Saturday 29 April 2023

REVIEW: Peter Pan & Wendy - Starring Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson and Jude Law

Review by Jon Donnis:
In recent years, Disney seems to be only interested in remaking classic films based on 100+ year old books and giving them a "woke" overhaul. Well, a remake that no one asked for is here in Peter Pan & Wendy. Before I start, if you are actually interested in watching a Peter Pan film for the first time, go and watch the live-action Peter Pan (2003), or even better, go watch Peter Pan (1954), possibly the most famous version of the story. If you have already seen those films and, for some reason, want to watch yet another version, then read on for my opinion.

Wendy Darling (Ever Anderson) is spending her last night at home with her parents, George (Alan Tudyk) and Mary (Molly Parker), and her two younger brothers, John (Joshua Pickering) and Michael (Jacobi Jupe), before going to boarding school the next day. Wendy is unhappy with her departure and tells her mother that she does not want to grow up. Later that night, the ethnically ambiguous Peter Pan (Alexander Molony) appears in the Darlings' nursery. Having heard of Wendy's wish, he claims that he has come to take her to Neverland, where she will never have to grow up. With the help of Peter's companion and friend, African American/Native American/Iranian fairy Tinker Bell (Yara Shahidi), Wendy, John, and Michael all fly to Neverland.

Upon arriving, they are attacked by a ship of pirates, led by Captain Hook (the sadly miscast Jude Law, seriously why didn't Disney just pay Pedro Pascal to play Hook? He would have been perfect!), who wants revenge on Peter for cutting off his right hand and throwing it to a crocodile. Hook and his first mate, Mr. Smee (far-left activist and champagne socialist Jim Gaffigan), shoot at them with a cannon, causing them to fall from the sky, and Wendy becomes separated from Peter and her brothers. She later meets Tiger Lily (Alyssa Wapanatâhk) and the Lost Boys (who bizarrely now have girls in the group, keep in mind that when the Lost Boys grow up, Peter Pan either murders them or banishes them, yes really! Go read the book), and witnesses the pirates capturing John and Michael. Hook and his crew take them to Skull Rock and chain them to a rock to drown by the rising tide. Peter fights with the Captain, while Wendy, Tiger Lily, and the Lost Boys save John and Michael. Hook and the pirates are eventually chased away by Tick Tock, the crocodile. Peter is proud of his victory, but Wendy scolds him for being reckless, and the Lost Boys tell her that he has a complicated history with Captain Hook.

The rest of the story, I am sure you already know. The film does play very much as a checkbox exercise of diversity and wokedom. Personally, I don't really have a problem with the race-swapping of characters. They are fictional characters, and I don't really care. However, doing it just for the sake of it, which is what Disney does, is just sad and offensive. Offensive, not because they race-swap, but offensive because instead of writing new and interesting stories that feature an ethnically diverse cast and plot, they just take old stories and add minorities to the casting, as if that is enough to keep the woke banshees happy. They didn't even have Tinkerbell glow! All little fairies' glow, that's their gimmick, but no, not Tinkerbell. You can make up your own mind about why Disney would take this away from the character.

All that aside, is the film any good? Well, it is not terrible. It is the story of Peter Pan with a few bizarre changes, and that's it. It is a classic tale, and you can rarely go wrong if you just retell a classic. I expect, however, that much like the woke Disney remake of Pinocchio, this will also be quickly forgotten about.

The Good:
Ever Anderson gives a great performance as Wendy. And in case you didn't realize, the Wendy character has always been the main character in the film. It is her journey you are supposed to follow. Shame the character never gets the credit it deserves.

The Bad:
So many bad casting decisions. Jude Law is horrible as Hook, not a patch on the superior Jason Isaacs version. Having girls as lost boys is just dumb. Alexander Molony does not portray a likable version of Peter Pan. That is not on the actor; that is on the directors. Oh, and the visual effects are terrible for what is a big-budget Hollywood film. I have seen better effects on some of the independent low-budget films I review.

A film no one wanted or asked for. Another remake of a classic that makes things worse in an attempt to appease a small minority.

I score Peter Pan & Wendy a dull 4/10

Out now on digital at