Disney Reviews by the Unshaved Mouse #14: Peter Pan

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The rock was very small now; soon it would be submerged. Pale rays of light tiptoed across the waters; and by and by there was to be heard a sound at once the most musical and the most melancholy in the world: the mermaids calling to the moon.Peter was not quite like other boys; but he was afraid at last. A tremor ran through him, like a shudder passing over the sea; but on the sea one shudder follows another till there are hundreds of them, and Peter felt just the one. Next moment he was standing erect on the rock again, with that smile on his face and a drum beating within him. It was saying, “To die will be an awfully big adventure.”

JM Barrie, Peter Pan

I don’t know what it says about me that, on the cusp of my thirties, most of my favorite books are still children’s books. Watership Down, The Mouse and His Child and the inspiration for this week’s movie Peter Pan, by JM Barrie. Peter Pan is at once a rip-roaring children’s adventure, a great work of literature and a haunting meditation on the nature of childhood and innocence. It is a work of breathtaking, melancholy beauty. And yet, unlike many great works of literature, it seems perfectly suited for adaptation to screen (probably something to do with the fact that the story began life as a play). This is a story replete with sumptuous visuals and thrilling action, in the right hands you could make an absolutely fantastic Peter Pan movie. And they did.

In 2003.

Seriously. See this movie.

But that’s not the movie we’re looking at today. This is Disney’s 1953 adaptation. Well, I love Disney. And I love Peter Pan. This can’t go wrong, surely?

Why!? I love Jeff Goldblum AND Flies! HOW COULD THIS GO WRONG??!!

Like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan was an early candidate for the second, post-Snow White Disney movie that eventually became Pinocchio. Disney only managed to get the rights to the story by 1939 by which point you know damn well what happened on 1939 and there’s no need to go into all that again. This was a passion project for Disney, who loved the book growing up as a child.

Right. ‘Cos that always turns out well.

The movie begins with the opening credits…

Cross the rainbow bridge of Asgard! Where the booming heaven roar! You’ll behold in breathless wonder! The God of thunder, Mighty THOR! (Putnam.)

So as the movie begins, Mr and Mrs Darling are getting ready to go out and are leaving their three children, Wendy, John and Michael, in the care of their nanny. Nana. Who is a dog. This may seem strange to American readers, but in the Old World it is not uncommon to hire animals to look after your children. In fact, my brothers and I were practically raised by an oryx.

She was tough, but stabby.

Michael and John are having a mock sword fight, with John playing Hook. Wendy, who is kind of the dungeon master for their games, tells John that Hook was missing his left hand, not his right.

In the midst of them, the blackest and largest jewel in that dark setting, reclined James Hook…of whom it was said only the Sea-Cook feared. He lay at his ease in a rough chariot drawn and propelled by his men, and instead of a right hand he had the iron hook with which ever and anon he encouraged them to increase their pace.”

JM Barrie, Peter Pan

Okay, Disney, so you changed which hand the hook is on. Fine. It’s a small detail. But why would you go out of your way to point it out? Well, the hook is often reversed in movie adaptations to make it easier for right-handed actors. But in an animation? I honestly have no idea why they did that. Regardless, this scene does condense the first few chapters of the book efficiently and effectively. Mr Darling is angry that Wendy’s stories have led to his shirt being turned into a treasure map and says that she is to leave the nursery and have her own room.

My own room?! My own space away from my two younger brothers?! YOU MONSTER!


Mr and Mrs Darling go off to their soirée, leaving Wendy, John and Michael to their last night in the nursery. And there on the roof, we see our first glimpse of the title character.

Spidey sense…tingling!

And it is glorious. Seriously, the animation of Peter Pan is a wonder to behold. He flits around the nursery like a living shadow, mysterious, elfin and a little sinister. Just how Peter Pan should be. And then he has to open his big stupid mouth.

Hello again, Bobby.

Yup. Peter is voiced by Bobby Driscoll, the original Nice Young Gentleman Who’s Trying His Best. Worse, Bobby was sixteen by the time this movie was made and his goose-like, broken-voiced honking does not make a good fit with the eternally young personification of childhood innocence and cruelty.

I am youth, I am joy. I am a little bird that has broken out of the egg.

We are also introduced to this movie’s version of Tinkerbell. I went into this review expecting to hate Disney’s Tinkerbell what with her being co-opted as the corporation’s second most visible mascot after Mickey. And yes, when the revolution comes, Tinkerbell will have to answer for her crimes.

Her many…




…MANY crimes.

But…no, I’m sorry. This is a great Tinkerbell; fiercely loyal, courageous, passionate and homicidally jealous. Only real criticism that I can make is that the movie does sexualise her quite shamelessly. Because I’m reasonably sure this is the only Disney movie with fucking panty shots. I’m serious.

You thought I wasn’t serious? I said I was serious.

