review: peter pan (2003)

I remember watching this when it first came out (I would have been 10 then) and absolutely loving it. Seeing that this film has popped back into the world via Netflix, I decided to take a second seventh(?) look at it. The verdict? While obviously not as impressive now, what with the extensive development of CGI and other various technologies, I must say that it is still a pretty damn good film.

Synopsis (IMDB): The Darling family children receive a visit from Peter Pan, who takes them to Never Never Land where an ongoing war with the evil Pirate Captain Hook is taking place.

Pretty straightforward. Most people know the story of Peter Pan, and while this version takes on a slightly darker twist of the traditional, childhood tale, branching off into a few more intertwined story lines, it still follows the general idea. To be honest, throw a dark twist onto any fairytale and I will love it – or at least get really excited about it until I get my butt into the theatre and actually watch it. Unfortunately, Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) falls into this category of movies. Peter Pan however, does not.

Ok confession, my 10-year-old self was absolutely obsessed with Jeremy Sumpter, playing the role of Peter himself. What does he look like now, 10 years later? Still absolutely adorable – and sort of Zac Efron-like, especially in this photo.

Sumpter now.

That being said, back in 2003 when this film was released, Sumpter is a just a little too boyish for my taste, especially with that high-pitched, little baby voice :P

Sumpter in 2003.

The three Darling children however, portrayed by Rachel Hurd-WoodHarry Newell, and Freddie Popplewell, now seem very forced, and very false in their performances of Wendy, John and Michael respectively. Especially the two boys. I guess casting directors also saw this at the time – as these young actors/actresses definitely have not had as much success in the industry as Sumpter has – post-Peter Pan. I actually don’t think Newell and Popplewell have done ANYTHING after this film. Shame.

One thing that I was very proud of catching at the age of 10 was that Mr. Darling and Captain Hook were both played by the same actor, the creepy, subtly perfect Jason Isaacs. Seeing that again just brought back so many nice memories of my sister and I sitting and discussing for hours on end why on earth the directors would do such a thing.

Yeah, so I still liked this. Cinematography was great, effects were great – considering the time. It’s crazy how much technology changes and animation has improved over the span of 10 years eh? Anyway, one small thing I noticed this time around was the super-saturation of the lips, particularly those of Wendy and Mrs. Darling. This was obviously done to highlight the whole idea of the unkissed kiss waiting for action in the bottom right corner of Wendy’s mouth, but despite the cheesy reason – I just like the look of having contrasting colours as over-saturated in images. Reminded me of the colouring in Pan’s Labyrinth (2006).

A kiss waiting to be kissed on Wendy’s lips.

Take a re-watch of this, or watch it if you never did! It isn’t the best film in the world, but it’s one of the better ones.

just my rating: ★★★½

Other reviews on Peter Pan:
The Warden’s Walk – Movie Review: “Peter Pan” (2003)
Confessions of a Broke Bibliophile – Book vs. Movie: Peter Pan
Mutant Reviewers – Louise Does Peter Pan (2003)

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One thought on “review: peter pan (2003)

  1. Pingback: peter pan (2003) | Tinseltown Times

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