Second Star to the Right and Straight on Til Morning
Quote from Peter Pan by James M. Barrie
I have a very deep love in my heart for Peter Pan. The entire story has fascinated me since I was a child thinking of the boy who never grew up. As a child I wanted to be like him, and as an adult some days I get lost in my own Never Neverland that resides inside my mind. With that said, I’m sure you are wondering what this post is really about. Well, as much as I adore Peter Pan, movie adaptations and abridged novels of the popular book have been the bane of my existence for awhile. The original has, and always will be, perfect in my mind. That is probably why when I bought the book for my young nephew last year I scanned the pages for Tinkerbell calling Wendy an ass. I knew if that one part wasn’t in the book, the story would deviate off into some Disney watered down short story.
Speaking of Disney, that is where my hate for movie adaptations for this book began as a child. My mom had let me read the book on my own before I actually saw the popular Disney classic. So I knew what was actually correct to the tale when I finally watched the movie. To my horror I remember seeing lovely mermaids, a naughty fairy named Tink, and a silly rendition of Captain Hook that made me want to cry. Yes, I really hated the movie that much.
So for years I refused to watch anything related to the book that had been turned into a miniseries or movie. The only exception being Hook with Robin Williams just because it wasn’t a replica of the old tale. That and I loved Rufio and his crazy, cool Mohawk.
Anyway, I did finally find what I still consider to be the holy grail of Peter Pan movies and that was the aptly named film, Peter Pan. Made in 2003 by Universal Pictures, it had the little green house for Wendy, murderous sirens, a vengeful fairy out for blood, and a Captain Hook I could be legitimately scared of. It was brilliantly done and I would say that no other movie could come close to it. It stuck so close to the original manuscript and made me want to dust off my own copy of the novel, in order to take it for a spin again.
So when I found out that another movie was coming out soon, a shiver went up my spine. After all the bad renditions from before, I knew the chances of this one being good again were slim to none. So I did some research and found my fears to be warranted. To show you what I mean, here are a few facts from the movie so far:
1) Captain Blackbeard is in it although he’s nowhere in the original book. But I guess an extra character was needed to bring in Hugh Jackman somehow. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mr. Jackman as an actor. But Blackbeard does not belong in a Peter Pan movie.
2) We have a white girl playing Tiger Lily. I’m sure there are lots of Native American actresses out there looking for a role. So why they didn’t find one is beyond me. But that’s Hollywood for ya.
3) Tiger Lily and Peter Pan’s age gap makes no sense. Peter Pan was a young boy in the novel and Tiger Lily was a young girl. Even Disney got this part right. So why they decided a 28 year old should play her makes no sense. Especially since Tiger Lily has a crush on Peter.
All in all, I think this movie could either be a complete failure or a good movie for those who either don’t care, or don’t know, anything about the original book. Will I go see it? Probably not, as I can’t stomach watching such a classic be ripped apart and pieced back together to make it “marketable.” But I’ll be sure to keep my eyes out on the reviews that will surely follow.
With this said, I would like to know if you have any book to film adaptations you personally hate? If so, what are they and why?