Thursday, 23 May 2013

Peter Pan (1953) - ★★★★

Director: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Writers: J.M Barrie (Play), many other writers (adaptation)
Stars: Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conreid, Bill Thompson

"It will live in your heart forever." I could not think of a better line to describe Peter Pan than this. When I was a little boy, I used to watch this movie at least once every couple of weeks. Alice in Wonderland may have the most imagination, but Peter Pan has more magic. This movie just gets me so excited! There was so much in this film that was funny and awe inspiring. It was also a little sad for me to watch, for I was around the same age as the young characters when I first saw this film... now that I'm 18, that means I'm a grown-up. There's something so beautiful about being a child forever... I guess this is a fantasy that adults can relate to as well.

It's the story of three young children, Wendy, John and Michael, who believe in a boy that can fly called Peter Pan. He and his magic pixie friend, Tinkerbell, live in a beautiful place called Neverland, where pirates, mermaids, Indians, and a crocodile with a vengeance live. One night Peter happens to fly into their room to look for his shadow (that Wendy caught). After a magical introduction to Peter, he and the three children fly off to Neverland, where they'll never grow up and there's always something awesome lurking around the corner.

Tinkerbell just remembered how she nearly killed Wendy
The best children's stories are the ones that involve discovering new places and adventuring the magical surroundings. I love movies that give you something different to see and behold, which is what Peter Pan does. Neverland is pretty awesome. As a child, there was no place I'd rather be. I don't know what's happened since then, but it doesn't appeal to me as much anymore. I guess that's a sign of growing up, because as amazing as that Island is, it just doesn't look like much fun anymore.

However, being with Peter Pan does kind of make it magical and fun. He's a pretty cool character who clearly never grew up both mentally and physically. It's his pal Tinkerbell that is a little bit heinous. She gets jealous of Wendy's relationship with Peter, so she devises some pretty awful schemes to get rid of her. Say what you will about Tinkerbell, she's a pretty nasty character.

I did like Wendy though, who at times would just talk and talk. She seems like a kind but adventurous soul, who has a mind of her own and nerves of a hero. Here's a little fun fact, Kathryn Beaumont voiced Wendy, and she also did the voice of Alice from Alice in Wonderland. The characters are almost exactly similar, except Alice is even more precocious and has less control over her emotions. I think my connection to Wendy made this movie all the more enjoyable.

Captain Hook and Mr. Smee are the real stars of the show. They're the ones that give us the most laughs, with their hilarious antics and stupid actions. One thing I absolutely loved about this movie was the crocodile with an alarm clock inside its belly. The crocodile had taken Hook's hand, so he had a taste for the Captain ever since. No matter where Captain Hook went, the crocodile wasn't far behind with a tic-tocking stomach. It's childish humor, but I found it really funny none the less.

Oh Mr. Smee, how I love thee!
One thing that made me cock my eyebrows was the dancing Indians scene. I don't want to sound like an overly sensitive, silly person that takes offense at little things... but it was so over the top. Not to mention it wasn't all that funny. I think this was the low point of a film with many high points. Anyway, you could tell that these were characters written by a white person, especially when they sang about why Indians say 'Ugh' and 'How'. I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it either.

Nitpicking aside, this is one of the greatest stories ever created. It's definitely in the top 10 greatest children's stories of all time, alongside Alice in Wonderland and The Hobbit. (Well, I guess The Hobbit isn't really a children's story, but I loved it more than anything as a child). I love the way it is adapted in this film, with awesome voice actors and excellent animation. It has spectacular music too, my favorite song being "You can fly." Ahh, no matter how old I am, I'll always want Peter Pan to whisk me away from normality for a day or two.

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