Peter Pan & Wendy (2023)

For a studio that has a monopoly on animation, you’d think they wouldn’t be afraid of larger color palette, by now. I don’t know what it is about Disney where they think that the best approach to remake their classic films is to suck all the life out of them. The general color schemes for “Peter Pan & Wendy” are hefty shades of browns and whites that make the movie feel drab and bland. With a movie about Peter Pan and Neverland, this movie should feel colorful, bright, and exciting. Most of the time while I appreciated certain aspects of David Lowery’s production, “Peter Pan & Wendy” was a chore.

Based on J. M. Barrie’s novel “Peter & Wendy” and inspired by the 1953 Disney animated classic, “Peter Pan & Wendy” is the tale of a young girl who, defying her parents’ wishes to attend boarding school, travels with her two younger brothers to the magical Neverland. There, she meets a boy who refuses to grow up, a tiny fairy and an evil pirate captain, and they soon find themselves on a thrilling and dangerous adventure far, far away from their family and the comforts of home.

For what it’s worth David Lowery’s direction is interesting, as he manages to really add some sense of awe in a lot of Peter Pan’s personality. I especially enjoyed the scene where he chases his shadow through Wendy’s bed room. But for every one good element the movie excels in there’s so much more that holds the entire movie back. Everything from the casting to the overall story structure feel forced and dull edged, as the writers forget to insert any semblance of enthusiasm or life in the characters. It’s so rare where I tend to see a Peter Pan movie where Tinkerbell is the highlight.

Not even Julia Roberts could pull that off in “Hook.” Yara Shahidi is gorgeous and does a bang up job portraying the mischievous fairy that stands beside Peter Pan. I also quite enjoyed Elisa Wapantahk as Tiger Lily, a bold and entertaining heroine who definitely deserves her own spin off. For all intents and purposes, Jude Law is respectable as Hook, while Alexander Molony is fine as Peter Pan. He just lacks the childhood rambunctiousness and danger he’s usually known for. This makes the whole concept of Peter blend in to the background with more interesting concepts like the Lost Boys, Wendy’s brothers, etc.

Ever Gabo Anderson also tries hard in the role of Wendy but, yet again, Lowery’s direction paired with the lackluster cinematography keep “Peter Pan & Wendy” an absolute drag. When all was said and done, “Peter Pan & Wendy” is yet another unnecessary redux from Disney. I’d much rather fall back on P.J. Hogan or Spielberg’s iteration.

Now Streaming on Disney Plus.