Peter Pan...AAIIEE!

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Moira
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Peter Pan...AAIIEE!

Post by Moira » Wed Mar 07, 2007 11:45 pm

I get a Gold Star on my calendar for enduring the entire film. If it hadn't been for JI, I wouldn't have. Instead, I would have ripped the thing from the DVD player and jumped up and down on the disc, yelling, "Bad! BAD!"

Barrie isn't rolling in his grave. He's clawing his way out of it in search of the screenwriters.

Is it at ALL possible in this day and age to not sexualize children under the age of 13? Can we not allow some stories of innocence before puberty? Must we rewrite all children's literature published before 2006 to add hormones? (Don't EVEN get me started about what they did to Tuck Everlasting, A Wizard of Earthsea, A Wrinkle in Time, Bridge to Teribithia...).

I don't mind revision of a book for length. But I do mind rewriting in order to tailor the book to the times. The original Wendy was not a little feminist, more's the pity. And I don't like the creation of new characters: There was no Aunt Millicent for little feminst Wendy to rebel against. What can I say: I'm a purist. Peter Pan isn't about awakening sexuality. It's about the idealization of childhood before sexuality. And y'know, maybe in this time of 12 year olds wearing panties that say Make Me Famous, it'd be nice to have stories with children characters who don't deal with that topic. What next? Pooh admits his crush on Piglet?

I wanted to murder Tink, but then I've always wanted to murder Tink. Tink is why I wear a T-shirt that says I Pull the Wings Off Fairies.

Whoever came up with the cutesy parrot with the wooden leg should be locked for a year in a cage full of screeching macaws.

It was a nice attempt to escape J.M. Barrie's stereotype, typical of his time, of "Red Indians." But what exactly was it that happened to John when Tiger Lily kissed him? Same with "Peter" (pun not intended) when Wendy kisses him? I thought Peter was the boy who never grew up? I suppose gold light shooting out of a boy is sometimes just gold light.

Again, if it wasn't for a fine cast, including of course JI, I wouldn't have struggled through. Wendy being "entranced" by Hook, his Bob Marley locks blowing in the wind, was not canon but completely understandable. If I'd been her, JI's Hook stroking my hair and calling me "my beauty" would've caused an early onset of The Hots, too. But still. This is Wendy and Hook, fer crying out loud.

I was very impressed by JI's different facial expressions and body language for Mr. Darling and James Hook. I've seen accomplished theatre actors play the two characters exactly the same, maybe in an attempt to hammer home the metaphor, but I've never liked it done that way. I loved the contrast of John Darling's timidity and Hook's assured arrogance.

The best thing on the DVD was JI's home movie.

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Hilary the Touched
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Post by Hilary the Touched » Mon Mar 12, 2007 7:35 pm

*taking a deep breath*

Well. I have to admit, Moira, that you were certainly not alone in what I interpret as your outrage at the inappropriate sexualization of characters in this story. And I agree that the scene in which Hook strokes Wendy's hair and coos to her may well have crossed a line.

But. I actually think this is one of the better movies Jason Isaacs has done, and I felt it was quite true to the ridiculous, dappy, outrageous hallucinatory original.

The thing is, as I think the director points out, the story's not really Peter Pan. One of its first appearances as a novel was titled Peter and Wendy. And it really is about a young girl leaving her childhood behind, making that conscious decision, and of struggling to come to terms with all that that portends.
The children's pilgrimage to Neverland is prompted by the threat to exile Wendy from the nursery. Why is she to go? Because prior to the story, she was only an undifferentiated Child. Children belong in the nursery. But it becomes apparent that Wendy is no longer just a Child, Wendy is a GIRL, and as such must be segregated. She's heading into young womanhood, and in this world, there is simply nothing to be done for that.
However, there is, conveniently, another world. Barrie explains that everyone has a Neverland--I don't think he satisfactorily explained how all the Darlings ended up in the same one. And in this Neverland, Wendy could safely explore alternatives.
Peter and Hook are one another's Yin and Yang; neither can exist without the other. It is Hook's role to torment Peter, thus allowing him countless opportunities to show off his cunning and general fabulousness.
You know at the beginning of the movie how Hook's ship is frozen in the ice? Neverland was frozen and Hook and all his men immobilized by Peter's absence. Peter has some level of function without Hook, but without Hook to battle, Peter would end up as just kind of a snotty kid with botanical dress sense.
In Peter, Wendy can see the kind of companion that girls who refuse adulthood are doomed to: Peter admires the stories Wendy is justifiably proud of, but only inasmuch as they serve to glorify (and thus continue the existence of) him.
Hook is everything she despises her father for lacking--impetuous, violent, imperious. But all these things that the wimpy Mr. Darling lacks, while they make Hook irresistible and sexy, also make him dangerous, especially to that personification of Youth, Peter.
The whole story occurs because Wendy is on the cusp of becoming a sexual being. Without that, she could just hang out in the nursery and be, essentially, one of the guys. Without that, she would never push Peter too far, be disappointed by him, and eventually see that relying on a relationship with someone like Peter would be ultimately inadequate and unfulfilling.

