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Peter Pan

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Peter Pan

Starring: Jason Isaacs, Jeremy Sumpter
Director: P. J. Hogan
Rated: PG
RunTime: 113 Minutes
Release Date: December 2003
Genres: Family, Kids, Action

*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 Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Australian filmmaker P.J. Hogan gives a distinctively contemporary twist to J.M. Barrie's classic tale by focusing more on Wendy than on Peter. This is her adventure as much as it is his.

Set in moonlit Victorian London in the cozy nursery of the Darling family home, the tale begins as 12 year-old Wendy (Rachel Hurd-Wood) gleefully relates the fanciful exploits of Peter Pan and Captain Hook to her younger brothers John (Harry Newell) and Michael (Freddie Popplewell). Unbeknownst to her, Peter (Jeremy Sumpter) is listening too, just outside the window. He loves to hear her stories. So when Wendy's repressive parents (Jason Isaacs, Olivia Williams) and starched aunt (Lynn Redgrave) insist that she leave her carefree childhood behind and prepare for womanhood, she decides to fly off with her brothers and perpetually young Peter - courtesy of magical fairy dust sprinkled by jealous, squeaking Tinkerbell. (Ludivine Sagnier). In Neverland, the Lost Boys are waiting, along with the pirates, led by villainous Captain Hook (Jason Isaacs) and the sly Smee (Richard Briers), plus there's this huge, menacing crocodile.

This is the first live-action "Peter Pan" since the 1924 silent film, altbhough many remember the TV-special starring Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard. Despite some uneven acting, P.J. Hogan remains faithful to novelist J.M. Barrie's literary duality, augmenting the narrative with visuals: flamboyant, high-flying action and eye-popping CGI sequences. And, for the first time, Peter is played a real boy, which allows a subtle undercurrent of awkward, adolescent romance in his relationship with Wendy. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Peter Pan" is an energetic, exhilarating 8. It's a familiar fantasy that's gloriously gift-wrapped for the whole family.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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