Happy new year folks! What better way to start of the new year than by watching the 1953 Disney version of Peter Pan! I first watched this one back in 2012 because I hardly knew the story and my theatre was doing this as a play. The movie has actually grown on me on re-watch so yay for that. On with the movie then.
We open to a voiceover and a shot of a house where the Darling family lives. Mrs. and Mr. Darling are getting ready for some party. The VO explains us that the mother does believe in Peter Pan whereas the father is a practical man with no sense for such things as boys who live far far away and never grow up or something. We cut to the nursery where John and Michael are in a made up fight, pretending to be fighting alongside PP. We’re also introduced to Wendy, the oldest child of the Darling family. She often tells the boys stories about PP and is a great believer. Whew, we haven’t even seen the guy but boy does he come with a fan-club. Then there is also the lovely dog/nanny called Nana who is doing her best at trying to clean up the nursery. I have a huge soft spot for Nana. Also little Michael is freaking adorable. I’m sorry my hormones told me to say that.
On his mission to find his missing cufflinks, he stumbles over Nana (poor Nana!) and is appalled by all the PP nonsense his kids are up to. He decides, Wendy is too old to still be living in the nursery and she needs to grow up. Not cool, Mr. Darling. You don’t tell a girl when she has to grow up. (You also never tell a girl she has to drop a size, just some friendly tip because I feel generous on January 1st.) Mr. Darling is a very choleric man in general and I don’t have a lot of nice things to say about him so I won’t say anything as Thumper taught me. While he is on a roll, he also decides Nana has to stay in the yard. So many terrible choices.
Mrs. Darling however is sweeter and not as harsh in her disposition. She does get a bit concerned when Wendy tells her she found PP’s shadow and hid it. Cue to PP hiding on the buildings roof for the parents to leave so he and the little lighty-light he has in tail can start looking for his shadow. The little lighty-light is introduced as Tinkerbell and I adore her. She is one of my favourites from this movie. Besides Nana obviously. While PP is busy looking for his shadow, Tinkerbell comes upon a mirror. At first she admires herself in it, but then she realised what wide hips she has and manages to give every little girl watching a body complex. Thanks a lot, Disney. Shall I invoice you my therapy session directly?
The missing shadow happens to be stuck in a drawer that now Tinkerbell gets stuck in while Peter wrestles with his shadow and tries to stick it on to him with soap. The hustle makes Wendy wake up who is shocked at first but also offers to sew on the shadow because good little girls learned how to sew, isn’t that right?! (Not that I have anything against girls learning to sew, it’s a very handy thing to know how to do but of course it’s the girl who knows this…never a boy.) Tinker tries to escape from the drawer via keyhole but gets stuck because of her wide hips and I groan forever and call BS on this.
Peter tells us he is a big fan of Wendy’s stories about himself and he always tells them to the lost boys back in Neverland. After hearing that Wendy has to grow up, he suggests they leave for Neverland because there you can stay a child forever and she could be a mother to the Lost Boys. I fell like my brain has been stuck in Neverland since third grade, so I’m all for this idea. Of course Michael and John need to come along. After some flying lessons and a sprinkling of pixie dust courtesy of Tinkerbell they fly away into the night.
On Neverland we are introduced to the pirates under Captain Hooks command. They obviously aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. Their plan is to capture Tiger Lily in order to find out Peter’s hiding place. Captain Hook lost one of his hands while fighting with crocodile which has also ingested a ticking clock so you always know when it comes for you. Hook is actually a little baby but it’s fun to watch.
Up from a cloud Peter and the Darling children are taking in their first view of Neverland. There is the Indian camp, a lagoon and Hook’s ship. Then canon balls fly through the air and Peter makes Tinker promise to take the Darlings safely to the Lost Boys. Well this will obviously go splendidly as Tinker is pretty jealous of Wendy because she can sense that Wendy has gotten her eye on Peter. Oh damn it, why do they need to pity the females against each other over a boy? Ugh.
As predicted, Wendy plans some sort of coy and convinces the Lost Boys that Wendy is some kind of bird that needs to be attacked. Peter is there to safe Wendy when she falls and bans Tinkerbell from hanging out with them ever again because of her treason. This is pretty harsh, Peter. Peter and Wendy split from the rest of the group so John takes over command and they march through some part of Neverland where they happen upon some Indian footprint. While plotting to capture the Indians, they get captured by the Indians, of you so clever movie. Meanwhile Wendy and Peter visit the mermaids (hello mermaids but you’re not as good as those from Fantasia #justsaying) who want to drown Wendy because Tinkerbell told them to.
Peter and Wendy see Tiger Lily captured and shipped off by the pirates so they follow them to investigate some more. Tiger Lily gets freed and the pirates are left to their own demise. They’re obviously not pleased but have already made a plan to utilise the wedge between Tinkerbell and Peter. On the other side of Neverland big celebrations are underway as Tiger Lily was safely returned. Now it’s Wendy’s turn to get jealous as Tiger Lily makes her move on Peter. What is it with this boy and girls, huh?
Smee, the left hand of Hook, ambushes Tinkerbell and brings her to Hook where the captain coaxes Peter’s hiding place out of her. Since Wendy is jealous she decided they would leave Neverland in the morning. Being a mom to all the loss boys is hard, yo. Hook and Smee are also watching this. While Peter is throwing himself a pity party the Lost Boys and Darling children get captured by the pirates. Hook also leaves a present for Peter and I’m sure this can only be something bas inside. We later learn there’s bomb in the package and as Tinker hears this, she breaks free in order to safe Peter. She manages to do so but only through risking her own life.
Meanwhile Wendy is made to walk down the plank of the pirate ship, Peter is there to safe her before she falls into the water. The lack of a splash upsets the pirates very much. Peter reveals himself and the grand finale ensues. Naturally Peter and his crew win while Hook is followed by his crocodile friend. The ship gets sprinkled with pixie dust and delivers Wendy and the boys back home. There they are greeted by their parents. Wendy shortly recounts all that’s happened on Neverland and proclaims she is now ready to grow up. I’m sure you do child, but growing up is such a tedious business, I think you should give it more time. Sceptical Mr. Darling doesn’t believe all this Peter Pan nonsense until he sees the ship passing in front of the moon ad is reminded of seeing the same thing many, many moons ago.
Like I said up top, this film grew on me upon re-watch. It’s nice and silly but I do start to lose focus while watching this at times. It is nevertheless a sweet story even though I have my problems with the love-quadrouple between Peter, Tinkerbell Wendy and Tiger Lily. Maybe that’s just me though.
Have you seen Peter Pan? What do you think of it?