I will probably never understand the reboot culture that Disney has created. From Mulan to The Lion King, it has managed to take beloved films and turn them into terrible remakes.
Peter Pan & Wendy is no exception. For one, the film has a PG rating while the original Peter Pan was rated G. My understanding might be skewed, but I assumed Disney was remaking these films for a new generation of children, not for millennials and Gen Z.
This remake was launched exclusively on Disney+, the brand’s streaming platform, on Friday. While critics gave it an average rating of 67 percent according to Rotten Tomatoes, audiences rated it less than 20 percent.
There were many details throughout the film that felt off. One of the biggest things that freaked me out was that Tinkerbell had no shoes. Yara Shahidi does a phenomenal job playing the character, but a lot of the time, I was too distracted by the lack of shoes. It’s such a small detail that makes the movie harder to watch.
In addition to that, the costumes of all the characters were just lacking. Rather than the vivid colors from the original, the costumes were drab. Wendy isn’t wearing her traditional light blue, and Peter and Tinkerbell aren’t quite in the same bright colors. Hook wears a British military-style coat instead of his traditional red look.
Plus, the crocodile in the film is terrifying, and not in a cute and funny way like in the original. His presence and entry into the film also highlights how Peter is the real villain of the story.
Disney tries to make light of Peter’s history with Hook, including when he cut Hook’s hand off and fed it to the crocodile and when he cast Hook out from the Lost Boys. Peter also acts like his whole group of Lost Boys, Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily have done nothing for him.
The question of morality is a deep one that shouldn’t be considered to this level in children’s movies. Honestly, all the characters in the film suck aside from Tiger Lily. She’s smart, rides a horse and is a true leader. If I didn’t already have my queer awakening in 2013, I definitely would have had it because of her.
There are more female characters in this film who are all very supportive of each other. A huge part of the plot of the original Peter Pan story is that Tinkerbell is jealous of Wendy. Removing that factor greatly impacts the film and its progression, but it’s hard for me to see this as a negative. Especially when the best scene at the end for me was when Wendy was finally able to understand Tinkerbell, which gave me goosebumps.
But there aren’t many redeeming qualities to the movie as a whole. The ending is bland, and the character development of Wendy was rushed. In just a few moments, Wendy decides that growing up is great and is ready to go to boarding school. She also quickly goes from being the child that she is to acting like a nurturing mother figure to all the lost children.
This new film may be well made visually, but it fails to capture and appreciate the magic of the original film and story.