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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 22.41%
Average: 7.47%
Pretty Bad: 1.72%
Total Crap: 2.87%

5 reviews, 144 user ratings

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Peter Pan (2003)
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by Collin Souter

"Helps wash away the scar left last year by Benigni's 'Pinocchio'"
4 stars

It might be safe to assume that the great “Peter Pan” film has never and will never be made. Sure, you can always rely on the 1953 Walt Disney version if you want to show your little ones the basics of the story, but would you really consider that the definitive film version of James M. Barrie’s classic tale? What about the stage versions featuring grown women such as Kathy Rigby or Sandy Duncan as the boy who never grew up? Nah, too creepy. And wouldn’t that end up giving young boys a complex when they see a high-pitched woman playing a pre-pubescent man-child? I, for one, would probably take offense. “What, because my voice hasn’t changed yet, you’re saying I sound like a girl? Screw you!”

And screw “Hook,” too! I may have been charmed by it 13 years ago when I refused to believe Spielberg could make a wrong move, but I, like the director, grew up and now find it kind of unwatchable. It’s just too cute, too bloated and too gooey to take seriously. Robin Williams shaving off all his body hair adds to the creepiness factor already made abundant by a certain Michael Jackson proclaiming himself a Peter Pan of sorts with his Neverland Ranch in which many boys have allegedly gone “lost.”

But I digress. What we have now is a new, well-cast semi-definitive live action “Peter Pan,” one with probably the same budget as “Hook,” but this time sticking with the literary source. In fact, an unexpected element of romance has been added in order to give the story more dimension, an element that saves this version of “Peter Pan” from becoming just another Hollywood production played safe. If only the rest of the movie were as daring.

You know the story. Wendy Darling (played wonderfully by newcomer Rachel Hurd-Wood) and her two brothers, John and Michael, get swept away by Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumpter of “Frailty”) and his companion Tinkerbell. By thinking happy thoughts, you can fly. The Lost Boys populate Neverland, which looks like a Brazilian rainforest. Captain Hook (Jason Isaacs) and his band of pirates, including Smee (Richard Briers), await a showdown with Peter Pan and use the kids as bait. And, of course, you MUST believe in fairies.

Almost everything happens as you would expect it. Even an Indian girl shows up with a feather in her cap and plants a big kiss on Wendy’s older brother. Yet, half way through, the movie takes an unexpected turn and explores the sadness behind Peter Pan’s unwillingness to grow up. The movie portrays him as being somewhat cursed with stubbornness. Growing up would be the death of Peter, but how else can he fall in love with Wendy and be with her forever? He can’t. He must decide whether or not to take a leap into adulthood or stay young and carefree forever, which would also mean doing away with serious emotions, such as love, an emotion Peter does not want to confront.

With this dilemma comes a surprising amount of insight into Captain Hook’s vendetta against Peter Pan. Hook sees Wendy and Peter dancing together in mid air, holding each other in a wistful, romantic embrace. It moves him to the point of jealousy. He has lived alone and with no one to hold him for too long. The power play that ensues between Peter and Hook over Wendy’s fate begins to gain more weight as a result. Finally, the movie has a clear reason for having been made.

And yet, the rest of it falls into traps that you would expect from a movie that seems inspired only by the success of the “Harry Potter” franchise. The shopping mall Tinkerbell comes off too cute and annoying. The special effects look unfinished. At times, the magic in “Peter Pan” feels like an ILM/John Williams clip-reel of manipulation. And an episode near the beginning involving an overly cartoonish Saint Bernard has the feel of something that was left on the cutting room floor of a “Scooby-Doo” movie. Like Smee says, “It’s all pretty tragic when you stop and think about it.” What Alfonso Cuaron did with “The Little Princess” could also have been done with “Peter Pan.”

But still, this is probably the best film version I’ve seen. When the movie aspires to be more than a young-versus-old story told for the sake of swordfights, one can’t help but admire it. The complexities between Wendy and Peter’s relationship exists, and I’m glad they explored them. The two leads playing Wendy and Peter have chemistry and manage to pull off the love story with warmth, grace and believability. Jason Isaacs does okay with the Captain Hook role, but doesn’t add anything new to it (I honestly can’t look at another pirate performance in quite the same way after Johnny Depp’s in “Pirates of the Caribbean”).