Other than that brief moment with Hook, I thought the movie portrayed things very innocently. And yeah, I thought the beams of light, if that's how you want to describe them, were just...like...a depiction of aura. I certainly didn't ascribe anything more explicit to them.
I thought the depiction of the dangling Darlings'....um...dangling Darlings was silly, but I expect that a lot of cinema-going 8-year-olds found the scene riotously funny, and the movie did have to accommodate a wide range of sensibilities.

As for Barrie, most descriptions of him indicate that he was a pretty odd person, and more than one writer has detected a touch of pedophilia in his books as well (particularly Little White Bird), so I'm not so certain he'd be especially shocked by the proceedings either.
I dunno.

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Marie
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Post by Marie » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:02 am

I would like to say that I loved both of these posts. You are both very accomplished writers with a lovely scense of humor. Getting both points of view is wonderful and as in life I agreed with much of both posts. Please keep it up both of you!!!!
Tink is why I wear a T-shirt that says I Pull the Wings Off Fairies.


umm Moira - where can I get that T-Shirt!!!! I'll join that I hate Tink club! I'd love to wear it to DisneyWorld next time I'm forced to play tour guide!

Cheers,
Marie

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Gillian
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Post by Gillian » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:06 pm

Why so much hate for the Tink? I thought her character was adorable and even downright funny at times. And it should be noted that despite the previous examples, was not subjected to a revisionists history by the scriptwriters as had Wendy's character. Even though there was opportunity I suppose, which to my mind kind of illustrates the differences between the fairy-tale and the real. Tink can never be a sexual creature. She's sort of the dragonfly trapped in amber to Wendy's burgeoning womanhood - a perfect compliment to Peter's own stunted maturity.

I do have to admit though, that like Hil and Moira, I found the scene between Wendy and Hook a little bit disconcerting, and I probably wouldn't be half surprised to know that it left some parents squirming in their seats. Although Smee offering Wendy a cigar and a glass of Muscat did much comedy wise to defray whatever overtones were there.

The parrot was a minor plot device and one I can forgive seeing how he delivered one of the funnier lines.

"Rawk! Solar eclipse!"

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Marie
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Post by Marie » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:00 am

Tink is thin and cute and she is on thousands of T-shirts this year (kind of an in icon!) so I hate her! Plus the bitch can fly - must I have any other reasons?

;-)

malfoygrandma

Pan, sex, and what else?

Post by malfoygrandma » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:59 am

aaa.gif Say, don't get so self-righteous about all that stuff! Little kids are very sexy, and very sex-conscious. I recall being quite surprised when my oldest son vowed he would marry only me at age five! He probably changed his mind later but never informed me! The reasons for our culture being so anti stuff, is strange, and is of course religious. Heck! What isn't? One must be careful what one condemns in others. It is just the forcing, the hurting, the damaging that must be condemned. If you loved someone from afar, and he came one evening weeping and upset because he is unhappy at home and what his beloved wife forbids him to desire, would you turn to him and say, "If you loved me, I would do anything, anything at all, because I trust you." Just a question.

ScienceIsPhun
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Post by ScienceIsPhun » Fri Jul 27, 2007 2:04 pm

Yea I can understand everyone's points but I guess the movie didn't bother me as much.

I *DID* catch strange bits of hints of attraction but I thought it wasn't such a big deal because little girls have harmless crushes on way older guys all the time.

And Hook was simply trying to find a way to get Peter.

I suppose the only reason I didn't mind the sexualized characters is because it reminds me of fairy tales. Fairy tales used to be dark, violent, sexual stories for adults before those victorians decided to dumb it down for kids.

The original sleeping beauty involved the rape of the princess by the prince while she was asleep and she didn't wake up until she gave birth to twins and it was the nursing of the twins that woke her up.

Little red riding hood was also pretty sexual in the original and there were numerous allegories referring to sex.

And we already know how lullabies have scary lyrics (rock a bye baby?)

So don't get mad at me for my different opinion, because I do understand your stances, but I'm just not all that offended by it.

I mostly loved Jason's portrayal of Hook and the pretty scenes in the movie.

I never DID care for the stereotype about Native americans (or natives elsewhere) and I HATE TINK.

I know I know but she annoys the heck outta me. I remember watching peter pan as a kid (the disney one) and hating Tink.

-Sip

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Gillian
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Post by Gillian » Fri Jul 27, 2007 5:29 pm

I have to agree with you Sip. Victorians were somewhat repressed and well known for their taboos, which I find in stark contrast to one of their other customs -- that of post-mortem photography. After the death of a child or loved one, it was not uncommon to dress them up, pose the body and take a photo as a keepsake. In many cases that was the only photograph ever taken of the person.

Also, the lengths with which they arranged the body would make most people cringe these days. Anything from propping them up in a stand to strapping them in a chair, after which the photographer might paint the eyes open to give them a more lifelike appearance.

