Sometimes, "P" is for fantasy. This column recently reviewed the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" film and "The Princess Bride". Whereas the former is an action film and the latter is a romance film, 2003's "Peter Pan" is a family-oriented movie, based on a now 110-year-old play that first proved that audiences would embrace sophisticated folly.
"Peter Pan" is based on the story by Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie. The curious tale centers on the imaginative Wendy Darling (played by Rachel Hurd-Wood). She lives with her brothers in London and likes telling them fantasy stories. This practice does not sit well with her aunt (played by Lynn Redgrave), who feels that this is not proper behavior for a young woman of Wendy's station in life. One evening, she is visited by the mischievous Peter Pan (played by Jeremy Sumpter). Peter is a boy who refuses to grow up. He comes from the unfamiliar territory of Neverland. Peter takes Wendy and her brothers to his home. Once they are in Neverland, Captain Hook (played by Jason Issacs) and his crew work hard to find them. Hook wants revenge since he lost his hand to a crocodile while battling Peter. Wendy and Peter fight Hook with assistance from other characters familiar to the story: Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys.
"Peter Pan" is a very good version of the classic story. It is a little darker than the animated Disney film. We feel sorry for Peter because he can never grow up. Although this version, like other versions of the story, shows that he does not want to grow up, it shows subtle glimpses of a life he cannot have.
Rachel Hurd-Wood is great as Wendy, who has a lot of imagination and is good at telling stories. Jeremy Sumpter is equally good as Peter, who finds himself attracted to her. Jason Issacs is perfectly cast as Hook. He makes a great villain.
"Peter Pan" is one of the best versions of J.M. Barrie's classic tale.