Needless to say, JM Barrie would not have approved.

It was a girl called Tinker Bell exquisitely gowned in a skeleton leaf, cut low and square, through which her figure could be seen to the best advantage.”

JM Barrie, Peter Pan


Call me out, Barrie. Call me out and embarrass me in front of all my friends.

Anyway, Peter wakes up Wendy, John and Michael and offers to take them off to Neverland where they will never grown old. He tells them that all they need to fly there is happy thoughts and a little bit of pixie dust. And…dude, just say “Pixie Dust”. Just say “You need pixie dust to fly.” Because let’s be honest, it’s the pixie dust that’s doing most of the heavy lifting. You’re really overemphasizing the role that happy thoughts play in this to a disingenuous degree. They fly out the window and are on their way to Neverland as the song You Can Fly plays.

Okay. In the book…

No, no, no hear me out. In the book, Mr and Mrs Darling realise that something is wrong and race back to the house only to arrive too late and find the nursery window open and their children gone. It’s a devastating scene, and a major part of the book’s central theme that children are kind of sociopathic dicks.

You can fly! You can fly! You can flyyyyyyy!!!

But in the movie Mr and Mrs Darling come back to find them already returned from Neverland, no harm done. Yeah, maybe it would have been too dark for a Disney movie, but that’s what really kills me. It’s too dark for a Disney movie now. And by “now” I mean the nineteen fifties. Obviously.

When I think about what this movie could have been if it had been made back in the forties. When I imagine a Tar and Sugar Peter Pan, as scary and shadowy as Pinocchio, as lush and beautiful as Bambi. Oh God, this could have been something incredible. But, they waited too long. Damn shame.

Anyway, we see Neverland…

Girded with the Bifrost bridge of Putnam

…and meet our villain Captain James Hook.

Look at that mustachioed bastard.

And first impressions are good. Hook is drawn pretty much like he’s supposed to look, essentially Charles II as a pirate, and in keeping with tradition he’s voiced by the same actor who plays Mr Darling (representing the forces of adult control and authority perpetually pitted against the lawless youth of Pan, dontcherknow). Hook is poring over his map of the island trying to find Peter Pan’s lair and is interrupted by one of his men singing overhead, who he casually shoots. Again, not a problem. In the book, Hook actually disembowels one of his men for wrinkling his collar, so it’s in keeping with his character to murder his own men for tiny offences. But then Hook’s bo’sun Smee (who’s Irish in the book and isn’t in the movie and…that’s…fine) remarks that killing one of his pirates for singing isn’t Good Form, to which Hook roars “BLAST GOOD FORM!

What? What did he just…did Captain Hook just say…did he just…


That is just. Wow. Okay, if you haven’t read the book let me try and give you some kind of idea of just what a clangingly, hideously out-of-character statement that is for Captain Hook to make.

Fuck logic Captain, we just gotta go with our gut on this one.

Honour is for mugs, my sons. Next time you face Shredder, you go for his eyes and his nuts!

Aaah! Take it away! You know I hate orange soda!

Know what I love? John Tenniel and puppets.

I mean…I mean…that’s the point of the character! That is the entire concept! A ruthless, bloodthirsty pirate who nonetheless adheres religiously to the Etonian concept of Good Form. That’s. Captain. Hook.

And I know that Captain Hook is a very popular Disney villain but…I’m sorry I can’t go along with this. This is a terrible adaptation of the character. And it’s not just for that one, horribly out of character moment. There’s no menace. Really. The Queen of Hearts is more sinister than this guy. The fucking Ringmaster from Dumbo was more threatening, at least he knew how to use a whip! But this Hook is a joke, foppish to an absurd degree. Even his own men don’t seem to fear him and he’s murdering them on a regular basis! In the quote above it mentions that Hook is feared by “the Sea-Cook”. As in, Long John Freakin’ Silver was afraid of this guy. The Disney version wouldn’t scare Captain Crunch.

Alright, let’s have it. “Mouse, stop comparing it to the book. Just appreciate it on its own merits. You shouldn’t constantly compare adaptations to the source material, they’re supposed to stand alone.”

See, here’s the thing. You’re wrong.

This movie is not supposed to stand alone. This movie is called Peter Pan. It was made with the specific purpose that people like me, who know and love the book, would come and see it. It is counting on me assuming that it is going to at least try to be faithful to a work that I love and am therefore willing to part with my money to see. And that’s fine. But since it’s getting my money because I associate it with a book I love, it doesn’t get to disavow that association if I don’t like what I see. You gotta meet me halfway way here, Walt.

You keeping mouthing off, Mouse, my boot will meet you halfway up your ass.

Okay, rant over.

So Hook decides to kidnap Tiger Lily, princess of the local tribe of Indians, American Indians, Native Americans, Amerindians, Native Peoples

These guys.

…to force them to give up Peter Pan’s location.