Another custom of which I was unaware (and happened on by chance at the Wellington County Museum), is that of taking the deceased's hair and wrapping it around wire, which would then be arranged in very elaborate wreaths and framed in a shadow box.

You have no idea how that made my skin crawl.

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Post by ScienceIsPhun » Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:05 pm

*shudders* Whoa...Gillian! I did NOT know that! I had no idea the victorians were also into "dead body posing". Then again, it's not my place to judge the culture of that time.

Was it also the victorians who were so repressed that they could NOT refer to legs? And since they can't talk about a person's legs, or ever use the word "legs", they also couldn't talk about "table legs" or "the legs of a chair". If memory serves me right, they called legs...or was it everything below the waist, by the term "Unmentionables"

I don't remember where I learned this but this piece of info popped into my brain.

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Helen8
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Post by Helen8 » Sat Jul 28, 2007 11:03 am

taking the deceased's hair and wrapping it around wire, which would then be arranged in very elaborate wreaths and framed in a shadow box.

Gillian, every now and then, one of those pops up on Antiques Roadshow. And they fetch a pretty penny. They're pretty until you loo closely at it and it's human hair. Yechhhh!

And this is the first that I've heard about fairy tales being based on very adult stories. If that's what happened to Sleeping Beauty, I really don't want to know what happened to Cinderella at the hands of her step-mother and sisters. :shock:

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ibelong2me
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Post by ibelong2me » Sat Jul 28, 2007 12:27 pm

I remember discovering the 'true' Sleeping Beauty tale...not been able to really see it in the Disney glow since! *shakes head*

What really upset me when I was younger was reading The Little Mermaid, after having seen the Disney film, and being more than upset about that original ending! Would still make me cry am sure! lol

Peter Pan have always loved the traditional original tale, as done by Jason here. Never took to the Disney one, have only seen clips and those were enough to put me off.

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Post by ScienceIsPhun » Sat Jul 28, 2007 2:51 pm

What really upset me when I was younger was reading The Little Mermaid, after having seen the Disney film, and being more than upset about that original ending! Would still make me cry am sure! lol
Just to see if memory serves me right...In the original "The Little Mermaid" she was supposed to kill the prince and smear his blood on her feet to change back into a mermaid right? Because he was marrying another woman. But then she couldn't bring herself to do it so she turned into a bunch of sea foam and well....died....

I personally enjoy the original fairy tales a lot because they're more interesting. The original fairy tales talked about ppl's fears and they were packed with warnings about various aspects of life. I also like disney but disney is just harmless fun fluff.

I've had a hard time finding the original tale of "Little red riding hood" though. I've only read bits and pieces about it.

Anyways, I have a lot of appreciation for the original fairy tales and the current modern "dark fairy tales". It's so darn interesting!

And I loved Jason's portrayal of Hook too! If I was Wendy i WOULD have joined the pirates for him *LAUGHS*

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Hilary the Touched
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Post by Hilary the Touched » Sat Jul 28, 2007 2:53 pm

Ah.
Well, some of this I actually have a glancing acquaintance with--
Charles Perrault published his collection of eight stories, Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités: Contes de ma mère l'Oye, in 1697. Some of the stories have similarities to those collected later by the Brothers Grimm (and first published by them in 1812), leading to an entire industry of graduate theses.
Anyway, according to translations of Perrault's version of "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood" ("La belle au bois dormant"), the Prince's arrival in the castle corresponds with the end of the period of Beauty's enchantment, so she spontaneously wakens without the necessity of contact.
However, rather than concluding happily with her marriage, the story then veers off into the tale of the Prince's mother, an ogress who demands to eat first his children and then his hapless wife. She is foiled by a household retainer, and when she is discovered, she hurls herself into a nasty vat and perishes.

"Little Red Riding Hood", on the other hand, is shorter in the original: after the wolf has ingested both Red and her grandmother, it ends.
Perrault's stories came, as his title suggests, with morals--here is a translation of the moral for "Riding Hood":

"Moral: Children, especially attractive, well-bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say 'wolf,' but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all."

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Post by ScienceIsPhun » Sat Jul 28, 2007 7:16 pm

Thanks Hillary! You just reminded me of that version of sleeping beauty (the version with the mother-in-law ogress). I had completely forgotten that story.

And the story of Little red riding hood DOES serve as a pretty good warning I'd say.

Has anyone read the modernized, revised re-envisioned version of Little Red Riding hood? I've read some pretty fun ones.

There was one where a guy with the last name "wolfe" is obviously after a defenseless woman who for whatever reason (i've forgotten) let him into her apartment. He thought she was using the various ploys that mothers have taught their daughters to get rid of him (such as looking unwell, threatening to throw up etc). In the end, Mr. Wolfe gets eaten by the young lady, who turned out to be a werewolf.

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Hilary the Touched
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Post by Hilary the Touched » Sat Jul 28, 2007 9:20 pm

Heh heh :twisted:

Sorry, that was pretty twisted.

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