Making the Grades
As a child I loved the adventures of Peter Pan; the pirates, the mermaids, the belief that I could fly (if I only had some pixie dust). Now Peter Pan has returned with a new generation of animators and geared to a whole new audience.
Wendy (voiced by Kate Soucie) is grown up and living in war-torn London with her husband and children. When Edward (Roger Rees) is called into service for his country, he leaves implicit instructions with their daughter, Jane (Harriet Owen), to take care of her mother and brother. Tempered by the realities of war, it's a charge the little girl takes seriously. So much so that she no longer has time for her mother's childhood stories of the impish Peter Pan (Blayne Weaver).
But when Captain Hook (Corey Burton) and his sidekick Smee (Jeff Bennett) mistakenly kidnap the precocious little English girl (believing she is Wendy), Jane suddenly comes face to face with Peter and the Lost Boys. Far too grown up for the antics of these perpetual children, she makes plans to get back home to London until she discovers that flying is the only way out of Never Land. And to fly, she has to believe.
With the usual sailor savoir-faire, Hook hounds the elusive Pan. Even after all these years, the boy in green tights manages to outwit, out-fly and out-fight the salty old captain. There are still mermaids, pirates, and bouts of swordplay. But this time, an agitated octopus (instead of a clock-swallowing crocodile) stalks Hook, and modern sensitivities preclude a visit to the Chief and his warriors. More importantly, Jane, unlike her mother, is a miniature adult living in a child's body who organizes her life with the aid of a little brown notebook.
Racing from one scene to the next, the film preaches the need for faith, trust, and pixie dust while questioning the fate of youngsters who lose their childhood too soon. Lacking the magical charm of the prequel, this Return To Never Land seemed merely mediocre... but maybe I've just grown up.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Return To Never Land.
Would you like to go to Never Land and never have to grow up? What would be good about it? What things might you miss out on?
Like many children today, Jane seems to have lost the magic of being a child. Does our society allow children to have a childhood? What can parents do to help their own children avoid growing up too soon?