So, I guess this will be as close to “definitive” as we will likely get (the box office numbers suggest that there will not be another attempt at this for at least 20 years). But, hey, the lesson comes through crystal clear: The trade-off of growing up is falling in love, which can be the ultimate happy thought that can make you fly. Without this element in the story, this version of “Peter Pan” would be a completely forgettable excursion, but I’m glad I went and I think parents and their kids will be too. At least now when kids think of Peter Pan, they will picture an actual boy and not a grown man or woman in tights. Now, finally, it makes sense.

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originally posted: 01/02/04 16:15:02
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User Comments

5/06/19 Final Fantasy Sucks A wonderful family movie almost touched my heart. 5 stars
3/29/16 Aj wales This director should have directed the new superman movies. Action and emotion. 5 stars
9/19/13 Annie G Quality version and decent adaptation. 4 stars
12/12/12 iris_darling This movie is awesome. Jeremy Sumpter and Rachel Hurd Wood are perfect for theiir potrayal. 5 stars
8/30/12 roscoe HOOK IS GREAT, SORY FINE, BUT REST OF CAST IS EITHER DULL OR AWFUL Plus, film is unlikeable 3 stars
5/27/10 lesley gennrich & family really great movie everyone I know loves it still 5 stars
11/26/09 john r45 cresent square 5 stars
12/25/08 Nabi I'm not a Jackson fan but I have to say that the 'evidence' supporting the trial was flaky, 4 stars
11/18/08 Shaun Wallner Great story! 5 stars
4/02/08 jeramy they have a girlfriend 5 stars
3/15/08 kellsie philpot i think jeremy sumpter should come down to wagga so i could meet him 5 stars
1/21/08 Mike great movie if u dont like it fuck u 5 stars
9/25/07 Beau remarkable film, great human re-make and portrayal, actors are spot on!! 5 stars
6/23/07 David Cohen Jumped around like a flea on a hot brick, some of us do have attention spans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 stars
2/26/06 Grace Underdown The movie is very cute 4 stars
9/29/05 Cayla I loved the movie, no douts 5 stars
8/19/05 ES Very well done = made me a little uncomfortable to watch thou 3 stars
8/09/05 maria amos Its my fave film jeremy is such a great actor who is gorgeous i watch it evrynite.. so cool 5 stars
8/08/05 Hollie One of my favorite movies! Jeremy is gorgeous and did a wonderful job. 5 stars
3/23/05 Laura I Love this movie! 5 stars
10/03/04 ariana my favourite movie of all time 5 stars
9/18/04 danielle Jeremy is mine -very emotional made me cry:( but very great! 5 stars
8/13/04 Rachel The movies great. Sexual undertones? The actual peter pan would have hit puberty. 5 stars
8/07/04 Daveman The film only sporadically rises above the ordinary and it's just not enough. 3 stars
7/28/04 Elizabeth Surprisingly good, very well cast! 4 stars
7/25/04 Katie This movie is great! Jeremy Sumpter is SO HOT!!! 4 stars
7/20/04 Chris enjoyed hook a lot better 2 stars
7/20/04 Northerly Pinkline walks around under the bridge in a Peter Pan suit 3 stars
7/19/04 assassin_chick There's just something magical about this film. The kids are perfect! 5 stars
7/06/04 Taunya I REALLY liked the film - felt it was more true to the book than any I've seen. 5 stars
7/03/04 I need this you need to have the ages of the character's 5 stars
6/26/04 Victoria Collins I loved it so much, I would watch it over and over again and I think Jeremy Sumpter great!! 5 stars
6/24/04 Tamara i love the movie, i know all the words to it. and Jeremy Sumpter was a really good actor. 5 stars
6/19/04 Lisa best movie in the world 5 stars
6/16/04 ryane luv the movie peter pan 5 stars
6/12/04 Dianaiz Millet This movie is so good that I can't stop wathing it 5 stars
6/12/04 Sam p i love Jeremy Sumpter and Peter Pan is the best movie ever 5 stars
