Peter Pan is a 2003 fantasy adventure film directed by P. J. Hogan and written by Hogan and Michael Goldenberg. The screenplay is based on the 1904 play and 1911 novel Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up by J.M. Barrie. Jason Isaacs plays the dual roles of Captain Hook and George Darling, Olivia Williams plays Mary Darling, while Jeremy Sumpter plays Peter Pan, Rachel Hurd-Wood plays Wendy Darling, and Ludivine Sagnier plays Tinker Bell. Lynn Redgrave plays a supporting role as Aunt Millicent, a new character created for the film.

Peter Pan
International theatrical release poster
Directed byP. J. Hogan
Screenplay by
Based onPeter and Wendy
by J. M. Barrie
Produced by
CinematographyDonald McAlpine
Edited by
Music byJames Newton Howard
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 18 December 2003 (2003-12-18) (Australia)
  • 24 December 2003 (2003-12-24) (United Kingdom)
  • 25 December 2003 (2003-12-25) (United States)
Running time
113 minutes[2]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Australia
Budget$130 million[3]
Box office$122 million[4]

After completing the script, Hogan and Goldenberg were given approval by Great Ormond Street Hospital, which held the rights to Barrie's story. Principal photography took place in Australia at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, Queensland from September 2002 to May 2003.

Peter Pan premiered at the Empire in Leicester Square, London on December 9, 2003, and was theatrically released by Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Revolution Studios in the United Kingdom on December 24, 2003, and in the United States on December 25, 2003. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for the performances (particularly that of Sumpter, Hurd-Wood, and Isaacs), visuals, romantic feel, and Howard's musical score. The film was a financial disappointment, grossing $122 million worldwide, against an estimated budget of $130.6 million (not including marketing costs), resulting in a $70–95 million loss.

Plot edit

In 1904 London, Wendy Darling tells her younger brothers John and Michael stories of Captain Hook and his pirates. Peter Pan overhears her from outside their nursery window. Dissatisfied with Wendy's stories, Aunt Millicent advises the Darlings to focus on her future prospects. One night, Wendy sees Peter return to the nursery to watch her sleep, but his shadow is bitten off by the family's nurse dog, Nana. At school, Wendy's teacher discovers her drawing a picture of Peter. Wendy tries stopping a disciplinary letter from reaching her father, but publicly embarrasses him when Nana chases her into the local bank.

Searching for his shadow, Peter befriends Wendy, who sews it back onto him. He invites Wendy and her brothers to Neverland so she can tell her stories to his gang of Lost Boys. Using Tinker Bell's fairy dust, the four fly to Neverland, while Nana alerts Mr. and Mrs. Darling of what has happened. In Neverland, Captain Hook and his pirate crew soon attack the children. Jealous of Peter's affection for Wendy, Tinker Bell tricks the Lost Boys into shooting the girl out of the sky, who mistake her for a bird. Fortunately, Wendy survives, saved by an acorn Peter had given her earlier. Peter banishes Tinker Bell and ends their friendship.

Wendy agrees to the Lost Boys' request to be their "mother", while Peter takes the role of their father. Meanwhile, John and Michael encounter Tiger Lily, a Native American princess, and Hook and his crew take the three to the Black Castle. Peter, Wendy, and the Lost Boys rescue them, as Hook is chased by the crocodile who has followed him for years. After a celebration at the Native American camp, Peter shows Wendy the fairies' home and the two share a romantic dance. Hook spies on the pair and convinces Tinker Bell that Peter will eventually choose to leave Neverland for Wendy. When Wendy asks Peter to express his feelings, he angrily demands she return home, refusing to believe that he can ever feel love without having to grow up. Peter then flies off, returns to the Darling nursery and unsuccessfully tries shutting the open window, determined to keep Wendy, John and Michael in Neverland.

Wendy urges her brothers to return home with her, as they are starting to forget their parents. The Lost Boys eventually decide to join them, dismaying Peter. Wendy says goodbye to Peter, leaving him a cup of medicine to drink. When Wendy leaves the hideout, she and the rest of the boys are captured by Hook's crew, who also poison Peter's medicine. However, Tinker Bell drinks it and succumbs. A distraught Peter repeatedly proclaims his belief in fairies and telepathically reaches out to everyone at Neverland and London to do the same. This revives Tinker Bell, who helps Peter rescue Wendy and free the Lost Boys. During the ensuing fight with the pirates, Hook forcefully uses Tinker Bell's dust to grant him flying abilities. During their duel, Hook taunts Peter about Wendy wanting to abandon him, and how she will eventually grow up and marry another man. Weakened, Peter falls and is incapacitated. Hook allows Wendy to say goodbye to Peter before killing him. Finally professing her love for Peter, Wendy kisses him, bringing back his happiness.

