Ru-fi-o! Ru-fi-o! Ru-fi-ooooooooooo!
I’m going to start this review off with a trailer for the film, just ’cause.
Part of me has always been fascinated by Peter Pan since as long as I can remember, ever since I saw the animated Disney classic as a child. I wore the VHS out. When HOOK came around in 1991 I nearly exploded. It’s possibly the greatest movie ever made. Robin Williams was great as an adult Peter Pan, Dustin Hoffman was fantastic as Captain Hook, Julia Roberts was beautiful as Tinkerbell, and Bob Hoskins was brilliant as Smee. Oh yeah, and the score was great. It was a magical movie.
NEVERLAND attempts to grow the Peter Pan mythology ever more, much like HOOK did, but this time taking us back to show us how Hook became Hook, how Peter became the pan, and how Neverland came to be. To be short, I really enjoyed this prequel to Peter Pan.
NEVERLAND is split into two-parts, but take out the commercials and it turns out to be about a 3-hour movie. It starts off on a planet far from Earth (second to the right, and straight on ’till morning to be exact) where Tinkerbell (voiced by Kiera Knightley) and the faries live, then transports us to the early 1700′s where we see two pirate ships battling, and from there it jumps to early 1900′s London where we are introduced to Peter and his friends.
On the distant planet we see a hooded man holding up a glass orb to the sky as two meteors race towards it. Seeing this, Tinkerbell flies towards the scene to save the hooded man. When she arrives too late, the meteors hit the orb and everything disappears.
The 1700-era pirates we see are the cool kind, like in the stories we grew up with. They’re mean, ugl.. HOLY CRAP IS THAT BOB HOSKINS AS SMEE?! Yup, it most awesomely is. Bob Hoskins returns as Smee and he hasn’t skipped a beat. His captain however is not Captain Hook, it’s actually an attractive woman who goes by Captain Elizabeth Bonny, which kind of throws you off but it all works itself out. After defeating the other ship they collect their treasure, which happens to be the same glowing orb from before. She shoots it’s with her gun and the ship, along with the crew, disappear.
When we’re introduced to Peter (played by Charlie Rowe) and his gang it is 1906 in London. Peter and his friends are actually a group of orphan thieves who were all rescued by a man named Jimmy (played by Rhys Ifans) who takes care of them and organizes their heists. He seems to care for the children and it shows. During one of their heists they come across a glass orb. Guess what happens next… they strike it and they disappear – except for Peter who was not in the room when the orb was struck.
Apparently this orb has got powers, and when you strike it you’re sent to Neverland. The harder the strike, the larger the area around you is taken.
From here, Peter is on a mission to find the orb (which he does) and rescue his friends from this land full of indians, pirates, and fairies.
What happens from this point is on is a true adventure tale that brings you back to Neverland. You find out how the indians came to Neverland, how Peter got his ability to fly, how the Lost Boys came to be, and Captain Hook’s origin. Also, you find out exactly what Neverland is, which is an idea I really liked.
Charlie Rowe was great as Peter. He brings a crazy amount of charisma to the character which is rare for such a young actor. Rhys Ifans as Jimmy was great as well and he really gives the audience a treat as his character transforms himself throughout the story. Trust me, Jimmy plays a huge role in the Peter Pan universe and it’s fun to watch as it happens. Anna Friel as Captain Elizabeth Bonny is a surprisingly good addition and she turns out to be a pretty sexy pirate lady. And, well, Bob Hoskins as Smee is just as fun as you remember.
I don’t want to dwell too much on the story because I want you to experience it knowing as little about it as I did. For a SyFy production it’s got some good special effects. It’s not on par with what you’d get in the theaters, but it probably out performs its budget. To be honest, it fits in perfectly with the story it’s trying to tell. Tinkerbell can be a little frightening to look at though. I’m not joking. If you’re going to let Kiera Knightley be the voice of Tinkerbell, can you atleast use her face? And her body?
NEVERLAND is a fun adventure that brings Peter Pan back in the right way, and serves as a dood prequel to the story we all know and love. My entire family enjoyed it and it’s one of my favorite stand alone SyFy miniseries that I’ve seen. It will leave you smiling when it’s over and that’s all you can ask for. Set your DVR, gather your family and watch it. You won’t regret it.
NEVERLAND gets 4 “Bangarangs!”out of 5.