Meanwhile Peter, Wendy, John and Michael arrive at Neverland and Peter send Tink ahead to let the Lost Boys know that they’re coming. Instead, Tink tells the Lost Boys to shoot Wendy down. The Lost Boys are Slightly, Nibs, Tootles, the Twins and Cubby who for some ungodly reason sounds like Bobcat Goldthwaite. Anyway, they shoot her down but Peter rescues her and when he finds out what Tink has done he banishes her forever (commuted to one week at Wendy’s urging). Her attempt to have Wendy killed having failed, Tink leaves to plot her revenge.

Tune in next week.

Peter then takes off to show Wendy the mermaids. He leaves John in charge of the Lost Boys and they decide to go and capture some of Those Guys just for shits and giggles. They sing the song Following the Leader which I have to say I find kind of shrill and repetitive until finally they come across some tracks supposedly left by Those Guys.

“Well chaps, judging by these tracks he descended from heaven, stood perfectly motionless and then disappeared into thin air.”

They make a plan of attack, with John offering such sage wisdom as “Now remember, the Indian is cunning, but not intelligent.” before they get their honky asses captured and tied to a totem pole. John is frightfully embarrassed by this but Bobcat tells him not to sweat it because it’s all in the game, yo. Whenever the Lost Boys capture Those Guys, they let them go and vice versa. But then the Chief appears…

Ug. Disney not be embarrassed by me ever.

…and tells them they ain’t goin’ nowhere. The Chief thinks that the Lost Boys have kidnapped Tiger Lily and says that unless she’s returned before sunset they’ll be burned at the stake. How he expects anything to happen is a bit of a mystery since the only people who know about this ultimatum are tied up and can’t do anything about it. Cunning but not intelligent indeed

Meanwhile at the Mermaid’s Lagoon…

“Oh we are the daughters of Triton…”

…Peter introduces Wendy to the mermaids who immediately try to drown her because women amirite? But they’re interrupted by Hook and Smee with Tiger Lily as hostage, followed by the Crocodile. Okay, I’m going to ease off the bile a little to admit that I love the movie’s version of the Crocodile. He’s hilarious, endearing and he mugs to the camera like he gives minus three fucks.

Hi folks!

Peter and Wendy follow the boat which leads them to Skull Island.

Named after its discoverer, Captain Mortimer Skull.

Pan flies in to rescue Tiger Lily and battles Hook, easily beating him and reducing him to tears.

undoubtedly the grimmest part of him was his iron claw…the hook shoots forth, there is a tearing sound and one screech, then the body is kicked aside and the pirates pass on. [Hook] has not even taken the cigar from his mouth.”

JM Barrie, Peter Pan

Sorry, just needed to remind myself. Oh James, what have they done to you?

Anyway, Pan throws Hook to the crocodile and we get an admittedly very funny scene of the crocodile trying to eat him while he and Smee row desperately back to the ship.

Hook comes down with a cold (ugh…) and Smee has to look after him. While loudly hammering a “QUIET, DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the door, Smee accidentally knocks Hook unconscious.

Oh yeah. He’s been to Bahia.

But Hook wakes up pretty quickly when Smee dishes that Pan has exiled Tinkerbell. Sensing an oppurtunity for actual villainy, Hook dispatches Smee to capture Tink and bring her to the ship.

Meanwhile at the camp of Those Guys, Those Guys have decided to make Peter a chief as thanks for his rescuing Tiger Lily. And that makes sense, right? It’s like after the mission to kill Bin Laden when Obama made all the members of Seal Team 6 president. We then get…What Makes the Red Man Red.

Ohhhhhhhh boy.

This is without a doubt the most racist thing I have ever seen and I’ve read the comics of Frank Millar.

The song basically proposes to answer the following questions:

  • Q. Why does he ask you “How?”
  • A. It comes from the Lakota Sioux word háu, a greeting that has since come to be transposed into media portrayals of Native American speech regardless of the tribal culture of the speaker.
  • Q. When did he first say “Ug”?
  • A. There is no reliable historical record of this word in any Native American dialect.
  • Q. What makes the Red Man red?
  • A. The “red”, in actuality a coppery brown, pigmentation of Native American people is the result of a darker skinned people passing through the Arctic on a generational migration to the lower Americas, resulting in a lighter skin tone in order to optimise Vitamin D production in a low-sunlight enviroment.

Believe it or not, those are not the answers that the song provides. It also continues the theme of everyone with two X chromosomes on this damn island being obsessed with Peter as Tiger Lily puts the moves on him, making Wendy jealous. Next thing you know her and Tinkerbell will be getting drunk in some bar and telling each other “You know what? Fuck him. Because you, sssh, sssh, sssh, let me finish, no, let me finish, you are…I love you. And if he doesn’t…see…If he doesn’t see how special you…what a wonderful person…sssh, no, no let me finish, I love you so much…”

Moving on.

