For generations we have grown up with the story of Peter Pan, all based on the story written by J.M. Barrie . And as the years have gone on, the magical story of the lost boys and childhood innocence has been adapted several times and changed up quite a bit. This week, a new adaptation of the story – Wendy from Searchlight Pictures and director Benh Zeitlin. While the story has a lot of familiar characters and names, it takes a departure from the story that we all know.
All children grow up. For most it just happens, like a change in the weather. But some, the wild ones, with a light in their eyes … escape – Wendy
Set in a more modern time frame, Wendy follows the story of four children who grow up in a small rail road town in the Southern US. Fighting against the hand that life has dealt them, the first of the four children disappears when he sees a child on top of the train passing while he’s outside. Witnessing this as a toddler, the idea of this freedom gets into Wendy when she is young and grows into a an unavoidable need for freedom and adventure.
Wendy is driving by the lives of the children characters and the adventure they go on when they run away with Peter (Yashua Mack). The acting skills for the kids are strong and not forced and you can feel the emotions when Wendy (Devin France). Despite their young ages, the children’s acting skills actually carry the story well and you believe in their innocence throughout the film.
Beware children, you can leave yourself behind and you wont even know it happened – Wendy
The heart of the story is the same, children who don’t want to grow up and the reckless abandon they have as they go off on a fantastic journey. But this version is peppered with some violence and cursing from the children. It does take them to a beautiful island that has two sides, one for the Lost Boys and one for the Lost Lost Boys who stopped believing and overwhelmed with the worries of adulthood. At the heart of it all is the Mother, a mythical whale type creature that helps protect the children and keep them young. While it’s an interesting take on the story, it’s an adaptation that we’re not sure was needed and at times seems even more bizarre than magical.
But one thing that Wendy does bring to the story – a different perspective depending on your age. The movie even has flashbacks and highlights the children’s mothers pain when her kids run away. This is not often the perspective of what happens back home, and the pain of the parents being shown – a more realistic look at what would happen if kids decide to run off for their own adventure. And that is one of the more relevant feelings to older viewers, or ones that may have young kids themselves. For once, you’re not on the adventure yourself as a kid, but wondering what it would feel like if your child ran off or was taken.
When you’re a child they don’t tell you everyone you love can disappear and you never get them back. Take care of your tribe – Make sure nothing happens to them – Wendy
But it’s through this different lens that also makes you feel uneasy about the movie at times. While the adventure of Wendy and her brothers with the other lost boys (which that term is only used the Lost Lost boys), is one that is different and in a new and exotic place – it makes you question the real ramifications of this adventure. As the children show their new adventure by growing up and what happens after the fact, there are a lot of unanswered questions and even the feelings of the adults as some of the children don’t actually return to their home. When the story starts to repeat for a new generation, the response of Wendy – made us more uneasy than happy.
Get Your Tickets Now:
The classic story of Peter Pan is wildly reimagined in this ragtag epic from Benh Zeitlin, director of BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. Lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, Wendy must fight to save her family, her freedom, and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up.
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