“To Live Would Be An Awfully Big Adventure:” Why the 2003 Rendition of Peter Pan Is My Favorite
Flashback to Christmas 2003. I was 10 years old and in 5th grade. I had been hearing about a new version of Peter Pan, which is one of my favorite Disney animated movies, coming to the big screen. The previews looked fantastic and action packed. I couldn’t wait to see it, and once it finally came out in theaters, I begged my mom to take me to see it. I loved it so much, I asked my dad to take me to see it a second time. You may be thinking to yourself, “Well Cat, you were a kid back then, of course you loved it back then! What about now? Flash forward to now. I’m 25 years old, all grown up. Do I still love this movie?
I will answer that with a resounding “YES.” I still have the original DVD my cousin bought for me as soon as I saw it on a shelf at Walmart the spring after it came to theaters. I have watched it on DVD so much that I’m surprised the disk still plays and it doesn’t have a burn ring on it. I consider this movie to be in my top 5 timeless classics list, and below I have listed the reasons why. I’m hoping that, maybe if you haven’t seen this movie yet, you will go look for it and give it a shot!
- Starting off with a very shallow reason, the kid who played Peter Pan was my first celebrity crush. I was so convinced that I was going to marry that boy. He played a very convincing role of one of my favorite Disney characters, and Jeremy Sumpter did a tremendous job bringing him and the entire Neverland universe to life. When I watch this movie, I’m constantly reminded of the sense of childlike wonder I experienced the first time I saw it.
- Wendy is a role model. All throughout the movie, Wendy was such a hardcore and capable character. She knew how to handle a broadsword, and could hold her own in battles. She refused to be the damsel in distress. And can we talk about how frightened Peter looked when she just calmly asked for his knife after sewing his shadow back into his BARE FEET? Yeah. She’s a badass.
- They cast an actual Native American actress to play Tiger Lily. Okay, look. I’m not the type to publicly shame and call for a movie’s boycott for not being inclusive. But I still appreciate the hell out of the fact that Princess Tiger Lily was played by an actual Haida descendent named Carsen Grey. The cool part about her first scene is that she actual gets to use her ancestral tongue to absolutely roast the pirates. I still love that scene.
- Peter’s character is…and kind of dark. As a kid, it went straight over my head, but as an adult I’m realizing just how… Tragic… Peter is. I mean, think about it. This is a kid who never has to grow up. That’s the dream, right? Well, as we’ve seen in any sitcom shows where the character gets whatever he/she wishes for, it comes with a curse or two. In never having to grow up, Peter is cursed with essentially being frozen in time and having to watch those he pretends not to love grow old and eventually pass on. Not to mention when Hook had him on the rock and told him he would kill him, he just smirks and says that famous quote we all know: “To die would be an awfully big adventure.” As someone who acted in high school, I love analyzing this character with all the knowledge I have. It’s such a three-dimensional character.
- The quotes are a little too real. This movie is riddled with plenty of comic relief, and some of the quotes stand out to me because I still relate to them as an adult. “Who be you to order me about and call me girlie?” “If you were me, I’d be ugly!” “Growing up is such a barbarous business, full of inconvenience… and pimples.” I mean, that last one hits a little too close to home.
- The score is fantastic. James Newton Howard knew how to compose the perfect score for this movie that people would remember for years. In particular, the scene with the dancing fairies is my all-time favorite, and I may or may not convince my future hubby to dance with me to it at our wedding.
- Jason Isaac. Need I say more?
- The digital effects were mesmerizing. The cinematographers and editors did such a great job bringing the flying scenes to life and made you think you were flying too. I watched the DVD extras and the actors went through months and months of grueling harness training to strengthen their backs and hips so the flying looked realistic. Talk about going the extra mile!
All in all, this is just hands down one of my favorite movies from my childhood. This is one of the first animated Disney movies brought to the big screen before the big rush that started a few years ago, and it was done so well. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend that you go find it on the Internet, curl up on the couch or in bed, and prepare to get emotional. Thank me later.