I’ve mentioned how I end up going to pretty much every little-kid movie that comes out. It’s an easy way to give the Mrs. a break from tending the herd, and while some of the movies might leave something to be desired as grown-up entertainment, you get the occasional surprise.
Like last year’s Peter Pan. I ended up seeing that one with my 6-year-old son, my 12-year-old daughter, and (inadvertantly) a group of thoroughly obsessed barely-teenaged girls who sat in the row in front of us and squealed uncontrollably whenever Jeremy Sumpter (the boy who plays Peter Pan) was looking especially cute. Which was a lot. By the end of the film my daughter was disgusted with them, but I thought they added to the ambience.
Now that the movie’s out on DVD I was curious to see if I’d like it as much without the hormonally-crazed accompaniment. And it turns out that I do. This movie is amazing. It’s beautiful. And yes, it made me cry.
As with other films I’ve felt compelled to gush about here, I love it in large part because director P. J. Hogan, along with his cast and crew, was willing to risk a complete commitment to the story’s emotional potential. The downside to that is that it makes the movie easy to criticize, if that’s what you want to do. For an example, see this review from Bruce Kirkland of the Toronto Sun: A sexualized Peter Pan. Or, for someone whose panning is a good deal less repressed and more fun, see Mr. Cranky.
Yes, the movie is occasionally dark, and doesn’t skirt the issue of its characters’ emerging sexuality. Attention prudish doofuses: That’s what the story of Peter Pan is about, the sanitized Disney version notwithstanding. Deal.
My son is a pretty sensitive kid, even by 6-year-old standards. I just this moment asked him if he liked the movie.
The scary parts, the serious parts, didn’t bother you?
“No. They were good.”
(Hint of annoyance.) “They were good.”
He’s right. This whole movie is good. It’s magically, heart-achingly good. I feel really sorry for those of you who don’t have a kid or two of your own to entertain, since you might very well end up missing it. Take my advice: Go find some kid-encumbered friend or relative, and offer to babysit. Then settle in with some microwave popcorn and this movie. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I sure was.