Hook convinces Tinkerbell to show him where Peter’s hideout is after he offers to Shanghai Wendy for her. She makes him promise not to lay a finger on him and he agrees.

Back at the hideout the Lost Boys come home and they are still singing that damn song. Wendy convinces John and Michael that they have to go home, and sings Your Mother and Mine. The Lost Boys decide that having two adults looking after your every waking need and not living in a tree fighting for your life against pirates and Those Guys actually sounds pretty sweet. Peter is upset, but lets them leave before going to sleep. Wendy and the Lost Boys exit the hideout and are promptly snatched up by Hook’s pirates who were lying in wait for them. Hook, mindful of his vow to not lay a finger on Pan’s head, leaves a bomb in a gift box for Peter to open when he wakes up, and the pirates depart.

Back on the ship Hook offers the Lost Boys a choice, join his crew or walk the plank. Wendy tells the boys not to listen to him because Peter will save them and Hook and Smee have a good laugh at this.

They’re hugging. Fuck you, movie.

Hook explains to Wendy that he left the box with the bomb in it and a note supposedly from her telling Peter not to open it until six o’clock. We then cut to Peter reading this note aloud.

He was the only boy on the island who could neither write nor spell; not the smallest word. He was above all that sort of thing.”

JM Barrie, Peter Pan

I just…why do I bother?

Tinkerbell escapes and races to rescue Peter. She reaches him before he opens the parcel. She pulls it off him, manages to fly it, ohhhh a good five feet before it explodes. And they are now both dead. They are. They have to be, because the other characters see the explosion on the pirate ship and it is the size of the frickin’ Tsar Bomba.

Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds…

Peter picks himself out of the wreckage and exclaims “It WAS a bomb!”…

This is absurd. There is no way he could have survived that explosion, its complete bullshit.

For as well as being the bravest of the Lost Boys, and the youngest, and the greatest fighter, Peter also had the power to generate forcefields.”

JM Barrie, Peter Pan


Disney got to you too, huh Barrie?

You can’t fight them Mouse. They’re bigger than all of us.”

JM Barrie, Peter Pan

Well anyway. Peter crawls through the wreckage and finds Tinkerbell, who has the good decency to at least be dying and not insulting our intelligence.

Okay, a bit of explanation. In the book (yes, we’re back to that again) and play it’s not a bomb that Hook leaves behind, it’s poison. Tinkerbell drinks the poison to save Peter and dies. Peter then begs the children in the audience (or reading the book at home) to loudly declare that they believe in fairies and through the power of their faith they restore Tinkerbell to life. Walt decided that this simply wouldn’t work in a movie. 

Sure. If by “wouldn’t work” you mean “break your heart into a million pieces and restore your faith in the magic of cinema.”

Back at the pirate ship, Wendy still refuses to join Hook’s crew and he sentences her to walk the plank. She does, but there’s no splash. You see Peter arrived just in the nick of time to rescue her and Tinkerbell’s with him and she’s absolutely fine now because WIZARDS!





Peter flies over them and challenges Hook and the Captain remarks incredulously “It can’t be!” and no James, it can’t but FUCKING WIZARDS, WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO!!!?

Peter frees the Lost Boys and they take the fight to the pirates.

You ever dance with the Red Rooster in the pale moonlight?

Peter and Hook duel and Peter makes Hook look like a chump just like he’s made Hook like a chump throughout this entire thing. Hook calls Pan a coward and dares Peter to fight him without flying. Of course, like an idiot, Peter does. And isn’t that always so satisfying? When the only way the villain can be any threat to the hero is when the hero acts like he slipped on a flight of stairs and banged his head on every step?

Pan beats Hook, who begs tearfully for his life, then attacks Peter when his back is turned, falls into the sea and exits the movie being chased by the crocodile over the horizon, but unburdened by any excess dignity. Tinkerbell douses the ship in pixie dust and they fly back to London. Mr and Mrs Darling come home to find their children safe and sound, and they tell Wendy that she can stay in the nursery for a little while longer and doesn’t have to have a pony. The movie ends with the three of them gazing out the window as Peter’s ship returns to Neverland.

Peter Pan was a critical and box-office success at the time of its release, helping the studio regain its footing after the disappointing reception that Alice in Wonderland received. And it still has its fans today of course. But personally, I just do not like this film. Not for the racism, though that certainly doesn’t help, but because the whole thing just stinks of missed opportunity. I just get the feeling that they didn’t get Hook or Pan. Peter Pan is probably one of the very few stories where I’d recommend another movie version over the Disney version. If you want to see a faithful, beautifully realised adaptation of this book, check out the 2003 version. Better yet, just read the book and let your mind paint the pictures for you.I’m not saying you shouldn’t see this movie. I’m not even saying that it’s a bad movie on its own merits. It’s just I honestly can’t imagine Disney screwing up the character of Captain Hook worse than they did here.

