Tag Archive: Peter Pan


We Can Fly

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

When my daughter first told me that the school play was going to be Peter Pan, I had to stop myself from getting every copy of every version of the movie or TV special I could lay my hands on.

I managed to contain myself but was very happy when the kids performed over the weekend. Everyone did a good job, everyone looked great and sang well. Captain Hook had a great evil laugh. Perhaps instead of “Speak Like a Pirate” day in September there should be a “Laugh Like a Maniacal Evil Leader” day. Peter had that joie d’vivre and perfect petulance when he didn’t get his way. And Wendy, well what I can I say here without being an annoyingly boastful mother. But I liked her performance, too.

Peter Pan Mary Martin

Mary Martin As Peter Pan

For those of us over a certain age, we can remember when Mary Martin played the forever young man who never wanted to make the first step of growing up. What you may not know is that Mary Martin was instrumental in getting the musical version of Peter Pan created during the 1950s. She originated the musical role on Broadway and would win a Tony for her performance.

In the 1970s, Olympic Medal winning gymanst Cathy Rigby took on the role. With her hard-won athletic skills, Rigby made flying and mid-air somersaults look natural. When the play went to Broadway, Rigby was nominated for a Tony award for her performance.

Peter Pan Cathy RigbyOf course many people know the Disney animated version. A sequel came out about 10 years ago featuring Jane, the daughter of Wendy who is kidnapped by Captain Hook during WWII. And there is the version with Robin Williams as a grown up Peter Pan with Maggie Smith playing Wendy. We also have Finding Neverland which is about how the write James Barrie came up with the play. None of these movies are my favorite one about the boy who can fly.

My favorite is the live action movie from 2003. The movie stars Jeremy Sumpter as the boy who loves to torment Captain Hook. Unlike the others, this movie is gorgeously filmed. The details of the rooms, the depth of the colors, and layers of scenery brings the movie to life or perhaps larger than life.

Peter Pan IMDb com

Image from IMDb.com

But it is not only those visual aspects. I love the language, the words that are spoken. When Wendy expresses her amazement of Peter time and again she speaks of “the cleverness of you.” I am fascinated by Jason Issacs as he plays Hook who learns to fly with happy thoughts of Peter being dead. As Hook breaks down Peter, I am mesmerized by his forceful nature until he is broken down by his one sad thoughts.

Issacs is equally compelling as Mr. Darling who works in a bank to support his family in the manner to which society dictates. There are times that Darling is embarrassed time and again in front of his employer until he begins to realize what really matters in his life. It is his performances that draws me back to this version.

Live performances are better. But if you can’t get that, this makes a great second place.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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The Opening Reminiscings

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

Did you watch the opening of the Olympics in London?

 

 

Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale;” Image from IMDb.com

Oh, I did and was happily blown away by most of it. From the beginning film of Queen Elizabeth II jumping out of a military helicopter with Daniel Craig as James Bond to the lighting of the copper bowls that would rise up to become the Olympic cauldron, I was spellbound for most of it.

 

I found myself crying when I remembered that the last time the Brits hosted the Olympics, The Queen’s father had been king at the time. She was a newlywed. At some point I read how poor the country was in 1948. Then again, they were a last-minute substitute when a fire destroyed the other site.

 

This time, the Olympics are the hope of the East End of London that has seen much economic turmoil. With new buildings and all of the activity, natives to the area are hoping for an economic boom. One of those people includes David Beckham, world football/soccer star who grew up on the East End .

 

So many movies went through my head as I watched the ceremonies. Some are for adults while others can be shared with children. Of course, I thought of the James Bond movies. Sean Connery (From Russia with Love) may be the best of all the Bonds but Daniel Craig (Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace) is a close second in my book. And he is only followed by Pierce Brosnan (Die Another Day and The World is Not Enough).