Peter defeats Hook, who is swallowed up by the crocodile. Covering the Jolly Roger in fairy dust, Peter flies Wendy and the boys back to London where they are reunited with their parents, who adopt the rest of the Lost Boys. Slightly, who got lost on the way to London and arrives at the house late, is adopted by while Mr. Darling reconciles with his children. Peter promises Wendy he will never forget her and one day he will return to visit her, before returning to Neverland with Tinker Bell. Despite never seeing Peter again, she continues telling his story to her own children, and in turn to their grandchildren and descendants.

Cast edit

The Lost Boys edit

The Pirate Crew edit

Production edit

Development edit

The film is dedicated to Dodi Al-Fayed, who was executive producer of the 1991 film Hook. Al-Fayed planned to produce a live action version of Peter Pan, and shared his ideas with Diana, Princess of Wales (who was President of Great Ormond St Hospital), who said she "could not wait to see the production once it was underway." Al-Fayed's father, Mohammed Al-Fayed, co-produced the 2003 adaptation of the tale after his son died in the car crash which also killed Diana.[5] Finding Neverland, a film about J. M. Barrie and the creation of Peter Pan, was originally scheduled to be released in 2003, but the producers of this film – who held the screen rights to the story – refused permission for that film to use scenes from the play unless its release was delayed until the following year.[citation needed]

Casting edit

Contrary to the traditional stage casting, the film featured a young boy in the title role. In July 2002, at age 13, Jeremy Sumpter was selected for the role of Peter Pan. Since the first stage production of the story, the title role has usually been played by a woman, a tradition followed in the first film adaptation. Two subsequent animated adaptations have featured a male voice actor as Peter Pan, and a Soviet live-action film adaptation for television cast a boy to play the role. This film was the first live-action theatrical release with a boy playing the part. The casting of a single actor to play both George Darling and Captain Hook follows a tradition also begun in the first staging of the play. Jason Isaacs was selected for the part.

Brie Larson and Emma Roberts auditioned for Wendy Darling.[6][7]

Filming edit

Sumpter did nearly all of his stunts for the film himself. To prepare, he says he practiced sword fighting as much as five hours a day, as well as training in gymnastics and lifting weights. Isaacs also trained for sword fighting as well. Principal photography began on 17 September 2002 and concluded on 5 May 2003, taking place entirely inside sound stages on Australia's Gold Coast, Queensland.[8][9] According to Fisher, the decision to shoot in Australia was based on the low value of the Australian dollar at that time.[9] Hogan had originally planned on filming in a variety of locations such as Tahiti, New Zealand, and London but abandoned this idea after scouting some of the locations.[10] Filming on sound stages did help "retain some of the theatricality of the original play", something which Hogan thought was important.[11]

Visual effects edit

The visual effects in the film are a mixture of practical and digital. The fairies that appear in the film are actors composited into the film with some digital enhancements. According to actor Jason Isaacs, the filmmakers were impressed with actress Ludivine Sagnier's performance and decided to abandon their plans to make Tinker Bell entirely computer-animated.[12] The film also features a large, computer-generated crocodile. Another character, an animatronic parrot, appears in some scenes on the pirate ship. A similar parrot later appeared in Peter Pan & Wendy, but in more scenes than this one. A complex harness was built to send the live-action actors rotating and gliding through the air for the flight sequences. They were then composited into the shots of London and Neverland, although they are sometimes replaced with computer-generated figures. One other aspect of bringing the story to life was the complex sword-fighting sequences, for which the actors were trained. Sumpter said that "I had to train for five months before the shoot. I had to do harness training to learn how to fly and learn how to swordfight," and that, "I got stabbed a couple of times with a sword."[13] Isaacs also mentioned he had to learn to sword fight with his left hand, since he himself is right handed; the original source material states the hook replaces the pirate's right hand. They decided to maintain the accuracy instead of changing the hand the hook is on, as it has been done in other adaptations. Hogan says that the flying scenes were very difficult to accomplish, but that, "it was tougher on the kids than it was for me. They were up there on the harness 12' off the ground, having to make it look like flying is easy and fun."[14] Sumpter grew several inches over the course of the film's production, requiring staging tricks to retain Hook's height advantage over Peter in face-to-face scenes late in the process. Hollywood-based producer Lucy Fisher also said that, "The window he flies out of had to be enlarged twice."[12]

Release edit

This film was released in theatres on 18 December 2003 in Australia, on 24 December 2003 in the United Kingdom and on 25 December 2003 in the United States. The film was distributed by Universal Pictures in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, and by Columbia Pictures in the rest of the world.

