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(This one is best sung to the tune of “You Can Fly”)
Wendy and Michael and John
Like to listen, play, and fawn
Over tales of Peter Pan,
Who won’t grow into a man
But always stay a boy
With his youth as the source of his joy.
Their father can’t stand the thought
Of these silly games they’ve got.
Since she is no more a pup,
He insists his girl grow up.
But when parents go out,
Peter and Tinker Bell sneak about.
Once Peter’s shadow is caught,
Wendy starts to talk a lot.
When she mentions loving mothers,
Pan wants her for him and others
Back in Neverland
And she won’t have to grow up, as planned.
Tinker Bell’s envy is plain,
But her protests are in vain.
With some faith, and trust as well,
And some dust from Tinker Bell,
The kids are soaring high.
They can fly! They can fly! They can fly!
Soon they arrive there and—Look!
It’s the pirate Captain Hook,
Who feared throughout the isle,
But he fears a crocodile.
Hook despises Pan,
For the lad once cut off Hook’s left hand.
After a couple close calls
From falls and Hook’s cannonballs,
Wendy goes to see mermaids;
John and Michael lead parades,
But soon the boys are caught
By the Indians; happy they’re not.
Wendy and Peter behold
Hook’s next evil plan unfold:
He has nabbed the chief’s own daughter,
Placing her in rising water,
But Pan does outsmart
Hook and Smee, and the croc plays its part.
After the Lost Boys and Pan
Revel with the Indian clan,
Wendy quickly feels ignored,
But her value is restored
When she decides to sing
Of the joys that a mother can bring.
Hook uses Tinker Bell’s spite
Against Wendy to, one night,
Learn of Peter’s whereabouts
And to kidnap all his scouts,
While leaving a surprise
To ensure that his enemy dies.
Tinker Bell saves Peter Pan,
Who flies off to stop Hook’s plan.
First, he frees his captured friends,
And the company defends
Against the pirate crew;
Pan and Hook have a duel overdue.
Once Pan has bested the crook
And replaced ol’ Captain Hook,
Back to London they’ve a trip
On a flying pirate ship,
And Wendy’s parents see
Being young’s not a bad thing to be.

Walt Disney had hoped Peter Pan would be his second animated film after Snow White, but, though he had to wait about fifteen years due to legal issues and World War II, his animation and storytelling had merely improved over that time to make Peter Pan yet another children’s classic (and incidentally Michael Jackson’s favorite film). There are plenty of small details that make it timeless, from Hans Conreid’s distinctive voice as both Hook and Mr. Darling to memorable scenes like the children landing on the face of Big Ben.

Like Pinocchio, I don’t always think of Peter Pan as a musical, but its melodies are certainly distinctive. While “The Second Star to the Right” and “You Can Fly” are the most memorable, little elements of the score are instantly recognizable, including the crocodile’s tick-tocking theme to the low tune heard when the Indians are introduced. It’s true that the portrayal of the Indians in the film is outdated, stereotypical, and potentially offensive, but, for good or bad, the deep-voiced “How!” remains an enduring line from the film.

There are a number of changes from J. M. Barrie’s original stage play, such as deleting the clap-if-you-believe-in-fairies audience participation in favor of a bomb left by Hook and foiled by Tinker Bell. Still, it’s one of the best of Disney’s original lineup. Peter Pan is a nostalgic visit to Neverland that never gets old.

Best line: (Peter Pan; classic as they come) “Second star to the right and straight on till morning.”

Artistry: 5
Characters/Actors: 8
Entertainment: 8
Visual Effects: 8
Originality: 6
Watchability: 6
TOTAL: 41 out of 60

Next: #203 – The Iron Lady

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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