Film Review – Peter Pan & Wendy (2023)

Title – Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) 

Director – David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

Cast – Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson, Jude Law, Jim Gaffigan

Plot – Whisked off to Neverland by Peter Pan (Molony), Wendy Darling (Anderson) must navigate a new world that is threatened by the nefarious pirate Captain Hook (Law) whose long lasting feud with Peter threatens too turn deadly. 

“For to die, would be an awfully big adventure”

Review by Eddie on 08/05/2023

Back in 2016 indie golden boy David Lowery was responsible for delivering Disney and its fanbase one of its best and most effective live action remakes/re-imaginings in the form of Pete’s Dragon, with those results hoped for when it was announced that Lowery would be returning to the mouse house production line with his version of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale of the boy who refused to grow up, Peter Pan. 

Now titled Peter Pan & Wendy to better represent a story far more centered around Ever Anderson’s Wendy Darling (daughter of Paul W.S Anderson and Milla Jovovich) than Alexander Molony’s charmless Peter Pan, sadly for Lowery and all concerned this direct to streaming feature that recently premiered to little fanfare or general care factor is a po-faced adventure that lacks the whimsy, magic and heart that has made Barrie’s tale one that has lasted generations. 

Told successfully on screen multiple times now in the form of Disney’s own original animated classic, Steven Spielberg’s misunderstood at the time but much appreciated later on Hook and even the little spoken about but rather good 2003 Peter Pan, it’s not as though audience’s have exactly been bereft of big screen iterations of Barrie’s creation and while one can appreciate how Lowery and his co-screenwriter Toby Halbrooks have tried to give their version of Peter Pan a fresh spin (Wendy’s prominence, more backstory on James Hook and The Lost Boys being far from a boys only club, inclusive in all instances), it doesn’t excuse this big-budgeted misfire from being such a forgettable and dull ride. 

Sometimes showcasing the skill and energy that Lowery has produced with his best features over the past decade, an opening shot through the Darling household or a Pirates of the Caribbean like crocodile attack scene a few rare highlights, most of Peter Pan & Wendy is devoid of spark with Molony’s boorish Pan and a curiously unmagical Neverland (green being the word of the day here) glaring issues for the film that were in hindsight impossible to overcome, even if Anderson and the long-haired and gruff looking Jude Law as Hook try to instil the film with some type of charisma that is otherwise nowhere to be found. 

It’s hard to imagine exactly what Lowery and Disney were wanting from this curiously dumped feature (the move from cinema release to Disney+ exclusive suggests Disney were tuned into the fact their latest enterprise was a dud) as it doesn’t appear to be aimed at children that originally would’ve been prime targets for such a film, while those older or far into adulthood also don’t appear to be viable audience members for a film that shuns its majestic and fanciful settings/ideas for a wannabe coming of age drama that does its title character and locales a great disservice. 

Final Say – 

Another live action Disney remake that fails to fly, director David Lowery is unable to make lightning strike twice with Peter Pan & Wendy an instantly forgettable and curiously heartless tale that clearly thought it was anything but. 

2 flying pirate ships out of 5  

4 responses to “Film Review – Peter Pan & Wendy (2023)

  1. Good review. Have to agree with you about this movie. There was definitely potential that the film had, especially with Lowery at the helm and presenting his visual style of directing. However, the movie itself is rather mundane, which is strange for an adaptation of Peter Pan. There really not much fun or magic.

    • I really like a lot of Lowery’s work, this one was a real let down. The lack of magic/whimsy is the big flaw for me here, this story should never feel this devoid of spark.

  2. I haven’t really bothered to watch many of these live-action remakes of animated features since Cinderella (which I couldn’t finish either).
    Was wondering if I should give this a try, but I do love PJ Hogan’s adaptation a few years back.
    Funny that I don’t mind watching numerous remakes of Shakesperean adaptations tho…

    • I am a big fan of the PJ Hogan film, I think overall its super underrated. I don’t think many of these live action Disney remakes have been worth the time, hopefully The Little Mermaid is better!

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