Marketing edit

For the promotion of the film, the original novel of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie was re-released displaying the film's promotional material. A video game based on the film titled Peter Pan: The Motion Picture Event was released for Game Boy Advance on 4 November 2003, developed by Saffire and published by Atari Interactive, receiving mixed reviews from critics.

Reception edit

Critical response edit

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 77% based on 145 reviews and an average rating of 6.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Solid if far from definitive, this version of Peter Pan is visually impressive, psychologically complex and faithful to its original source."[15] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[16] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[17]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three and a half out of four stars.[18] MovieGuide has also favourably reviewed the film, calling it "a wonderfully crafted, morally uplifting movie that intentionally emphasizes the fantasy elements of the story both in dialogue and design of the film."[19]

Box office edit

Peter Pan earned $48,462,608 at the box office in the United States and another $73.5 million outside the US, which brings the worldwide total to nearly $122 million.[4] The film's failure was partly due to its competition with the highly anticipated epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King released the week before, and the family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen, which opened on the same day.

Accolades edit

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films edit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2003 Jeremy Sumpter Best Performance by a Younger Actor Won
Best Fantasy Film Nominated
Rachel Hurd-Wood Best Performance by a Younger Actor Nominated
Janet Patterson Best Costumes Nominated

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards edit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2003 Peter Pan Best Family Film – Live Action Nominated

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards edit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2003 Rachel Hurd-Wood Best Youth in Film Nominated

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards edit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2003 Peter Pan Best Live Action Family Film Nominated
Jeremy Sumpter Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role – Male Nominated

Visual Effects Society Awards edit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2003 Yusei Uesugi

Giles Hancock

Outstanding Matte Painting in a Motion Picture Nominated
Ludivine Sagnier Outstanding Performance by a Male or Female Actor in an Effects Film Nominated

Young Artist Awards edit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2004 Jeremy Sumpter Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor Won
Peter Pan Best Family Feature Film – Drama Won
Rachel Hurd-Wood Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Nominated
Harry Newell Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actor Nominated
Carsen Gray Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actress Nominated

References edit

  1. ^ "Peter Pan (2003): Full Production Credits". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Peter Pan (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 9 December 2003. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  3. ^ "'Gigli's' Real Price Tag – Or, How Studios Lie About Budgets". The Wrap. 2 September 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Peter Pan (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  5. ^ "Dodi Al-Fayed – Peter Pan". Archived from the original on 20 June 2011. The first step was for Dodi to negotiate an extension of the rights granted by the hospital to his father. He was in the process of doing that when he was killed.
  6. ^ "Brie Larson: AUDITION STORYTIME! (pt. 2)". YouTube. 3 September 2020. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  7. ^ "Emma Roberts on How Her Aunt Julia Inspired Her Career". 16 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Peter Pan goes to Queensland". The Age. 27 June 2002. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  9. ^ a b Mitchell, Peter (23 December 2003). "Dark days loom for Aussie film industry". The Age. Australia: The Age Company Ltd. Retrieved 11 September 2008.
  10. ^ Whipp, Glenn (29 December 2003). "Latest 'Pan' film lets boys be boys, preserves spirit of classic". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on 13 May 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
  11. ^ Ramshaw, Mark. "Peter Pan: Hook, Line and Tinker". VFXWorld. AWN, Inc. Retrieved 15 January 2004.
  12. ^ a b Wloszczyna, Susan (7 August 2003). "A Mature Peter Pan". USA Today. Retrieved 10 September 2008.
  13. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Interview with 'Peter Pan' Star, Jeremy Sumpter". Archived from the original on 29 September 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
  14. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Director PJ Hogan Discovers Neverland With 'Peter Pan'". Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
  15. ^ "Peter Pan (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Peter Pan Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Home". CinemaScore. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  18. ^ Ebert, Roger (24 December 2003). "Peter Pan Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  19. ^ "PETER PAN | Movieguide | Movie Reviews for Christians". Movieguide | The Family & Christian Guide to Movie Reviews. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2017.

External links edit