Peter Pan; Return to Neverland is the 2002 sequel to Peter Pan from 1953. Peter Pan was not a favorite of mine, heck I had only seen parts of it till now. But Peter Pan for all intended purposes is a fun little adventure movie that hints at a little bit at a lesson at the end but Return to Neverland has a stupid hammered in lesson.
Story goes that Wendy is now a mother with two children that she tells Peter Pan stories to. But then no fun War World II happens and Wendy’s eldest child, Jane, become all practical and has no time for Peter Pan stories or dreams of being the first lost girl.
On the night before Jane and he little brother, Danny, are evacuated from London, Jane gets into a fight with Wendy and Danny because she doesn’t want to leave or something. That night, Jane is kidnaped by Captain Hook thinking she is Wendy. Hook is also being stalked by an Octopus, who for some reason pops in this version.
Pan comes to save Jane and them it’s snarky practical-minded Jane vs careless Peter. He takes her to the lost boys (who are a lot more annoying in this movie) and they try to teach her to fly so she can go home. The Boys then ruin her precious notepad (not sure why she had that with her). She gets mad and says she doesn’t believe in fairies and storms off.
The disbelief starts killing Tinkerbell. Hook runs into Jane and strikes up a deal where she has to find the the treasure Pan stole and get Pan to a place so Hook can capture him and in return Hook will take her home. In the process of her plot she comes to like Peter and the gang and becomes the first lost girl. But Hook finds them and Peter is all hurt that Jane betrayed him.
Jane then saves Tinkerbell and learns to fly and saves the day. Peter Pan then takes Jane home but before he leaves he says hi to Wendy. The movie ends with Jane regaining her childhood wonder and love of Peter Pan stories and her dad coming home from the war.
This is a clunky mess. I give it that it had more of a narrative than the original but narrative is full cliche “drama” and not as much fun whimsical innocence. Jane as character is pretty insufferable.
Hook and Smee were fun in the original but not so much here. Plus half the charm of Hook and Smee was with the crocodile and bless the creators’ hearts they tried and failed to capture that with the octopus. Why does it pop? The popping is so stupid. Why is it announcing itself to its prey? It was lame.
Then you have Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and the Lost boys who are all pretty annoying too.
Another insufferable aspect of the movie are the songs. The songs suck. The first one sounds very early 2000s pop. And if you watched this movie on the heels of the original like I did, the 2000’s pop next to the 50’s style is jarring to the point of madness.
They also got super lazy and used the 1967 song, Do You Believe In Magic
for the credit song. So we have a 1940’s period film mixed with fantasy adventure with 2000 pop music and sunshine pop from the 1960s, fuck cohesion and style, this is a Disney sequel.
The juxtaposition of World War II and return to childhood whimsy is moronic. Jane is running through an Air Raid and then is berated from not wanting to hear stories about Pirates, flying boys and one sassy fairy. It just seem forced and half baked as a premise to oppose Neverland’s awesomeness with World War II.
The girl was in more danger in Neverland than she was in War Torn London. Oh well Pirates and a popping Octopus are more fun than air raids anyway. But Jane is justified in being practical in a War setting which robs the point about childhood being great.
As a sequel, Peter Pan Return to Neverland is boring. They played it very safe. They tweaked the crocodile to an octopus and didn’t touch the Indians with a 40 foot pole. If you want a better sequel to Peter Pan watch Hook at least that is a return to Neverland since Jane had never been there in the first place. I get that it a we the audience return but still. Didn’t care for this one. Not sure how it got a theatrical release.Follow thehunchblog