Hah ha. No. This is not a real thing. If it was, I would have gone insane with rage.


Oh, right. You might be wondering about my take on the whole “Disney purchasing Star Wars” thing. Well, I’m honestly pumped. I think Disney have proven with Marvel that they can be counted on to treat other properties with respect and keep true to their spirit. I welcome anything that pries the franchise from the clumsy hindfeet of anti-artist George Lucas, and Disney have the money and the talent pool to make some really spectacular Star Wars movies. So yeah, I’m on board. After all, I love Star Wars, and I love Disney. What could go wrong?



Animation: 15/20

Better than Cinderella, not as good as Alice. Fair enough?

The Leads: 09/20

Peter is a mere shadow of his literary self, stripped of most of his mystery, innocence and that faint sinister quality that makes him such an unsettling character. Now he’s just a cocky, braying jackass. Kathryn Beaumont essentially reprises her role as Alice for Wendy but this time it doesn’t work. Alice was an active participant in her own story. Wendy mostly just flops around constantly needing Peter to save her.

The Villain: 05/20

Going to catch so much flack for this.

Supporting Characters: 15/20

There are some really good second bananas here. Michael is absolutely adorable, Nana is wonderful, the Croc is hilarious, Tink, Smee…probably the movie’s saving grace overall.

Music: 07/20

This is the first Disney movie I can remember where so many of the songs actively annoyed me.



Dogs cannot easily digest carbohydrates. If you fed a dog an entire plate of spaghetti they would suffer severe abdominal pain and would quite possibly die. Now that that scene is ruined forever for you, join me next week as the Unshaved Mouse reviews Lady and the Tramp.

Neil Sharpson AKA The Unshaved Mouse, is a playwright, comic book writer and blogger living in Dublin. You can follow him on Twitter. The blog updates every Thursday. Thanks for reading!


  1. Love ur reviews, unshavedmouse! Although I don’t agree with everything you say, you offer an enjoyable time of laughter and pure Disney loving!

    1. Hey, most of the time I don’t agree with everything I say either. Thanks for reading. I am seriously considering changing the name of the blog to “Pure Disney Loving with the Unshaved Mouse.”

      1. Lol, if u do, be sure to cite my name and encourage ppl to look at my blog 😀 ! (I’m animated film-based as well!) Thanks!

  2. It’s a little bit strange that you complain about Disney sexualizing Tinkerbell, considering that my main problem with the 2003 adaption (aside from the pirates being dumb and even more non-threatening than the Disney version, though Hook has more pull to him) is the constant sexualization of childrens character, which makes the whole thing a very uncomfortable watch.
    I see most of your points in the review, but I honestly like the direction Disney went with this book, especially that the movie put a clear line between the real world and neverland, while in the real book/play, the lines are very blurred. Since in the Disney version the real world feels real and it’s even implied that Neverland exist in children’s fantasy only, it’s easier to imagine that it really exist as if they kept strictly to the book.
    And there is a lot to love about this movie, mostly the comedic trio Hook/Smee/Crocodile. I don’t really mind making Hook less threatening, when the result is so funny – unlike in the 2003 adaption, where most of the “jokes” feel forced…that one mostly shines in the more tender scenes, where the Disney movie utterly fails.
    I’m with you, the sidecharacters make the movie…and it’s yet another one for which I very much prefer the German dubbing over the english one. And for good Peter Pan adaptions…I actually think the anime is the best one, in terms of “getting” what the book/play really is about.

    1. A very interesting point. I will start by saying that I don’t have a MAJOR problem with Tink’s sexiness in this movie. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed the panty-shot if I didn’t have to rewatch the movie over and over for the review. It’s perhaps a little inappropriate but not jarringly so (matter of personal opinion of course.) But I would argue that what the 2003 movie is doing is very different. In the animated movie Tinkerbell is sexualised to provide some mild titillation to the adult viewer. The 2003 movie does not “sexualise” its child characters in the same way. It deals with Wendy’s emerging sexuality and Pan’s lack thereof because that is the theme of the movie. Growing up, becoming aware of yourself and your body and how those relate to the world and people around you. It’s not attempting to titillate or exploit, it is simply being frank. This is what young people go through. This is how the relationship between young boys and girls change when one of them is growing up faster than the other. Obviously, its touchy subject matter but I think the movie deals with it in a mature and sensitive way.

