Having missed the television broadcast of the 2003 version of Peter Pan, I decided to pop in the DVD and settle down for a nice movie.
Ugh, I know it always leaves me an emotional wreck by the end, but I watched it anyway, bawling into my popcorn at the climax.
Naysayers say what they will, but The New York Times and I believe that the 2003 adaptation is magical and lyrical and oh-my-god so bittersweet. I think I feel a bit sick from all the bitter and the sweet mixing together in my stomach, but it was so good. The whole thing is lush and beautiful and one huge allegory for the pain and desire of growing up, but the one thing that makes the movie work so well for me is that is doesn’t forget that at the heart of it, it’s a love story between Peter and Wendy.
Gaaaah! Peter’s face as Hook tears at him emotionally during their aerial swordfight just kills me.
Hook: She was leaving you, Pan. Your Wendy was leaving you. Why should she stay? What have you to offer? You are incomplete. She’d rather grow up than stay with you. (gains the upper hand). Let us now take a peep into the future. What’s this I see to the fair Wendy? It’s in her nursery, the window’s shut.
Peter: I’ll open it!
Hook: I’m afraid the window’s barred.
Peter: I’ll call out her name!
Hook: She can’t hear you.
Peter: No! (growing desperate)
Hook: She can’t see you.
Peter: (in despair) Wendy!
Hook: She’s forgotten all about you.
Peter: (near tears) Stop! Please, stop it!
Hook: And what is this I see? There is another in your place. He is called…Husband.
Oh, Peter just breaks my heart. Although I’d never had a crush on him the way a lot of girls I know did (and do), Jeremy Sumpter’s Peter brings to life for me that careless thoughtlessness that is at once endearing and infuriating. My favourite exchange is when Peter’s rescued Wendy after she’s been shot down and it’s so obvious that all of his attention is focused on her he can’t remember anything else and it’s so goddamn perfect.
Peter: (gazes adoringly at Wendy with a smug smirk of triumph on his face)
Wendy: (looking around) Michael…John…my brothers!
Rachel Hurd-Wood, the girl who plays Wendy, is amazing. She delivers the most poignant (and painful) lines of the movie, and she sells them without an ounce of sentimentality. (She’s also awesome because she has Hugh Laurie as an uncle.) In the mouth of a less skilled actor, these exchanges could be maudlin and horrid, but every time she says something, there’s another stab to my heart.
Wendy: (listing emotions) Love?
Wendy: I think you have, Peter. And I daresay you’ve felt it yourself. For something… or… someone?
Peter: Never. Even the sound of it offends me.
(Wendy tries to touch his face, and he jumps away)
Peter: Why do you have to spoil everything? We have fun, don’t we? I taught you to fly and to fight. What more could there be?
Wendy: There is so much more.
Peter: What? What else is there?
Wendy: (pauses, surprised) I don’t know. I think it all becomes clearer when you grow up.
Wow, Peter is the consummate commitment-phobe.
But it’s really the Darling children’s reunion with their parents that makes me cry like a baby. I’m such a softie. And Slightly, oh Slightly! The “wise mouth” of the Lost Boys, and left without a mother at the end until Aunt Milicent sweeps him in her arms (can you tell Slightly is my favourite? I love the kid who plays him.). And then that long look between Peter and Wendy as he leaves London for Neverland and they don’t know what to say and you can see them wanting to ask the other to stay but knowing it’s useless and oh!
Excuse me while I recover.
Right, it being 32 degrees outside is not cool. It’s especially not cool when Weather.com says it feels like 21 degrees and all the freezing air is seeping in through the window by your bed. Not cool at all.