Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Glories of "Peter Pan"

                                 

Now, I would like to begin this by stating that though I absolutely love the book Peter Pan (you're about to find out just how much), I'm not really a huge fan of either of the movies.  I mean, I like them, but I'm not really crazy about either of them.  So don't expect my usual amount of fangirling over the movies, okay?;)  

Now the book - the book is another story.  In fact, this book happens to be my favorite book as of right now.  Yes.  My favorite book is a children's story written in the early 1900s.  It is an unavoidable fact that I am strange.  But y'all already knew that, so...moving on;)  

I watched the movies before I ever read the book, as is usually the case with me, but for some strange reason I like the book way better.  (That's unusual for me, since I generally like the movie better than it's inspiration.  I guess you could call me a movie purist instead of a book purist.  Absurd, I know;))  J. M. Barrie writes in a style that's just, oh, I don't know, awesome, you might say.  I'll be reading, and then all of a sudden there's this sentence or paragraph that makes me crack up unexpectedly.  I highly recommend.  There.  There was the semi-book review for today;)  

Now, on to the book/movie comparisons.  What I want to do with this is take elements from the story (such as locations and characters) and compare them with each other.  Do I like the character of Wendy better in the Disney film, or 2003 live action movie?  And so on.  Here goes!;)

Comparison #1:  Peter

Book's description:
If you or I or Wendy had been there we should have seen that [Peter] was very like Mrs. Darling's kiss.  He was a lovely boy, clad in skeleton leaves and the juices that ooze out of trees; but the most entrancing thing about him was that he had all his first teeth.

Disney's interpretation:                                            
                        

2003 interpretation:
                                                 

I'm going with the 2003 version of Peter.  Admittedly, I think he's rather old to be playing Peter Pan, but on the whole, Jeremy Sumpter's (2003, in case you didn't know) portrayal looked more like he was "clad in skeleton leaves and the juices that ooze out of trees" to me, if you catch my drift.  

It's been a long while since I watched the whole Disney movie, but I'd probably come to the conclusion that Jeremy Sumpter displayed more of the winsomeness and charming little-boyhood that Peter is supposed to possess.  Of course, the makers of the 2003 film had a slight advantage in that they had an actual living breathing person to play their hero, whereas Disney had to invent everything themselves - hair, costuming, character, etc (and privately, I don't think they did stupendously, but...I guess I've never liked the Disney version all that well).  

So, moving on...

Comparison #2:  Wendy 

Book's description:
(Actually, the book doesn't really give a dreadfully clear-cut picture of Wendy at any particular part - you get to know her over the course of the book.  That happens with the majority of the Darling family, so from now on I'll simply omit the book description if it's nonexistent;) )

Disney's interpretation:

2003 interpretation:

As a matter of fact, neither Disney's character nor Rachel Hurd-Wood quite fits the mental image I get of Wendy when I read the novel (I picture a little girl, maybe five or six, but no older than seven, with curly blond hair, and maybe a bit chubby;)).  However, Rachel's portrayal comes much closer.  Again, she's a bit too old (in my humble opinion), but she does well (hey, she's got the hair thing in her favor, at the very least).  Like I said, I haven't seen the whole Disney version in quite a while, but from the scene in the nursery when Wendy first meets Peter, I could see that this animated Wendy really was a bit obnoxious.  No wonder Peter said, "Girls talk too much"!  The girl did sort of keep rambling about completely random, silly little things, from what I remember.    

Comparison #3:  Captain James Hook

Book's description:
In the midst of them, the blackest and largest in that dark setting, reclined James Hook, or as he wrote himself, Jas. Hook, of whom it is said he was the only man that the Sea-Cook feared…In person he was cadaverous and blackavized, and his hair was dressed in long curls, which at a little distance looked like black candles, and gave a singularly threatening expression to his handsome countenance.  His eyes were of the blue of the forget-me-not, and of a profound melancholy…In manner, something of the grand signeur still clung to him, so that he even ripped you up with an air, and I have been told that he was a raconteur of repute…In dress he somewhat aped the attire associated with the name of Charles II, having heard it said in some earlier period of his career that he bore a strange resemblance to the ill-fated Stuarts; and in his mouth he had a holder of his own contrivance which enabled him to smoke two cigars at once.  But undoubtedly the grimmest part of him was his iron claw.  (OK, I know that snippet was a little longer than it perhaps should of been, but…read that.  Is that not pure gold??;)  I love J. M. Barrie's style of writing, particularly when he's writing about Hook.)

Disney's interpretation:

2003 interpretation:

Disney:  Just…no.  OK, OK, at least he's amusing.  And debonair(ish) in appearance.  But he's also comical to the point of being goofy.  Goofy!  Captain Hook goofy!  I beg to differ.  Now, as to Jason Isaacs portrayal…that was just about spot-on;)  The only thing I would like to see more of is Hook's "gentle" side (he was not wholly evil, after all.  He loved flowers and sweet music;)  Sorry.  Book quote, y'all).  So yes, I approve wholeheartedly of Jason Isaacs's  performance.  Most stupendous.  

Ok, so I was going to keep on comparing, but peoples, it was dragging out for way too long!  I don't even know how long ago I started this post.  So "it is too long.  Let me sum up."  Oh, but by the way, I prefer the Disney version of Mr. Darling.  I think he's truer to the book - seeing as how, in the book, he's actually supposed  to be a little goofy.  I do not think Mr. Barrie meant Hook to be portrayed as goofy…but we have been over this.