5/24/04 Sam Kueter BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/20/04 Sasha Beautiful, breathtaking, for all ages. and this is from a highschool girl and knows more 5 stars
5/18/04 Natalie Low wondeful! 5 stars
5/16/04 Michael Unexpectedly beautiful, heartbreaking, thrilling fantasy masterpiece. Truly wonderful film 5 stars
5/15/04 Sam G This is the best version of peter pan I've ever seen!(and it was even in movie form!bonus!) 5 stars
5/11/04 Kooler Hook is hot! 5 stars
5/10/04 Sara My all-time favorite movie! Jeremy Sumpter is great! 5 stars
4/17/04 Bianca I love it, I could watch it every day, also cause of cutie Jeremy Sumpter ;-) 5 stars
4/09/04 Sam For a 15 year girl, i loved the movie and i know that many of my guy friends enjoyed it 5 stars
3/16/04 Sam Kueter Best Movie Ever! 5 stars
3/16/04 jess i loved your movie it was brill 4 stars
3/15/04 Sam` WOW! WOW! WOW! 5 stars
3/08/04 Another_Red It's one of my favorite all time movies! This movie is ---> 5 stars
2/23/04 Kelsey Quist The romance is what makes the movie! 5 stars
2/22/04 Erin Waters Glad I didn't know until afterwards that Tinkerbell is played by the slut of SWIMMING POOL! 4 stars
2/21/04 Ashley Corpening Atmosphere is superb, but story a bit muddled, and overall tone a bit somber. 4 stars
2/21/04 Jade Faram the film was best because it was funny 5 stars
2/17/04 rantic ur all fucking nuts!, this was garbage, no wonder it flopped. What r u all on?!! 1 stars
2/16/04 Faye Dunlop I thought this film was absoulutley brilliant and Jeremy Sumpter is the fitest 5 stars
2/13/04 Becca the best movie ever!!!! 5 stars
2/12/04 Serena AWSOME, Peter pan was hot haha 5 stars
2/08/04 Pudding & Yasu The best movie ever!!! Peter Pan rocks!! 5 stars
2/08/04 Brian Hutton superb 5 stars
2/07/04 Sophie Moy I think it's the best movie but will they be doing Peter Pan Return to Neverland? 5 stars
2/06/04 Robyn ive seen it 6 times i luv jeremy :) 5 stars
2/03/04 Amanda Warriner It was awsome and Jermey is really cute and if he comes around ask him if he is single lol 5 stars
1/31/04 karlie jeremy is fuckin georgous 5 stars
1/30/04 Chanel Da movie rox and i already watched it twice!! 5 stars
1/29/04 angel beautiful :) 5 stars
1/28/04 alison i love jeremy supmter 5 stars
1/28/04 kerwin so far, the best movie I ever seen!! 5 stars
1/28/04 Jennifer morrison it was awesome 5 stars
1/27/04 Bryana Baker It was a excieting movie and some what sad. 5 stars
1/27/04 Ali Jeremy Sumpter is so hot 5 stars
1/26/04 Movie Review It was a great movie, i wanna see it again! 4 stars
1/26/04 alexis hedrick I think Peter Pan was really hot and he is only 14 thankgod 5 stars
1/26/04 miranda pinto i love this film and jeremy sumpteris hot:P 5 stars
1/26/04 Kayla Delzio the way Peter Pan is so brave 5 stars
1/25/04 Emily Ward u must see this film it`s great 5 stars
1/25/04 Wendy Conti i though the movie was the best movie in the world i would give it a 10++ 5 stars
1/25/04 Liz The most brilliant beyond brilliant movie...EVER!!!! 5 stars
1/23/04 Hel Captain Hook was hot! No, seriously. Jason Isaacs OWNS, as they say. 5 stars
1/23/04 Carly Naki I loved it, peter pan is just the hottest peter pan yet 5 stars
1/22/04 Nereida Duenas the guy who does peter pan is hot! 5 stars
1/22/04 peachy2444 it was the greatest movie ever! exspeicaly with jeremy sumpter 5 stars
1/22/04 Erin I loved this movie! I wish I could go to Neverland and meet them all! 5 stars
1/22/04 Olivia touching and great acting especially in scenes at neverland...way to go jeremy! =) 5 stars
1/21/04 heva An amazing movie and a great peter well worth watching even just 4 jeremy sumpter!!!!! 5 stars
1/20/04 Sez Omg jeremy is hot as!!! i lurve u jeremy!! 5 stars
1/20/04 Julia I loved it. I saw it 3 times.Jeremy is hot. 5 stars
1/19/04 Lindsay AWWWW how sweet is jeremy and theodore??? 5 stars
1/17/04 Hazel Cuevas peter pan was hot 5 stars
1/16/04 Wolf Relies too much on (badly done) FX, but Jason Isaacs TRULY shines here. 4 stars
1/16/04 Abby awesome, brilliant my best film ever 5 stars
