Peter Pan & Wendy - Disney+ Family Movie Review

Peter Pan & Wendy - Image from Walt Disney Studios

Sometimes you wonder how many times one story can be retold.  Apparently Walt Disney Studios is ready to tell the story of Peter Pan & Wendy again. . .this time in live action and streaming direct to Disney+.  Since the classic Walt Disney animated film, there have been several retellings of this story - including my personal favorite, Hook in 1991 starring Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, and Julia Roberts.  This latest adaptation brings Jude Law's take on Captain Hook centerstage and comedian Jim Gaffigan takes on the role of his sidekick, Mr. Smee.  Young talent rounds out the cast of Peter, Wendy, and Tinkerbell.  How does this movie stack up against other Peter Pan films?  Let's take a closer look!

Peter Pan & Wendy - Movie Review

Yara Shahidi as Tinkerbell in Disney's Peter Pan & Wendy - Image from Walt Disney Studios

This live action reimagining of the classic Peter Pan more closely resembles the story we are familiar with from the animated classic - unlike a "Hook" for example which brought a whole new story to life.  But, in my opinion, this particular movie lacks the whimsical magic that makes Peter Pan such a beloved tale through the years.  Without going into too many spoilers on the film, the whole movie is dark - in both tone and color.  Neverland certainly doesn't appear to be a colorful adventure, but rather an ominous and dreary home to Hook, Peter, Tink and the Lost Boys.  Oh, and Tiger Lilly too.  She has a bigger role to play in the film than before with her and Wendy teaming up in a show of "girl power" that seems contrary to the characters we've grown up with over the years.  

Jude Law as Captain Hook in Disney's Peter Pan & Wendy - Image from Walt Disney Studios

Then there is Peter Pan and Hook.  While I think Jude Law did what he could with the character, Hook is written as a more lost and hurt character than the terrifying villain as in the past.  The writers give us a new backstory on Hook and his previous relationship with Peter and the Lost Boys which, again, just feels out of place.  Peter's character is also hard to connect with throughout the film and ultimately leaves me questioning why anyone would want to go to Neverland?  

Now some of you may say that this is the whole point of the story.  After all, growing up is the greatest adventure of all, right?  So maybe Disney was trying to make Peter, Hook, and Neverland more unappealing to show that Neverland isn't this amazing fantasyland.  Maybe they wanted Wendy to be more "grown up" the whole time and seemingly flat in her relationship with Neverland the people who live there.  I'm not sure - but all in all, the movie didn't work for me.  My kids weren't really that excited to see it after watching the trailer and I can't say that I've encouraged them to watch it after viewing it myself.  While they have grown up with variations on the story of Peter Pan - the animated classic, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, the movie Hook, etc. - I feel pretty confident in saying that I think they'd be bored with the film.  

Disney's Peter Pan & Wendy streams exclusively on Disney+ beginning April 28, 2023

About Peter Pan & Wendy (From Disney+)

“Peter Pan & Wendy” introduces Wendy Darling, a young girl afraid to leave her childhood home behind, who meets Peter Pan, a boy who refuses to grow up. Alongside her brothers and a tiny fairy, Tinker Bell, she travels with Peter to the magical world of Never Land. There, she encounters an evil pirate captain, Captain Hook, and embarks on a thrilling and dangerous adventure that will change her life forever. The film stars Jude Law (“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”), Alexander Molony (“The Reluctant Landlord”), Ever Anderson (“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter”), Yara Shahidi (“Grown-ish”), Alyssa Wapanatâhk, Joshua Pickering (“A Discovery of Witches”), Jacobi Jupe, Molly Parker (“House of Cards”), Alan Tudyk (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”), and Jim Gaffigan (“The Jim Gaffigan Show”). “Peter Pan and Wendy” is directed by David Lowery from a screenplay by David Lowery & Toby Halbrooks (“The Green Knight”) based on the novel by J. M. Barrie and the animated film “Peter Pan.” The producer is Jim Whitaker (“Pete’s Dragon”), with Adam Borba (“A Wrinkle in Time”), Thomas M. Hammel (“Thor: Ragnarok”), and Toby Halbrooks serving as executive producers.

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