Fly Away from ‘Peter Pan and Wendy’


Graphic by Claire Chan

Peter Pan (Alexander Molony) and Wendy Darling (Ever Gabo Anderson) fly off to Neverland in David Lowery’s live action adaptation “Peter Pan and Wendy.” The dark lighting of the scene eliminates the whimsical feeling that the scene is supposed to evoke.

Disney has received a fair share of both criticism and compliments for its live action remakes of its classic animated movies, such as “The Lion King,”  “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Disney released “Peter Pan and Wendy,” a live-action adaptation of the 1953 animated feature “Peter Pan,” on April 28.

Peter Pan (Alexander Molony) is a boy who lives in a magical place called Neverland, where kids never grow up. In the beginning of the film, he brings Wendy (Ever Anderson), John (Joshua Pickering) and Michael(Jacobi Jupe), a group of siblings, to Neverland with the help of his fairy friend Tinker Bell (Yara Shahidi). In Neverland, there are the pirates, who are led by Captain Hook (Jude Law) and are trying to kill Peter. The Lost Boys are orphans that Peter brought to Neverland from England, who help Peter fight Hook.  There is also an Indigenous tribe whose leader is Tiger Lily (Alyssa Wapanatâhk).  

A primary strength of the film is its commitment to casting diversity.  Molony is a mixed race actor, which contrasts the previous white actors who have taken on the role of Peter Pan. Wapanatâhk is a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation, an Indigenous Band in Alberta, Canada. 

Even though the casting showed that they paid strong attention to diversity, a lot of other elements needed improvement. 

To develop a darker tone compared to the original, director David Lowery added in some unnecessary plotlines. For example, he created a backstory for Hook, in which Hook and Peter used to be friends, but they became hostile after Hook left Neverland and grew up.

This attempt at creating a backstory invalidates Hook’s entire purpose as an adult who exemplifies Peter’s worst traits, such as his immaturity. His inability to defeat Peter Pan creates most of the humor in the original film. By attaching a serious character arc to Hook, Lowry removes the fun that the character is supposed to evoke. 

The aim to create a grim tone is also evidently portrayed through the cinematography. The dark lighting contradicts Neverland’s fairytale-like image, which is filled with life and imaginary creatures. The dark lighting does not allow for Neverland’s beautiful imagery to shine and instead makes the forest and the rest of the set look dreary and gloomy, which just made the movie boring to look at. 

On top of that, some of the scenes do not make sense. One scene shows Peter Pan struggling to fight with Captain Hook while Wendy defeats a huge group of pirates in one blow. It seems unrealistic considering the fact that Peter has lived in Neverland for years, yet Wendy just recently arrived there. Similar scenes feel unearned and forced, though it shows the director’s choices to incorporate feminist themes.

People should only give this movie a try if they do not mind a dark, serious tone or a departure from the original plotlines. It might be best to stick to the original film if one wants a fun romp with a great villain.