      1. Good point, but there the lack of difference between the real and the fantasy world in the 2003 movie comes to play. I could see the awakening of sexuality as main theme of the movie (even though it’s definitly not a theme of the book or the play in my eyes, but I’m never oposed to creative interpretations), but then the whole movie should reflect this tone. Since it jumps from frankly childish humor to scenes, in which Hook is more or less ogling Wendy, the transition is quite jarring. Admittingly, it didn’t help that I read quite a bit Peter Pan fanfiction during the time, and with this movie, the number of stories with a non-consensual Hook/Wendy pairing suddenly skyrocket…it was frankly disturbing and caused me to leave this particular fandom for good. But even before, when I saw the movie in theaters, I kept thinking that they could have at least chosen a slightly older actress for Wendy….not that I hate it, it was a nice approach and the flying scenes were beautiful. But I think the characters are quite flat (though they have Peter Pan down better). That’s mostly true for the Disney version, too, but they got Tinkerbell down so perfectly (in the movie, not the awful franchise), and I also like the idea of the stressed, but at the same time underappreciated father as opposed to the boring perfect family, and there is naturally the crocodile (I guess that one is the main reason why the movie is still popular today…you can’t help but laugh about the crocodile).

  3. I’m a bit confused by your criticism regarding the deviation from the book. I think when it comes down to it, it’s more “dislike of the changes” rather than the fact that the movie changed some elements.

    1. More I think they squandered the source material. I don’t mind them loosely adapting it if they do something new and different (like the Jungle Book) but Peter is not unfaithful. It’s just not very good IMO.

  4. Even though I like this movie, I do see your points. The las time I saw the 2003 version was well…2003, and I have never read the book, so no comment on those. I think the real issue with this story is that the characters are so irritating and unlikable. Peter Pan is an arrogant douche, Tink is a bitch, and the list boys are stupid. And even the Daribgs can get annoying at times.

  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks the 2003 version was better, and I’ve never even read the book. Peter in the 1953 film is so annoying and dull, whereas the one in the later film had that sinister quality that made him much more interesting.

  6. Please don’t hate me, but I think Disney was right in the fact that the way Tinkerbell was brought back to life in the play wouldn’t work in a movie. I just didn’t like the way it was done in the 2003 version. For me, it was awkward, came out of nowhere, and was actually kind of obnoxious. Since they couldn’t really break the fourth wall in a movie like that (“everybody clap your hands if you believe in fairies!”), they just shouldn’t have tried that all, in my opinion. It was a scene I really could have done without.

  7. I have just started reading your reviews and after reading this one I have to comment and recommend a book. It’s Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth by:J.V. Hart. It’s based off of the original Peter Pan book and is a look into Jas’ life at Eton before he became a pirate. It’s Superb. I have actually never read Peter Pan, (youth these days!) but after reading your review I feel compelled to. Here’s the deal if you check out Capt. Hook AoaNY I will find the real version of Peter Pan and read it.
    -Steph 🙂

    1. Read it, I thought it was terrible. Hook was a one dimensional ,angsty youth. They gave him a cardboard love interest, and a rivalry between him and Mr. Darling which is odd and mixes the whole dream reality thing. And he bleeds pussy mustard. Nuff said.

      1. Seeing as I’m in the intended audience for the book it’s natural for me to enjoy it more. I delight in the fact that you took the time to share your thoughts about it. However I wish you had done so in a less crude way.
        Best wishes,
        Ps hiya mouse long time no review huh

  8. The Fly reference was golden! I would have done a spit take had I been drinking.

    I think this may very well be the Disney movie I hate the most. I’ve not read the book so my opinion is based off of how it stands as a film.

    The main character is vapid, the kids are bland, the story isn’t that great, and all of this goes without even mentioning the blatant racism. Racism is nothing new in Disney but it’s quite cringe-worthy in this one. I don’t think that the crows in Dumbo were too bad–they were stereotypical for sure but they were likeable and actually had a character arc. The Indians in Peter Pan served no purpose other than to be brain-dead savages.

    I’m surprised to see this movie be such a modern day success, what with the million different DVD/BluRay editions around. Even if you ignore the issues with the characters, the film itself is boring and the animation is average. Heil Tinkerbell, I suppose?

    Something I’ve been curious about, Mouse, is if the reception for certain movies has been different in Ireland than in their country of origin? It’d be interesting to see if U.S. flops were successes elsewhere.

    1. Honestly movies that do well in the States tend to do well here and the reverse is also true. Partially that’s down to cultural similarity but if a movie has already done badly in the States then the studio won’t spend money marketing it here so it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy.

  9. Wait a minute, is Watership Down a kid’s book? Isn’t it, like, super brutal and gruesome? Actually, why is this surprising me, old kids’ stories are totally graphic. Also, interesting that the original Peter Pan thought dying would be an adventure. Kind of contrasts Robin Williams’ portrayal quite a bit, I seem to remember his choosing eternal childhood being explained as being due to being, erm, deathly afraid of death. Adaptations sure can go different directions, can’t they?

    Hmm, I wonder where the rainbow bridge of Asgard is in relation to the second-to-right star… Wait, stars and rainbows can’t be simultaneously visible, can they? Well, forget I said that then.