1/16/04 Elsy Tunales Coooooooooooooooooooooooooool. 1 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Nice looking, but uninteresting and rather unlikable production. 2 stars
1/14/04 sara I love you jeremy!!!!! I love you !!! Call me! 5 stars
1/14/04 Diana I love you Jeremry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/13/04 nicole it was a really good movie and i want jeremys email add contact me on 5 stars
1/13/04 stefane I thought this was a great movie...and it would be perfect for all kinds of people to watch 5 stars
1/12/04 Brittany This movie was great! 5 stars
1/12/04 Alyssa This movie was great! I really enjoyed it! 5 stars
1/11/04 Nat_Bee Jeremy Sumpter is the Hottest guy ever, the movie rox 5 stars
1/11/04 Jeanette very good close to the book 5 stars
1/11/04 Hannah I think that Peter Pan is soooooo HOT It was a great movie 5 stars
1/11/04 Katie it was so good! and jeremy sumpter is so hot 5 stars
1/10/04 temidire i like peter pan 5 stars
1/10/04 sarah ¤kewl and cute¤ 5 stars
1/10/04 john mancusi it suck 1 stars
1/10/04 Olivia Fricke WoW! Gr8 work this movie brings back feelings of wat its like to b a kid again;P 10stars!! 5 stars
1/09/04 John Trett Wicked!!!!! 5 stars
1/09/04 cally awsome 5 stars
1/09/04 that one kid expected crap not related to the book....and ended up with a WONDERFUL experience... 5 stars
1/09/04 M I Think it is the best movie ever made. 5 stars
1/08/04 Tricia I love this movie!! I've seen it 5 times so far!! Jeremy is an amazing peter pan! 5 stars
1/08/04 rachael this film pisses me off..b/c i want to be there instead of texas..amazing movie,great cast 5 stars
1/08/04 angela scalera jeremy Sumpter is hot!!!!! 5 stars
1/08/04 susie may Peter pan is awesome. Jeremy Sumpter completes the movie with his spot-on portrayal -peter. 5 stars
1/08/04 wendy your gay if you dont like peter pan.....plain fucking gay 5 stars
1/08/04 Michael Fuck "Return of the King". This is the movie of the millennium. Absolutely fucking awesome 5 stars
1/08/04 Aoife Brilliant 5 stars
1/08/04 KICK ASS OR DONT COME HOME! isnt peter pan micheal jackson's bitch? 1 stars
1/08/04 Marilyn Finan I apsolutely loved it! It was great! Jeremy is an excellent actor! 5 stars
1/07/04 nadia cope this film is the best version of peter pan that i have ever seen.a truly great film. 5 stars
1/07/04 Sarah Kennedy It was excellent!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/06/04 hammy peter is soooo hot......................... 5 stars
1/06/04 alexa i thoguht the movie was great! I loved it! 5 stars
1/06/04 melissa its great a lil sad at parts but still really good 5 stars
1/06/04 Cat Smith Great film that actually like the book. Issacs is hot as Hook. 4 stars
1/05/04 Jenni Parts of it were pretty boring, except Hook. Jason Issacs makes Hook sexy! 4 stars
1/04/04 Karen so-so 3 stars
1/03/04 Sam The special effects were okay but the kids were great. Very touching and I'm glad I saw it. 4 stars
1/02/04 Kelly A delight for all ages. It shows a wonderful relationship between Peter and Wendy. 5 stars
12/31/03 --- This movie was shit 1 stars
12/30/03 amy its wicked peterpan is soooo good 4 stars
12/29/03 Titus Pan's acting: ick. CG: muddled. Music: awful. Story: good. Wendy: great. Hook: great. 3 stars
12/28/03 Yilly The writing could've been better and could of use less CG, but I pretty much liked it. 4 stars
12/27/03 Gray touching 5 stars
12/27/03 Alien assasin Heaps better than Spielberg's "Hook" extravaganza 5 stars
12/27/03 Carolyn Hell, I thought it was awesome,seeing it makes me feel like there is no worries. 5 stars
12/27/03 Hel Closer to the book than any other version of Peter Pan I've seen. A cool interpretation. 5 stars
12/27/03 Heather It was enchanting. I was "touched". 5 stars
12/23/03 angelica totally awesome magical fun 5 stars
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  25-Dec-2003 (PG)
  DVD: 04-May-2004



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