Saturday, January 8, 2011

Peter Pan

A fun Disney film that dates back a bit further than I thought - it's from 1953.  Ever since Jason and I started re-watching all of these Disney movies, some of them I knew like the back of my hand and could sing all of the songs and say all of the lines with them (The Lion King, Aladdin), and some of them I could hardly remember at all and actually found myself in suspense (Hercules, The Jungle Book).  I don't remember watching Peter Pan over and over again as a kid, but when we watched it I found I could say many of the lines by heart, so I must have watched it more than I remembered.  Plus, when I was in 6th grade I was in the play version and I got to play Tootles, one of the Lost Boys.

Overall it is a really excellent movie.  I find it to be quite enjoyable, funny, and emotionally touching.  One of the nice things about this movie is that it keeps a good pace.  They go on lots of adventures but it doesn't feel too rushed, and it never really drags at all.  The only slight downfall to the movie is Peter himself, because it can be hard to like a character that is so selfish and immature.  However, if we can accept the fact that we aren't necessarily supposed to like the main character, even though the kids in the movie adore him, it adds a really interesting dynamic and brings out an important message that Barrie wanted to convey in his original book/play.

Tinker Bell, though, is a complete b*tch.  It's kind of funny how she's become such an icon of the Disney franchise, and super popular with little girls now.  In the new TinkerBell movies and TV shows she has a completely different personality than she does in Peter Pan.  In Barrie's original work he explains that because fairies are so small they can only contain one emotion at a time... so when she gets jealous she's just jealous and doesn't have any pity or kindness to temper it.  Interesting little tidbit.

The ending to the film is what you'd expect from Disney, and I like it - they defeat the pirates and Wendy, John, and Michael are delivered safely home.  And even though Disney keeps everything light and happy, there is still a small tinge of sadness to the story.  It's sad because Wendy, Michael, and John will grow up, and Peter Pan will not.  If you've read the book you know that the ending has a much different feel, and I still think of that even when I watch the Disney version.

The Music
I think Peter Pan's got a lot of great songs - with the exception of Fantasia, which was focused on music, I might even say that Peter Pan is one of the few "early" Disney films to have a really memorable and overall good soundtrack.  "The Second Star to the Right" and "You Can Fly!" are both really good numbers.  There are also some good character songs, with "A Pirate's Life" for the pirates and "What Makes the Red Man Red?" for the Indians.  "Your Mother and Mine" is a beautiful lullaby, if not a little boring.  And the crocodile's tune is both fun and catchy.

The Villain
Captain Hook is a fabulous villain because he is just such a character.  In terms of being evil or villainous he's often so pathetic that you feel sorry for him rather than hate him.  He's got a lot of humor to him, which makes him a fun one.  However, that's not to say that he is completely innocent - despite the fact that he seems like a big baby, he mercilessly kills a few pirates in the movie that annoy him and he tries to kill Peter Pan with a time bomb.

The Disney World Connection
Peter Pan has quite an honor in WDW, as it has it's own ride called "Peter Pan's Flight."  This is an indoor, dark ride where you are suspended from the ceiling in cars and you "fly" over various scenes from the movie.  Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Wendy, and Smee are all characters that can be found throughout the parks, and they also make an appearance in the Fantasmic! show.

My rating:  8.5 out of 10
Jason's rating:  8 out of 10

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