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This charming J.M. Barrie adaptation is a cut above most of Disney’s live-action remakes thanks to impeccable casting, old-school filmmaking and smart modern additions that enhance the tale.

I've never been happy to see Disney pillage its animated back catalogue for modern remakes, but David Lowery's superb 2016 adaptation of Pete's Dragon proved good movies can be mined from this approach. With Peter Pan & Wendy the director doesn't quite scale the same heights, but he delivers once again a great mix of fun, action and heart.

This adaptation keeps a fair amount of Barrie's original Peter Pan story intact, but purposely gives Wendy a bigger, empowering role, while also adding diversity to the cast, most notably in an accurate portrayal of native American Tiger Lily and the addition of a black Tinkerbell.

These changes will by some be chalked up as 'woke gone mad', but they actually add depth and authenticity to a story that in past live-action versions has fallen short so often. Peter Pan & Wendy is also blessed with a pitch-perfect Peter Pan in Alexander Molony, who brings alive the boy who won't grow up with genuine affection and wonder.

Curiously, for a film that includes Wendy in the title, her part is the weakest link of the picture. The female empowerment as been done to death by now in movies and it falls mostly flat in Peter Pan & Wendy as well.

But that's just a minor quibble in a film that moves at a brisk pace, uses visual effects smartly and seamlessly, and includes Jude Law having oodles of fun with the role of Captain Hook.

release: 2023

director: David Lowery

starring: Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson, Jude Law, Yara Shahidi


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