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Peter Pan & Wendy

MOVIE | Disney’s live-action adventure delivers sumptuous visuals and laudable messages

Eric Zachanowich/Disney Enterprises, Inc.

<em>Peter Pan & Wendy</em>
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➤ Rated PG
➤ Disney+
➤ S1 / V4 / L1*

Disney has delivered its share of harmful programming lately, but the new live-action Peter Pan & Wendy will delight families from start to finish with laudable messages, sumptuous visuals, and more than a fairy’s dusting of both humor and drama.

Based on J.M. Barrie’s book and the classic 1953 Peter Pan film, Peter Pan & Wendy strikes a courageous balance of original elements and modern updates. Slightly (Noah Matthews Matofsky), a Lost Boy, has Down syndrome. Tiger Lily (Alyssa Wapanatâhk) dresses in traditional Native American garments, usually a theatrical no-no today. One particular line is raising eyebrows: When Wendy (Ever Anderson) notices that some of the Lost Boys are girls, she remarks, “I guess it doesn’t really matter.” But it’s ambiguous and not necessarily trans-affirming. There’s one irreverent use of God’s name and some frightening scenes involving Captain Hook (an unrecognizable Jude Law), but no sensuality.

Overall, it’s a fun film to soak in: Craggy island peaks jut sky-high, verdant overgrowth drapes castle ruins, and hygiene-shy pirates sing mournful dirges with amusing lyrics. The themes also ring true: Heroes need help, as Peter Pan (Alexander Molony) learns, and villains are those who destroy children. The film extols mothers (but not fathers, sadly) for their tenderness and finds forgiveness to be the ultimate virtue.

The film has a deeply moving moment when Wendy walks the plank. She has dreaded adulthood, yet the “happy thoughts” that flash through her mind are not only of past family gatherings but also of her future self as an old woman. Wow! The Peter Pan story has grown up right.

* Ratings from kids-in-mind.com, with quantity of sexual (S), violent (V), and foul-language (L) content on a 0-10 scale, with 10 high

Bob Brown

Bob is a movie reviewer for WORLD. He is a World Journalism Institute graduate and works as a math professor. Bob resides with his wife, Lisa, and five kids in Bel Air, Md.



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