Pluses: the main characters rethought the tragic events with the help of fantasy; beautiful scenery and costumes; music Cons: writers use well-known characters for their own purposes; There are a few dark moments in the film that parents need to know about before watching Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland / Come Away with their children.
Directed by Brenda Chapman
Cast: Angelina Jolie (Rose Littleton), David Oyelowo (Jack Littleton), Jordan A. Nash (Peter), Keira Chansa (Alice), Michael Caine (Charlie), Gugu Mbatha-Row (adult Alice Littleton), Anna Chancellor (Eleanor Morrow), Derek Jacobi (Mr. Brown), Clark Peters (Hutter), David Gyasi (Captain James), Damian O’Hare (Dr. Richards) and others.
Студии Endurance Media, Hammerstone Studios, Lakeview Entertainment
Release year 2020
The Littleton family settled in a house hidden from prying eyes – this is the place where they raise children, developing their creativity and imagination. Rose Littleton (Angelina Jolie) shrugged off the accusations of “miscegenation with a plebeian,” and Jack Littleton (David Oyelowo) is happy to work as a woodcarver, passing on his craft to his children. One day, a tragedy occurs in their family, because of which the parents are removed, and Peter and Alice have to flee to an imaginary world where everything is still fine.
It is worth noting that this is not a story from the series “what if Alice from Wonderland and Peter Pan were brother and sister,” as it is described in movie announcements. The point here is a little different: when children are faced with death and changes in the family, they continue to believe in fairy tales, associating themselves not with reality, but with magical adventures. The characters of the film recall their games, in which wooden branches became swords and arrows, and add memorable episodes from fairy tales heard from their parents to them.
Therefore, tea drinking with the White Rabbit, the appearance of the Mad Hatter, a gang of pirates and the captain of the lost boys are not exactly references to famous fairy tales. Rather, a way to rethink the grim reality in which children have to grow up. It is noteworthy that Peter and Alice make attempts to give up their fantasies, taking on the burden of a family tragedy, but ultimately both return to fiction.
Despite the fairy-tale atmosphere, the film shows some rather dark moments that parents who decide to take small children to watch should be aware of (beware, spoilers follow). The father of the protagonists has his hand cut off for an unpaid debt, and Peter’s imagination creates the evil Captain Hook, whose hand is cut off by the boy in revenge. And little Alice, to spite her mother, drinks alcoholic tincture, after which the girl decreases in stature and dreams of running away from home. Here, the creators of the picture significantly overdo it with imagery and create material that is hardly suitable for young viewers. And this despite the fact that the beginning of the tape in the manner of presenting the story is focused precisely on a young audience.
It’s strange that the film’s director Brenda Chapman agrees to such scripting decisions, given her experience in creating stories for children. Chapman was on the creative team of The Lion King, The Prince of Egypt and directed Brave. Perhaps ending her collaboration with Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, Brenda Chapman decided to create something less naive and the opposite of Disney motifs. The result turned out to be peculiar: because of Peter and Alice, the film is still associated with a fairy tale, at moments it becomes a children’s fantasy, separate scenes – a joyless life, and in the final it changes genre direction again, completely breaking away from reality.
What’s great about the movie is the elaborate sets and costumes. The house where the main characters live is decorated with colorful wallpapers, drawings, candlesticks and numerous little things reminiscent of the Victorian era. David Oyelowo’s character works in a beautiful workshop that can be seen in the garden through large glass windows. The heroine of Angelina Jolie finds small gifts for children, reminiscent of attributes from fairy tales (because of the magnificent styling, the actress herself resembles a fairy-tale character). Also complementing the visual component is the soundtrack by composer John Debney, which adds an atmosphere of adventure to the fantasy scenes.
Alas, the scenery and music can not make the plot much better. The film shows the ability of children to avoid tragedy by hiding in a fantasy world. This theme can be explored without using the well-known characters of Peter Pan and Alice, which the writers exploit for recognition and ease of perception. But it is with them that the story does not seem original, moreover, in the interpretation of the filmmakers, it becomes rather gloomy.
Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Angelina Jolie will be eye-catchers. The film itself is not a fairy tale, but a specific story about how imagination helps children survive tragic moments.