I think I can sum up my overall feelings on the movie Peter Pan through my "favorite character" election: Captain Hook. I don't remember many comedic villains up until this point in the line-up. Willie the Giant, maybe? Gideon and Foulfellow, maybe, if you count them as villains at all? There would be many more after him, but it's watching chronologically that makes me appreciate what an fairly original concept it was at a time, to play the main bad guy of a full-length animated feature as the comic relief. It's a weird decision that Hook, being a comic nemesis himself also has a comic relief sidekick, especially since - I think, anyway - that Captain James Hook is plenty funnier than Smee. Smee's "funniness" is over-the-top and can get annoying (I realize he's supposed to be annoying for Hook to find him annoying, but his annoyingness gets annoying, you know what I mean?). It bugged me for a while through this viewing why I found the Cap'n's voice so darn familiar until I realized I was recognizing a completely different actor as another character: Dan Castellanetta as the Robot Devil from Futurama. I wouldn't be surprised if Dan drew from Hans Conried's performance for said Robot Devil.* They're both characters that should be scary and intimidating but are just so darn dandy that it's hard to take them seriously. And that alone makes C. Hook more interesting than everyone else in this movie.
So whenever the dastardly pirate was on the screen I found myself liking the movie but when he wasn't...not so much. I would rather just watch a movie about him - they could it "Hook" and - ah, never mind.
Aaaand least necessary character: It's a tie between the cute little kid whose only purpose is to say cute things while carrying a cute teddy bear (I admit to liking the confused reaction of the real bear, though) and the human form of Simon the Chipmunk. I'm sure this story could've been made without them, right?
Overall: I think I typed "Hook" up there enough to get across the point that he's really the only thing I liked about "Peter Pan."
Kevin's bit-picking: The book explains that Hook isn't his real name, which makes sense since obviously he wasn't born with his hand like that. But does that apply to this movie? Because if that's the case, it's weirdly sporting that James would allow his crew to call him that (in song, even!), considering he doesn't seem happy with or proud of the condition.
*Heck, why isn't Castellanetta doing the voice of Disney's newer Captain Hook? Have you heard Captain Hook in Jake and the Neverland Pirates?
If you can, take the time to read at least one of J.M. Barrie's books first. They are thoughtful and pleasant and ideal for pre-dream storytelling because they are open-ended enough for the little listeners to invent their own stories.
As a film, I think it's pretty straightforward. Some kids get willingly kidnapped, have an adventure, then go home having learned that family and growing up are necessary in life and even something to look forward to. As far as entertainment value I thing the movie is poorly titled. When it comes to entertainment, it's really all about everyone else around Peter Pan and not much at all to do with him. The most entertaining segments are those without the title character. The Darling parents have more depth and character than the title character. His fairy/pixie sidekick has much more personality than Pan and his nemesis not only gets more screen time but deserves it too.
And let's face it, the Crows from Dumbo are way less offensive than the "Injun tribe" in Peter Pan. I mean really, Mother-in-law jokes? Come on. HOW? Come on. UGH? Oh please, come on.
Favorite Character: Toss-up I love Captain Hook, but I also love how Evil Tinkerbell is. Jealousy is one thing, but wow, hiring a gang of underage hit men? That's low.
Least Favorite Character: Tiger Lily. No Lines. No Personality. No respect takin' the man of another woman. BAM!
Overall: Maybe I criticize a lot, but this isn't a bad movie. It's got a lot of entertainment value and some decent singalongs and a pretty decent moral that the books make much less obvious.
Craft time! Peter Pan booties for Kevin! They look an awful lot like the Cindy slippers don't they? Don't judge.