    Ha ha, love the lampshade hanging of how unusually cruel giving one their own space is played here. Well, maybe not for me, I didn’t have the luxury of owning a canine Bruce Wayne, so having my own room when I was little meant facing whatever terrors went bump in the night with no one to protect me, so I protested at the prospect about as much as Wendy would.

    And yeah, I’ve got to say, if the writers were going to break the mould by casting a male Peter Pan, at least they could’ve cast someone prepubescent. I had enough trouble seeing Alice and Christopher Robin as little kiddies watching the movies watching it and being much littler than they were, and they actually kind of sounded like kids. As for Tinkerbell, yeah, I’m also more inclined to dislike the spinoffs for messing up a perfectly good character than to hate the original for being their source. I’d say the first mistake was making her talk, I think little bugs me more than perfectly articulate mute characters being suddenly voiced.

    Also, you think that dust does all the work in getting you airborne? Try saying that to Albert Wigg. But yeah, now that I think of it, a 40s Peter Pan could definitely have been quite the experience. Though probably not as much of an experience that SMoWE has gone through, I hasten to add. But if you think naming a movie title after a book means Disney means to draw in people who liked the book and want it adapted, it might be important to remember that this was the guy whose first instructions when pitching an adaptation of a book with the word “book” in its name, a word which makes it into the film’s title, is “Don’t read the book.”

    Your struggling to find a proper term for Those Guys was amusing. Especially because their identity kind of confuses me… Are they supposed to be native to Neverland? Are they supposed to be Native Americans who moved from America to Neverland and settled there? Did the book ever actually explain what they were? Yeah, I always found Those Guys kind of weird. And yeah, I bet Disney was never embarrassed by you, Chief, but I have a feeling you might be what with the permanent state of major flushed complexion.

    Nice Skull Island bit too. Hey, this makes me wonder if Owl ever read Peter Pan, he seemed to know about this place in Winnie the Pooh’s Grand Adventure… Wait a minute… Owl thought Christopher Robin was going to a place where one never grows up when he was first given the call to school, a place of upbringing? Wild Mass Guessing TV Tropes page here I come!

    Or maybe not, I would like to finish this comment tonight. Ha ha, that Wendy/Tinkerbell proposed conversation was quite the chuckle. Too bad nobody’s allowed in Neverland’s bar, what with everyone being underaged and all.

    Wait a minute, I thought you said you liked the third Star Wars movie the best. Why did you say you disliked Lucas now? I’m confused. Anyway, I seem to recall some Cracked photoplasty submitter trying to post the same dog fact as you did in a contest and chuckling to myself, because as with other things, you did it first and better. Also, I bet Wendy can be glad she didn’t get that pony too, can you imagine having to clean that thing’s stable? Hamsters were a drudgery enough (and also may have been one of the things that went bump in aforementioned night).

  10. For a place where there were few females (mermaids included), there were a lot of fights over Peter and a bit more jealousy and less innocence as I imagined neverland to be

  11. Everything about the Peter Pan mythos is problematic, starting with one VERY strange little man named J.M. Barrie whom I’m not at all sure if I like or not.

    Very long story behind that remark, and I’m typing this on an IPad so nunh-unh-UNH on the comprehensive details. Barrie is assumed by some to have been a homosexual pedophile who preyed on one or more of the Davies boys, but I strongly suspect those “some” jump to that conclusion because what he really was, was something much harder for most of us to understand: a true asexual whose intense but NON-sexual love for little boys was still surrounded by a pronounced aroma of general creepiness.

    On top of that, you have how Peter started out his public life as a stage character who was only played by a woman because the London theater laws didn’t allow child actors past 9:00 PM, thus confusing the hell out of people in later years, and on top of THAT you have, Peter was originally meant to be a villain/antihero, with Wendy as the principal hidden protagonist. (You alluded to this, Mouse, with your comments about sexualized Wendy vs. won’t-grow-up Pan. But that wasn’t enough of a dramatic conflict for a whole play’s worth of storyline, so Barrie and the theatrical producer put their heads together, and Captain Hook was born.

    And just to confuse our inner Neo-Freudian critics even more, JAMES Barrie made him…

    (Insert Unshaved-mouse style cameo .jpg of Sean Connery from one of the earlier Bond movies, followed by caption:)

    “Hook, James Hook… Shaken, not stirred”

    There’s much more to this literary weirdness, but IPad.

  12. P. S. In case you missed the point that I never, um, actually made: I don’t think in this case Disney Ink had much choice but to jack the mythos around a bit. I just think they did it in a completely ham-handed way.

    Then again, I’ve never read Barrie’s novel and am only familiar with the stage production starring Mary Martin, which left me almost as unimpressed as Disney’s version. So for me, it’s not a beloved classic like a certain writing by ***cough, cough*** KIPLING.

