Review: Peter Pan & Wendy
Follow the adventures of a boy who does not want to grow up, and how he recruits three brothers in London, and together they embark on a magical adventure on the enchanted island of Neverland.
Jude Law, Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson, Alan Tudyk, Molly Parker, Yara Chahidi.
Peter Pan & Wendy is the newest remake of the Peter Pan story, instead in live action. As someone not too familiar with the story of Peter Pan (it’s been many years), it was exciting to head into the film with honest & fresh eyes. Along with being a fan of David Lowery’s previous work for A24, which has been marvellous.
The film kicks off in an extremely promising start, a beautiful long take to introduce us into the household of the Darling’s, accompanied by the childlike wonder coming from the colour grading and performances from the children. The soft score during quiet dialogues scenes full of sincerity and slick directing make for an extremely well paced first act in the film. The screenplay is witty and snappy, not wasting time on unnecessary moments.
However, as we progress into the second act, the film really start to lose its footing. The film has a runtime of nearly 1 hour 40 minutes, yet often felt much longer. During the first act, I expected the story to be explored in a much more complex and compelling way, diving into more of the personal conflict between Hook and Peter which is only touched on a few times. With a longer runtime & more moments of subtle quiet moments between characters, even with flashbacks would have a big impact during the final 20 minutes of the film. Especially impacting a compelling exchange between Hook and Peter. What could have been a tear jerker.
All production elements were fantastic & certainly a highlight. The production design felt lived in and warm, especially the Darling household and Lost Boys’ home. The on location shooting make for some gorgeous cinematography captured in wide angle lenses used many times throughout the film. The performances all around are wonderful, particularly Jude, Alexander & Ever.
There’s certainly some editorial decisions that hurt the pacing, never letting audiences sit in a moment for a couple minutes before moving on. One instance being at the end of the 2nd act, which could have left an emotional feeling for audiences, especially ones unfamiliar with the Peter Pan story. Unfortunately, this is taken away by cutting us back to the moment that follows very swiftly and ruining the emotional momentum.
The CGI & existence of Tinker Bell was particularly strange. The visual effects throughout the film were consistent, except for Tinker Bell whom stood out during all her moments, looking as though there’s no actor at all and is full CG. Whether this is the lighting, remains to be seen. Tinker Bell, being a big character, was rather a letdown in her exploration and presence. Primarily there for plot & magic, despite it attempting to give us some sort of emotional response to dialogue in the final 5 minutes.
Overall, Peter Pan & Wendy is one of the better Disney remakes. Its cute, warm production and performances make it quite an easy watch at times. However, it’s screenplay and editing, heavily affect the drag of the second act. Jude Law as Hook is certainly a performance I would like to see more of.