Ready for some of my favorite parts from the book?  Here ya go:

 ~ …These are probably roads in the island; for the Neverland is always more or less and island, with astonishing splashes of colour here and there, and coral reefs and rakish-looking craft in the offing, and savages and lonely lairs, and gnomes who are mostly tailors, and caves through which a river runs, and princes with six elder brothers, and a hut fast going to decay, and one very small old lady with a hooked nose.  It would be an easy map if that were all; but there is also first day at school, religion, fathers, the round pond, needlework, murders, hangings, verbs that take the dative, chocolate pudding day, getting into braces, say ninety-nine, three-pence for pulling out your tooth yourself, and so on; and either these are part of the island or they are another map showing through, and it is all rather confusing, especially as nothing will stand still.  Of course the Neverlands vary a good deal.  John's, for instance, had a lagoon with flamingoes flying over it at which John was shooting, while Michael, who was very small, had a flamingo with lagoons flying over it…On these magic shores children at play are for ever beaching their coracles.  We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.

~ "Brimstone and gall," thundered Hook, "what cozening is going on here!"  His face had gone black with rage, but he saw that they believed their words, and he was startled.  "Lads," he said, shaking a little, "I gave no such order."  "It is passing queer," Smee said, and they all fidgeted uncomfortably.  Hook raised his voice, but there was a quiver in it.  "Spirit that haunts this dark lagoon to-night," he cried, "dost hear me?"  Of course Peter should have kept quiet, but of course he did not.  He immediately answered in Hook's voice:  "Odds, bobs, hammer and tongs, I hear you."  In that supreme moment Hook did not blanch, even at the gills, but Smee and Starkey clung to each other in terror.  "Who are you, stranger?  Speak!"  Hook demanded.  "I am James Hook," replied the voice, "captain of the Jolly Roger."  "You are not; you are not," Hook cried hoarsely.  "Brimstone and gall," the voice retorted, "say that again, and I'll cast anchor in you."  Hook tried a more ingratiating manner.  "If you are Hook," he said almost humbly, "come tell me, who am I?"  "A codfish," replied the voice, "only a codfish."  "A codfish!"  Hook echoed blankly, and it was then, but not till then, that his proud spirit broke.  He saw his men draw back from him.  "Have we been captained all this time by a codfish?" they muttered.  "It is lowering to our pride."

And, of course, my personal favorite snippet (others need the computer, so I have to wrap this up!): 

Next moment [Peter] was standing erect on the rock again, with that smile on his face and a drum beating within him.  It was saying, "To die will be an awfully big adventure."

"Rule Britannia!" ~ Curly (one of the Lost Boys)





   

10 comments:

  1. My 9 year old has a Peter Pan book (adapted version), and absolutely loves it. I've never read any versions before. Did you know that there is a second Disney Peter Pan movie? I think it is called Return to Neverland. My girls love that movie way more than the first one, and actually watch it quite a bit. I also wanted to ask you if you watch Once Upon a Time? There is one season that revolves around Peter Pan, and their take and twists on Peter Pan is so amazing...crazy amazing. It will probably shock you! That is a good show by the way, they tend to be super creative with all the fairy tales.

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  2. You should read the original! It's surprisingly good for a children's book.

    Ah, yes, I'd heard of that but never watched it. I should check it out!

    Oh, YES, let's talk OUAT!!! That show is amazing. THE PLOT TWISTS!!! The Peter Pan season is crazy, isn't it?! I haven't watched the fourth season yet, because it doesn't come to Netflix until November, but I can't wait!

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  3. To be honest, I was not too impressed with this season that just ended, with Anna and Elsa and all that. I don't know, I think with how amazing they were with Peter Pan and everything else, I was expecting to be wowed by creativity. It was almost like they were trying to be as much like the Frozen movie as possible. There are some twists, but I think so many of the details and all that was so exact, I was a tad disappointed.
    I did LOVE the Peter Pan season! That season was so crazy! The next one (after the Anna and Elsa season) will be having Maleficent, Cruella Deville, and Ursula in it...what! I am hoping they will get back to being super creative with them!

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  4. Oh, really? That stinks. Come to think of it, I think I have heard that before...oh, well.

    Yessss:D Who is your favorite character in OUAT? I'm not entirely sure myself, but I think it's either Hook or Neal *sniffles*

    Really?! All THREE?! I'd heard rumors but I didn't know all three would be in the same season! XD

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  5. I love Regina! I think she is pretty awesome. She can be totally evil if she wants to be, but also struggles with things of the heart, constantly pulled in both directions. She sometimes cracks me up with how much she hates some people.

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    1. She was the other character I was thinking of when I thought of my favorites:D

      I feel so bad for her; she was such a tender young woman and then people just wanted to stamp it out of her. But yes, her cutting sarcasm and angst are quite amusing!:D

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  6. I know, her backstory is so sad! And poor Snow getting all the blame for it!

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    1. Yes! I love how they eventually reconcile:D

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    2. You should know that Regina being nice is never a permanent thing! You still have a whole season to watch!

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    3. Ah, that's true. And, of course, with Marian coming back at the end of the third season, there's bound to be trouble somewhere...

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