      1. I haven’t read the book, but find this movie version merely ok- I’m surprised it’s as popular as it is. I think Peter comes off as an annoying douche and don’t like any of the songs except “I Can Fly”. I also found Neverland pretty ordinary and not as memorable as say, Wonderland. Great review as always Mouse🐀

  13. I haven’t read the book (I intend to buy one in online shop) but the character that interested me is Hook. I have a question is Hook really a coward in original book? I grew up in Disney Peter Pan but when it comes to Hook’s personality I loved his 2003 version and Tim Curry’s Hook. Tim Curry’s Hook has the best personality, fearless, intimidating and ruthless yet he has his moral code to decide which one is innocent or not.
    In the book it’s said Long John Silver was afraid of him, but I doubt that in Disney version. Disney Silver would scared the shit out of Disney Hook. I can see Disney Hook would beg his life when he confronted Silver.

      1. So from your point of view if John Silver from treasure planet meet Captain Hook, is Hook the one who will afraid of him?
        I truly can’t see John Silver fear him, Disney’s Silver is much more intimidating than him.

      2. Yeah, Disney Silver is definitely win against Hook even without a fight, then can I ask what’s your ideal of Captain Hook’s character?
        As for me, I wanted Hook to be bloodthirsty, ruthless, fearless yet respectable and gentleman-type captain, well he still retains his fear of crocodile (that was his main flaw, isn’t it?) and he’s quite young (about 23 – 24, though he looks older than 30). his character is between Barrie’s Hook, Jason Isaacs’ Hook elegance and good looks and Tim Curry’s no fear of death

  14. Wow, you know how Disney tries their best to keep Song of the South as hidden as possible? In a more just world, they’d do the same with Peter Pan. But, African-Americans are an important political and economic bloc in the US, and Native Americans aren’t…because almost all of them were killed. But man, the racism in this movie is abhorrent.

  15. I just saw the 2003 version tonight on your rec – you’re right – best Peter Pan movie yet. I liked how everything was as you knew it, but different – Hook flying, scary mermaids, tons of fairies, etc. All the best!

  16. Hey! Long time reader, first time commenting. I have an explanation for the hook being on the Captain’s left hand as opposed to his right! It basically boils down to Hook being rotoscoped. Hans Conreid did Hook’s voice acting and rotoscoping, and since he wore the hook on the left hand that’s how it came across in the animation. Why they felt the need to make note of the fact the hooks is on the left in the opening scene is something we’re both lost on, however!

    I also want to thank you for inspiring me to read the book with this review! Prior to this I’d only really been exposed to the Disney version (and Hook, but that’s a different matter), and while I do still enjoy it I’m incredibly immersed in what I’ve read so far! Once I’m done with the book I plan on watching the 2003 version. I’m particularly excited to see Jason Isaacs as the Captain! I’ll probably comment on other reviews sometime in the future, probably! I look forward to what 2021 holds for the blog!

      1. A bit belated, but I’ve now seen the 2003 movie! By far the best adaption of the story I’ve seen, by far my favorite take on Pan and quite possibly the best versions of Wendy or Hook we’ve ever had.

        I don’t know if you’ve got a review of that version in the pipeline, but I wouldn’t mind seeing you do a deeper dive into that version, doubly so with its 20th anniversary coming up.

  17. Mouse, I’m getting an incoming message from Doctor Ernest Fiedelman:

    Review Every Tinkerbell Movie. Make her pay for her many, many, many, many, many, many crimes.

  18. I find it somewhat amusing that this Peter Pan review is from such a purist point of view, saying it doesn’t work as an adaptation, and yet at the end it praises the MCU even though, as an AVID Marvel fan, it’s the same exact deal (with the exception that other Peter Pan adaptations can be made, whereas Marvel is now stuck with the MCU leeching off it and never allowing anything actually comic book accurate to be made).

    This movie is fun anyway. Oh it’s not Peter Pan, but then again, most Disney adaptations don’t really resemble the original tales or most variants of them (Snow White, Hercules, Tarzan?).

    1. I think Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs is the most faithful and straight-forward of all Disney’s adaptations.

  19. Is this film a mixed bad? Yes, but pretty much any Disney movie of this era has not only gorgeous animation, bur moments of pure magic and charm. The whole “You Can Fly” scene is peak childlike wonder and awe, and one of my favorite scenes in the entire Disney canon.

    1. When I wrote “bur”, I meant “but”. I’m so annoyed at my typos.

      Anyway, do you agree with me that the “You Can Fly” scene is easily the highest point of the movie?

  20. Actually, it seems to me that Captain Hook was scary unless you were Peter Pan or that crocodile.
    Seriously, he shot a man just because he was annoyed by his song and threw another man overboard.
    And he almost made a bunch of kids walk the plank just for the evils of it.
    So he cuts it as a Disney villain to me…

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