Ah Peter Pan. I’ve a lot more fairy tale characters to go, but thus far I can safely say that I find him the most irritating little freak of them all. For once, we do have a male lead, well, sort of. He wears green tights and a feathered hat and flies around and is traditionally played by young women on stage, so you be the judge. They even coined a pop psychology syndrome after him – Peter Pan Syndrome. For men who won’t grow up. Frankly, the only way I like Peter Pan is on my sandwich.
Most people know the story of Peter Pan. He decided not to grow up and so flew off to Never-Never Land. He finds a bunch of other “lost boys” – all dressed up as various animals for some reason (I really don’t want to know) and decides that they need a mother. Next thing ya know, he’s breaking and entering the nursery of the Darling children (that’s their actual name) where he finds Wendy and her two little brothers. For some reason, Wendy is still in the nursery even though she’s like, 12 or so, though it’s hard to tell with British children. They act and sound much more grown up than your average adult in America, which is why we are so fascinated with you Brits.
He encourages them all to fly away with him to Never-Never Land, and being children, they’re like okay! But how to fly? Well, Peter doesn’t do it all on his own. That’s why he has Tinkerbell and her pixie dust. This is your mama’s Tinkerbell, guys, not your kid’s. She is not the same sweet fairy that’s in all those stupid Disney fairy movies they make now. Nope, Tink is a jealous, vicious, vindictive little harpy, and quite proud of it. She never says a word, but it’s usually easy to tell what she’s thinking.
Without consulting her, Peter shakes the crap out of her so Wendy and the others can fly. Yeah, this treatment’s gonna backfire on him pretty soon. They fly off to Neverland, meet the Lost boys, and Wendy decides to be their mom because this girl is really a 40 year old trapped in a kid’s body.
Not everything is rosy, here, though. There’s Pan’s arch enemy, Captain Hook, and his band of pirates. Oooh, Captain Hook – seriously, he is just so messed up. He’s this adult man who fights an eternal child and loses every single time. Sad. It’s hard to blame him for trying to kill Peter, though, I mean, who wouldn’t? He’s an obnoxious little twerp that flies around taunting everybody. If I were Hook, I’d be making use of that cannon.
Moving on, Tinkerbell is jealous of Wendy, and so gets the lost boys to shoot her out of the sky with a slingshot. Shoot the Wendy bird! Wendy is hit, and falls, and Tink is laughing her tiny butt off over it, until Peter finds her. He banishes her, which I think was a bit harsh. I mean, she only attempted to murder the girl, right? Pfft.
Wendy’s brothers decide to find the island’s “Indians” (I’m sorry Native Americans. We’re morons.) and get captured by their leader “Big Chief” (sigh) who thinks they have kidnapped his daughter, Tiger Lily. Oh, and according to Thing One, they apparently sing a song called “What makes the red man red”. I had blissfully forgotten that part. Oy. Anyway, they plan to burn the boys at the stake. Movie’s starting to look interesting.
Peter takes Wendy to see the mermaids. They’re so sweet too, attempting to drown Wendy and all (this makes two times she’s nearly been killed since getting to this “magical” place). The mermaids are scared off by Hook, who is the one who really kidnapped Tiger Lily. Peter frees her and gets honored by the tribe. The “best white boy” award or something.
Meanwhile, Hook captures Tinkerbell (he caught the tiny fairy, but can’t catch Peter) and tricks her into revealing Pan’s hideout. I doubt he had to do much persuading – that pixie has traitor written all over her. Hook sets a bomb for Peter and then captures the Darling children who are trying to return home with the lost boys, who Mom and Dad will just love adopting. But Peter doesn’t want to grow up, he’s a Toys R Us kid, so he stays. Tick, tick, tick – that’s the sound the alligator who swallowed Hook’s watch and hand makes but also the sound of the ticking time bomb. Come onnnn, come onnnn . . .
Tinkerbell goes and ruins it, grabbing the bomb from Peter just in time so that it explodes on her. Way to save the day after betraying everybody! The fairy somehow survives the boom at point blank range, and Peter flies off to save Wendy and the boys. Wendy is walking the plank when he arrives. This makes THREE times she’s nearly been killed, and she’s only been there like a day. No wonder no one ever grows up in Neverland.
Peter once again humiliates Hook (sad, saaaaad excuse for a pirate) and captures the ship, which he then flies back to the Darling home. Seriously, Darling is the most annoying name. They are darling children living in a darling house, and look it’s the darling cat and arghhh. Peter drops them off and flies away. Let’s hope he stays away. Lock the windows, Wendy, lock ‘em tight.
The original story was written by J.M. Barrie. I haven’t read it, so I can’t say just how similar the cartoon is to the original book, though wikipedia, source of all knowledge, points out that Disney cut out some of the darker parts. WTF? Darker than kidnapping and burning at the stake? Yikes. You’ve gotta love those lighthearted Edwardian tales, eh?
Next up, The Little Bratty Mermaid.