help from anyone, and by the next exclaiming how is able to overcome anything with friendship. It feels a little rushed in that sense.
Whenever we have a scene with the pirates, there is always some form of joy to be had, either from their fantastic music numbers or the downright slapstick humour they tend to find themselves in; they are just fantastic. The Lost Boys, not so much, but this is more to the fact that we don’t spend nearly enough time with the group or an individual from the Lost Boys long enough to get a good sense of identity.
What surprised me about Peter Pan and Wendy were the expertly crafted fight scenes between Peter and the pirates and the big climactic battle towards the end of the film. It was expertly crafted, giving each essential character their moment to shine and come through and show their strengths. This is backed by a beautifully imaginative whimsical score that pulls you into the moment. Whether it be a more seriously toned scene digging into Peter’s backstory or making a mockery of Hook’s pirate crew. The score swept me away and, in turn, made these emotional and, at times, hilarious moments dig in that much more.