Written by Emma White.
We all know of a story about a boy who never wanted to grow up, but director Joe Wright’s take on this beautifully-screened production was one never seen before. We’ve been bombarded with Peter Pan stories throughout the years such as Steven Spielberg’s Hook, P.J Hogan’s Peter Pan, and Marc Forster’s Finding Neverland, but none show the same inspiring interpretation as this prequel.
Opening scenes show a devastated London in the Blitz with poor young baby Peter left on the doorstep of an orphanage. From then on he is in the care of Kathy Burke’s Mother Barnabas, a loathsome woman who does not care for children at all.
Levi Miller plays the role of Peter. He’s smart and mischievous, you instantly start to love him and when orphans start going missing from their beds every morning, he knows something isn’t right. We soon find out that Mother Barnabas is selling them to a crew of Neverland pirates who need cheap labour for their mining operation. Every night the pirates come down in their flying ship and snatch the boys up.
You soon fall in love with the relationship between Peter and his best friend Nibs, played by Lewis MacDougall. The brotherly love is endearing to watch. Sadly, Nibs is left behind in the ghastly orphanage when Peter is taken away on board the ship. Second to the right and straight on till morning.
It’s then we meet the fearsome Blackbeard, played by Hugh Jackman. He’s almost unrecognisable and completely over the top theatrical. Introduced as the pirate that all pirates fear, he’s dark and totally barbaric. Joe Wright’s creation is simply unique with all the pirates being eccentric in the way they dress and act – all individually charismatic.
Blackbeard has thousands of pirates working for him in the search for life-sustaining fairy dust, or ‘pixum’, in the Neverland mines. Inevitably, young Peter learns of a prophesy that he is destined to lead a revolt against Blackbeard and free the children using the ability to fly.
What’s most interesting is the friend he picks up along the way; James Hook himself played by Garrett Hedlund. For the first time we see a completely different side to the famous Captain Hook. A man with feelings and an all-round nice guy, with a comical cocky attitude and all his hands intact. We all know how that ends.
Neverland’s Piccaninny tribe, led by Princess Tiger Lily, (Rooney Mara) has definitely shown the most revamp from the books and films. The amount of detail and beauty is incredible and inspiring to look at. The tribe’s tents and clothing, the multi-coloured dust they disappear in all show deep imagination which has been pulled off so well. Rooney Mara is utterly outstanding, with a stunningly over the top hippy styling to a beautifully played princess who shows great compassion and cares for everyone but herself. This film is one to see and truly shows inside a child’s imagination.