Movie Review: Peter Pan (1953) – The Island of Never Land and Captain Hook’s Pirates!
Posted on: June 30, 2015. Comments ( 1 )

Peter Pan is a 1953 American animated fantasy-adventure film based on the character created by Scottish novelist-playwright J. M. Barrie in his most famous work variously named Peter Pan, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up or Peter and Wendy, which he wrote as a 1904 play and a 1911 novel. The film is the 14th in the Walt Disney Animated Classics movie collection.

The film’s story is set in 1900’s London in the Darlings’ family. John, Michael and Wendy are the children of George and Mary Darling. Wendy is John and Michael’s elder sister and she narrates to them the daring adventures of Peter Pan (an imaginary character who lives in the fantasy island of Never Land) and his archrival Captain Hook who commands a ship of pirates anchored off Never Land island.

Presently, George Darling disapproves of his daughter Wendy’s telling stories to his two little sons as the constant listening to fantasy is making them “less practical” about life and slip away from it. Subsequently, George orders that Wendy be removed from John and Michael’s nursery and placed in a room of her own to “grow up”. On the last night before the siblings are separated, the Darling children are visited by Peter Pan himself. Peter comes flying to them with the help of his pixie friend Tinker Bell and returns to Never Land taking John, Michael and Wendy along with him, while George and Mary Darling are out, attending a party.

Before Peter had come for the kids, he had had a battle at Never Land with Captain Hook, his sidekick Mr. Smee and his band of pirates. Peter had cut off the Captain’s left hand and fed it to a crocodile (who, in later published comics, would be known as Tick-Tock the Croc) that had earlier swallowed an alarm clock and later his left hand (as an appetizer) and was following Captain Hook to taste the rest of him (Ha Ha!).

Before proceeding, you must be introduced the rest of the supporting characters who take the movie forward. The Lost Boys are Peter Pan’s immediate allies, each dressed as a unique animal: their names are Slightly (fox costume), Cubby (bear costume), Nibs (rabbit costume), Tootles (skunk costume) and the Twins (raccoon costumes). Tiger Lily is the daughter of the Chief of the Indian Tribe in Never Land. Just as there are pirates in Never Land, there are also mermaids.

Though Captain Hook trembles in fright thinking of the Crocodile, he plans to learn of Peter’s hideout using Tiger Lily to reveal its whereabouts. Meanwhile, jealousy brews within Tinker Bell after seeing Peter’s attention for Wendy, while she herself was feeling ignored. To bring things back to her track, she persuades the Lost Boys into believing that Peter has ordered them to shoot down a “Wendy Bird” who is actually Wendy.

However, Tink’s treachery is discovered by Peter who banishes her from Never Land. Subsequently, John, Michael and the Lost Boys go in search of the Indians in the island. Ironically, they are captured by the Indians who mistake the boys to be the ones who have kidnapped Tiger Lily, their chief’s daughter. Meanwhile, Peter and Wendy learn of Tiger Lily’s kidnap by Captain Hook and Mr. Smee to coerce her into revealing Peter’s secret lair. Peter sets Tiger Lily free and the Indian tribe honors him. On the other side, Captain Hook puts Tinker Bell’s jealously to his advantage by tricking Tink to take him to Peter’s hideout.

Towards the end of the film, John, Michael, Wendy and the Lost Boys all want to return to London. Knowing of this plan, Captain Hook captures the Darling children and the Lost Boys as they leave Never Land for London, planting a time bomb to kill Peter later. Tinker Bell comes to know of Captain Hook’s plot, foils the plan, and saves Peter by snatching the time bomb as it explodes. Subsequently, Peter rescues Tink for the rubble, confronts Hook in single combat, release the children and finally succeeds in humiliating Captain Hook who flees along with his crew, the Crocodile in hot pursuit (Ha Ha! again).

Peter Pan, John, Michael and Wendy take the pirates’ ship and get back to London using Tinker Bell’s pixie dust. Mr. and Mrs. Darling return home from the party to find Wendy sleeping at the open window instead of in her bed. Wendy awakens and excitedly retells their adventures. The parents look out the window and see what appears to be a pirate ship in the clouds. The film ends with Mr. Darling withdrawing his decision about Wendy staying in the nursery as he recognizes it from his own childhood.

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