tek's rating:

Peter Pan & Wendy (PG), on Disney+
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Caution: spoilers!

This is a 2023 live-action adaptation of Disney's 1953 animated film Peter Pan. For a little ways into the movie I was a bit worried it wouldn't do anything significantly differently than the old movie, but it eventually did. So I was pleased about that. It begins in Edwardian London, with a girl named Wendy Darling spending her last night at home before going away to boarding school. Her parents, George (Alan Tudyk) and Mary (Molly Parker), seem ready for Wendy to grow up, but she wants things to stay the way they've always been. Then Tinker Bell (Yara Shahidi) and Peter Pan show up, and take Wendy and her younger brothers, John and Michael, to Neverland. They get attacked by Captain Hook (Jude Law) and his pirates, including Mr. Smee (Jim Gaffigan), and the children get separated. John and Michael get captured by the pirates, and Wendy meets Peter's friends, Tiger Lily and the Lost Boys (which includes some girls, unlike the old movie). I feel like we never really get to know any of the Lost Boys very well, which is a bit of a shame. But Tiger Lily has a much better role here than she did in the old movie. Anyway, they've been expecting Wendy, because they knew Peter was going to bring her to Neverland, to tell them all stories. Peter himself has gone missing, but eventually shows up after Wendy, Tiger Lily, and the Lost Boys go to rescue John and Michael.

Peter and the Darlings and the Lost Boys go back to the Lost Boys' hideout, but the pirates later show up and kidnap all the children and Tinker Bell, except for Peter, who loses a fight with Hook, and apparently dies. But he's later revived by Tiger Lily, and goes to rescue his friends. However, Tinker Bell had already managed to escape and rescued Wendy from walking the plank. And there's a big battle with the pirates against the Lost Boys and Tiger Lily and the Darlings and Tinker Bell and Peter, and this time the pirates lose, and Peter and everyone else take the pirates' ship back to London.

I don't want to give away too many more details of the plot. I feel like I've said quite enough already, though I am leaving some things out. But I do want to talk about the things I liked about the movie, if I can remember them all. Wendy learns that growing up isn't so bad, after all. Also, unlike in the old movie, she is never enemies with Tinker Bell, and she even speaks up to Peter on Tink's behalf, which endears her to the fairy. (For most of the movie, we never get to hear Tinker Bell talking, but in the end she does speak to Wendy.) In fact, Wendy speaks up on behalf of all of Peter's friends, including the Lost Boys and Tiger Lily. Because Peter originally thought he didn't really need any of them to fight Hook and the pirates. She also learns how Peter and Hook originally met and how they became enemies. This is kind of tragic, though Hook does have a sympathetic past, if not necessarily an actual redemption arc. And Peter learns to admit he was wrong, both about Hook and about needing his current friends. (But it looks like the Lost Boys will be staying in London and looking for their real homes and families, so I worry Peter will get lonely back in Neverland, though he'll at least still have Tinker Bell and Tiger Lily. Which is pretty good company, I'd say.) And... there are probably any number of nice little details that I'm forgetting. There are a few songs, which were fine, but I didn't find very memorable. (My favorite was probably the one the pirates sang while making Wendy walk the plank, but I liked the sound of it more than the actual lyrics.) Overall, this movie isn't going to hold the same place in my heart that the original does, even if in some ways it was a better story. And I don't really remember other versions of the story well enough to compare them to this one. But I definitely enjoyed this version.

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Peter Pan
movies: Peter Pan (1953) * Hook * Return to Never Land * Peter Pan (2003) * Finding Neverland * Tinker Bell * Pan * Peter Pan & Wendy
TV: Neverland (2011) * Once Upon a Time * Peter Pan Live! * The New Adventures of Peter Pan

live-action re-imaginings of animated (or partly animated) Disney movies
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101 Dalmatians (1996) * Maleficent (2014) * Cinderella (2015) * Pete's Dragon (2016) * The Jungle Book (2016) *
Beauty and the Beast (2017) * Dumbo (2019) * Aladdin (2019) * Lady & the Tramp (2019) * Mulan (2020) * Cruella (2021) *
Pinocchio (2022) * Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) * The Little Mermaid (2023)
In Development: Snow White * Moana * Lilo & Stitch * et al.

I have a tendency to think of this trend as having started with "Maleficent," though I didn't think of it as a "thing" until "Cinderella" came out, and other re-imaginings had been announced. But then I started thinking I should include Alice in Wonderland (2010) as the start of the modern trend (but later decided against considering that part of the trend at all, since it's more of a sequel than a reimagining), as well as remembering that there were other such movies even before that. (I thought I might include 1994's "The Jungle Book", but later decided maybe not.) But particularly since "Cinderella," there have been increasing numbers of old animated Disney movies being remade or completely re-imagined, in live-action. There will be some things I don't include as part of this trend, like TV movies (such as "Geppetto"). And no straight-up modern sequels to old movies, even if they really feel to me like part of this trend (such as "Mary Poppins Returns"). Also no remakes of movies that were live-action to begin with (such as "That Darn Cat", "The Parent Trap", "Freaky Friday", etc.) And obviously no animated remakes of films (which I consider "The Lion King" to be), whether the original was animated or live-action. And no live-action re-imaginings of old Disney movies by other studios (such as "Snow White and the Huntsman" or "Mirror Mirror"). Also I won't bother listing sequels to re-imaginings, unless they're clearly re-imaginings of old sequels to the original movies; but that's just getting too complicated. As for 2016's "Pete's Dragon," that's complicated, itself, considering the original was mostly live-action, and only the dragon was animated. And of course in the remake, it's still just the dragon that's animated (this time as CGI), but I just can't help feeling like the remake is part of this overall trend. Especially considering that the "Jungle Book" movie that came out the same year uses a lot of CGI, itself.