Tuesday 18th January 2022

Peter Pan (PG)
Directed by: P. J. Hogan
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
Children can't act
Children can't act

Everybody knows J. M. Barrie's story of the boy who never grew up and, like me, most of you will have seen at least one film version of the classic tale. However, that hasn't stopped P. J. Hogan, the Australian director of Muriel's Wedding, from having a bash at re-working the story one more time.

This film features a cast of child actors, including the first ever Peter Pan to be played by a boy in a live action film. Keeping with tradition, though, Jason Isaacs plays both the fearsome Captain Hook and Mr Darling, the father of the children.

Although this is clearly a film aimed at children aged eight years and up, I was looking forward to seeing it, and I have to say the world of Peter Pan is wonderfully realised by Hogan. Unfortunately, that's about the only complimentary thing I can say about this film. The acting from the children and the adults was not great, and the dialogue in the film, while reasonably in keeping with the book, was very stuffy and unnatural sounding. In fact after twenty minutes I was pretty fed up of Wendy describing everything as "perfectly", "dreadfully" or "frightfully", and after an hour I was checking my watch, something I rarely do at the cinema.

The film has many action scenes squeezed in, in an attempt to make the film exciting seat-of-the-pants stuff, but it only serves to make the film feel rushed and shallow. The characters are thinly drawn, and the whole film feels disjointed, all of which means I wouldn't see this film again without being paid a substantial amount of money.

I'm not saying that you won't enjoy this film, and maybe children will find it reasonably entertaining, but I think you'd be better off taking your little ones to see Elf, or getting the 1953 Disney animated version out on video. We can only hope for more from the forthcoming J.M. Barrie's Neverland, in which Johnny Depp and Dustin Hoffman tell the story of how and why J.M. Barrie wrote Peter Pan.

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Length: 113 minutes
Certificate: PG
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 26th December 2003

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