Peter Pan & Wendy is a charming update of the beloved tale with Jude Law and Jim Gaffigan stealing the show but the rest of the cast are great too; Ever Gabo Anderson proves she is a star in waiting. The visuals could have been a little more eye-popping and there are so many iterations of this story that some may not be interested but it’s definitely worth checking out and one of the better adaptations of Peter Pan.
Plot: Wendy Darling, a young girl looking to avoid boarding school, meets Peter Pan, a boy who refuses to grow up. Wendy, her brothers, and Tinker Bell travel with Peter to the magical world of Neverland, where she encounters an evil pirate captain.
Review: I don’t think anyone was clamoring for yet another Peter Pan movie as we’ve had so many over the years so I went into Peter Pan & Wendy with rather low expectations. Although it has its flaws (which I’ll get to shortly) this feels like classic Disney and has a sense of charm we haven’t seen in recent movies.
Jude Law is one of my favourite iterations of Hook and his relationship with Peter is a nice nod to Lost Boy, the book from Christina Henry. This film has heart and Law can never phone it in; it’s funny how he is a big star and yet I feel he is underrated as an actor. He gives Hook a little more depth than we’re used to seeing and is easily the best aspect of the film. I was also pleased to see Jim Gaffigan as Mr. Smee and he brings a natural warmth to the character making him immediately appealing.
I also liked Alexander Molony as Peter who has the right facial features to be well cast as the Boy Who Never Grows Up. It’s funny, while watching I thought Ever Gabo Anderson who plays Wendy looked like a young Milla Jovovich then I looked up IMDB and that’s because she is her daughter… that would certainly explain it. She is perfect as Wendy and manages to make her strong yet appealing; there is one mildly jarring moment towards the end but otherwise I thought she was wonderful.
Now on to the flaws; as much as I enjoyed this film I thought it did have a rather dreary visual style. I always considered Neverland a character in itself but here it just looks like either Scotland or Ireland and never gives off an otherworldly or magical feel to it. I thought it looked best in Steven Spielberg’s Hook which is still my personal favourite live action Peter Pan film.
The music score is gorgeous, filled with whimsical choral moments and is one of the better film scores I’ve heard this year.
Overall, Peter Pan & Wendy is a charming update of the beloved classic which sticks mostly to the original story with a few minor changes and a scene stealing turn from Jude Law; it could have been a little more colourful with Neverland being more prominent but this is still a welcome escape from reality that also never loses its heart.