by Greg Muskewitz
Lavish, dreamy, live-action adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s children’s classic of the Boy who Wouldn’t Grow Up — as told by director P.J. Hogan, in what is being called a slightly more faithful attempt, to include not only the story’s darkness better, but its odd-eyed view with subtle sexual overtones.For one thing, as I would have expected, the movie is full of energy, and even though it takes a little while to get the ball rolling into the adventures in Neverland (which, by the way, seems to end much faster than they should), the solidity in that this is made — the inventive production design, the soft focus, crisp glow, and textural palette of Donald McAlpine — is one of the main surprises within. Assembled of a beautiful cast, they are all charming and likable (the fresh-faced Rachel Hurd-Wood, with perpetual wet lips; bare-chested soap opera stand-in Jeremy Sumpter — lacking, however, a British accent; Ludivine Sagnier, miming it up in Tinker Bell’s silence, though with a modern crude touch added to her jealousy (“Fairies are so small, they only have enough room for one feeling at a time”), etc.), or dark and perverse when needed (Jason Isaacs playing both Captain Hook and Mr. Darling, as specified in the original play). Still, the movie has a strange unintentional pseudo-sexuality going on between Peter and Wendy, Wendy and Capt. Hook/her father, and Capt. Hook and Peter, and the action is a good deal darker than expectations had predicted (actual bloodshed, however minor, on Hook’s account of his own crew). This doesn’t detract or deter the fact that this is for a young crowd, rather than it simply goes over their heads and gives the parents something to chew on afterwards. With Olivia Williams, Richard Briers, Lynn Redgrave, and Carsen Gray.[Worth-seeing.]
"Sumptuous and seductive?!"
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originally posted: 05/16/04 07:49:34