Not Growing Up

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.

Mr. Cranky is funny but wrong, while Kirkland is just wrong. For some reviews that put things in proper perspective, see Roger Ebert, Michael Atkinson, and Harry Knowles.

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.”

You sure?

(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.

3 Responses to “Not Growing Up”

  1. undisclosed Says:

    peter pan was irrelevant to family values and portrays running away to live with a strager as being acceptable. it shows living in a dreamy world as true reality. however, with my strong christian values in mind….this was the best movie and wonderful to see!

  2. babylon252 Says:

    Peter pan I the story of Mike jackson not wanting to grow up so he can stay the same age as his prey

  3. jesusfreak Says:

    I absolutely loved this movie. I was like many girls, wooed by Jeremy Sumpter’s dramatic roll and is still a huge fan to this day, almost five years later. This movie is dramatic, a romance, an action/adventure movie plus values and lesson thrown in. This overshadows the Disney version by a lot. As the review above says this is the first time Peter Pan was played by a boy. This, in my opinion, makes the character so much more believable. It makes the character strong. The movie starts off introducing Wendy and her family. Wendy is just a child that is slowly growing up, but still a child. She is being forced into womanhood. She doesn’t really want to grow up, but she can’t ignore the fact that she is. She is visited by Peter and just can’t resist her girlish hormones (but who can when Jeremy Sumpter is playing Peter Pan. He is so fine! hehe) She flies away to Neverland with her brothers. The island of Neverland is so beautiful and magical just by first glance. It starts out covered in ice, beautiful all the same. With Peter’s boyish, warm presence the icy wonderland thaws to a lush tropical forest. Tinkerbell is wonderfully presented in this film. She is half CGI, half green screen. She looks so real. Tinkerbell is intestinally jealous of the way that Peter is treating Wendy and causes problems. Wendy’s brothers are lost pretty much as soon as they arrive at the island. When the children first arrive in Neverland you get a glimpse at Hook’s stump before he puts on his hook. It was kind of disgusting and maybe even scary to younger, sensitive children. The rest of movie is full of wild Indians, scary and gruesome pirates, Wendy’s and Peter’s little love story, a fight between Wendy and Peter (I thought that was so sad. They did such a wonderful job.), silly Lost Boys, getting captured by pirates and then it ends with a heart-wrenching sword fight that ends with Peter wounded to the head ready to die. I cried. It was such an amazing performance. Peter gets his cute little kiss and the movie ends happily, but so sadly. The Lost Boys get a home, but Peter turns it down to keep his forever youth. It’s sad. I cried again (I was quite weepy during this movie.) Overall, the acting is superb. Jeremy Sumpter is amazing in near death sequences and lovey dovey stuff, plus stunning in battle scenes. Rachel Hurd-Wood, the actress that played Wendy, was wonderfully innocent and talented for it being her first acting experience. She handled the part beautifully. The smaller cast did a fantastic job as well. I really don’t have any complaints on this movie, except that it ended. This is a wonderful movie for families, children, adults, people of all ages. Peter Pan is a story that will go on forever and that will be loved forever. It has a special meaning for each age group that watches it. In the review above it said that the darkness in the movie helped the movie and I agree. It pushed along and reminded me of the book. The movie follows the original book by J.M. Barrie. J.M. Barrie wrote it in a time in his life when his life was just starting to pick up from a horrible beginning, his brother dying, his mother’s depression, then his own, when he meets the Davis family and that brings up. Then his wife left him and he went down again. The pain shows in his work, the ups and downs in the emotion, happy, sad, happy, sad. This is a wonderful movie and I recommend seeing it. You won’t be disappointed.

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