“Dreams to come true, if we only wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it”
– JM Barrie, Peter Pan
When you wish upon a star, do you even wish that Hollywood would stop making Peter Pan films? There’s nothing wrong with Peter Pan of course, a wonderful and imaginative story read by generations of children and enjoyed on stage, screen and in the written form. It just seems that now it’s one of these tales that’s been told so often that there isn’t really a whole lot more to add.In popular culture it has become something as iconic as King Arthur, Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes. Despite the different origins of these stories, they are adapted over and over again, and each time someone putting a new twist in the tale.
But in the second decade of the 21st century, culture has never been more disposable. Nothing is made to last – better that it’s forgotten so it can be remade, repackaged and sold again. In 2011, there was a mini-series called Neverland, which promised a new take on Peter Pan, telling the origin story of a boy before he became lost. That was the twist on the then and that’s the twist in this new film from director Joe Wright. People seem so preoccupied with what came before that they seem to forget what it is that makes the story so good in the first place.
If you don’t like this one there’s another called Neverafter currently in development; there’s also a TV movie. Disney will probably make another live action version soon too, since they are utilising their animated back catalogue in that way. Then again maybe you’d prefer to watch the enchanting 2003 version, or maybe Steven Spielberg’s Hook.
The new film stars Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily (?!?!), Garrett Hedlund as Hook, and Levi Miller as Peter. An origin story is the set up for a franchise, but that’s something you can never do with Peter Pan, at least in live action. Unfortunately young actors grow up, something Peter Pan can never do, just like Hollywood executives.
Pan is released 17 July 2015