out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
|*Also starring: ||Lynn Redgrave, Ludivine Sagnier, Olivia Williams, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Richard Briers, Harry Newell, Freddie Popplewell, Rupert Simonian, Don Battee, Harry Eden||
Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4
The colorful sets and sumptuous cinematography for the new live action version
of PETER PAN are absolutely magical. The movie, by writer/director P.J. Hogan
(MURIEL'S WEDDING), is based on the famous musical with one major, glaring
exception -- all of the wonderful songs and music are gone. What's next?
OKLAHOMA! without the musical numbers? With the stunning success of CHICAGO
last Christmas, the decision to skip the tunes this time is a strange one.
So what does Hogan's version offer in place of songs? Surprisingly, it offers
raw sensuality. Many parents may not know quite what to think of a
sexually-charged version of PETER PAN. I know I didn't. The young teenage
leads look like preteens who are rapidly coming to grips with their exploding
sexuality. Granted not much happens other than a few kisses and an
accidentally sexual drawing, but, if you can't see what is going on just below
the surface, you'll want to get your eyes checked. Male model Jeremy Sumpter,
a sandy-haired kid with a slightly androgynous look, plays Peter Pan, the boy
who refuses to grow up. He spends the whole movie running around without a lot
of clothes on. Rachel Hurd-Wood, a pretty young actress with bee-sting lips
and a big toothy smile, plays Wendy Darling, Peter's pretend wife. As they
share many moments cheek to cheek, it's completely clear what is really on
What works best in the movie, in addition to the striking appearance of
cotton-candy clouds and sparkling lights, are a couple of the supporting
performances. Jason Isaacs gives a spirited rendition of Captain Hook. On the
downside, he makes Mr. Darling into too much of a buffoon. Best of all is
French sexpot Ludivine Sagnier (SWIMMING POOL) as a scene stealing Tink. The
only problem is that Tink never gets the screen time that she deserves.
If you're looking for a sex-charged fairy tale, full of magical images, you
won't be disappointed. But, if you're looking for the charm of the original,
you won't find much of it in Hogan's version. Still, I suspect that most
preteen girls will adore this movie.
PETER PAN runs a long 1:45. The film is rated PG for "adventure action
sequences and peril" and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes
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