 

 

Kenneth Branaugh as “Henry V;” Image from IMDb.com

Kenneth Branaugh played the part of the Industrialist who transforms England from an agrarian nation to the Industrial revolution. He delivered his lines with the enthusiasm of a Shakespearian actor. How can we forget Branaugh’s speech in Henry V as he bolsters the morale of his troops.  How can we forget his silliness as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

 

When JK Rowling took the stage and read a portion from Peter Pan, I nearly started bawling. While Peter Pan did not make an appearance, Captain Hook did as well as other villains from British children’s literature. Lord Voldemort drew himself up so tall and I remembered how much I loved the books and movie about Harry Potter.

 

But it was not Harry that drove away the evil creatures of the night. It was a nanny, Mary Poppins with her umbrella and satchel. My daughter asked about her and while I explained that Mary was a magical character I realized that we need to see this movie. Refrains of ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ suddenly went through my head.

 

During the montage of music, I was lost on some of the references but loved the moment from Trainspotting and Four Weddings and a Funeral. I sang along with so many songs, including ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’

 

 

Rowan Atkinson as “Johnny English;” Image from IMDb.com

Perhaps my most favorite moment though was with Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean playing in the orchestra. I think any movie improves just by having Atkinson in a scene or two as he was in Love Actually. I love what ever he does and would rent the wonderfully bad Johnny English. Also, catch him as The Black Adder. Priceless is his comedy.

 

What a way to open the Olympics – totally eccentric, totally British, totally wonderful.

 

 Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Do You Believe?

Family Movie Night

 

What is it with stories about fairies and goblins and dwarves that make people want to believe?

 

We want to believe these things are real, just like we want to believe in ghosts. I have heard people talk about seeing a woman and son walking down Guertin Street, dressed in Victorian clothing. I have heard tales of ghosts hanging around the town pond. Just about every church I have ever visited – in this state and others – has a story of mysterious foot steps or strange noises.

 

We want to believe.

 

Image from IMDb.com

I was thinking about this as the kids and I watched The Spiderwick Chronicles the other night. The story is about a boy who finds a special book and reads it, not knowing he is unleashing a world of destructive ogres and captivating wood sylphs. Until he proves what he knows, no human chooses to believe him.

 

Ah, belief. That special ingredient. In this movie it took a special glass or the spit of a weird creature for the human characters to see the goblins and fairies and other creatures that were all around. No one, even the mom, wanted to believe.

 

Why?

 

Partially, because it was coming from the kid who caused the most trouble in the family. The other half is that these things seem too mystical, too impossible to exist. Brownies cannot be real until it allows you to see him.

 

It was a rousing good time with non-stop action. Towards the end, my youngest became a little scared but it was a scary part, I will give him that. I know we will watch this movie again.

 

Image from IMDb.com

Another movie that asks you to believe in the unbelievable is Narnia. Seriously, through a closet you can go to another world that is always winter but never Christmas? And in this world there are fauns and talking animals and a witch able to turn any creature into a statue?

 

Perhaps the most amazing part is that four siblings ranging in age from 10 to 16 years of age are the ones who must save this land. That is how C.S. Lewis wrote the story and it is triumphantly put to screen.

 

Lastly, a movie that we truly love in this house is Peter Pan.  I do not mean the animated version by Disney but the live-action film made in 2003 that stars Jason Isaacs as both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook. Apparently, that is how it is written for the stage play and to me it is a stroke of genius.

 

Image from IMDb.com

We know the story of the boy who never grows up, who lives in Neverland, spending his days fighting pirates and hanging with a little tiny fairy. Who would not want to believe in such a thing for none of us ever truly wants to grow up and become overly serious.

 

Well, maybe some people do as there is a need for someone to run things.

 

Most of us, however, are simply trying to get through each day of going to work and paying the bills and hanging with the kids if you have any at home. Some of it is fun and some of it is drudgery. Yet Peter holds out the hope that life will not stay that way, that a clapping of hands can save a dying fairy.

 

Remember that scene in E.T. when the mom is reading Peter Pan to a young Drew Barrymore? It was magical because we believed in it whole-heartily like a five-year-old.

 

That is what makes all of these family friendly movies so perfect. For the time of the movie, we believe in that which is normally hard to believe.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.