A Little Trust, Pixie Dust, and a Heap of Bangarang
I’ve loved the Peter Pan story from a young age and honestly, it wasn’t because of the classic Disney animation. Hook is my classic and Robin Williams is my ideal Peter Pan. It’s arguably one of the best twists on a classic story. The audacity that Peter Pan would willingly leave Neverland and choose to grow up—it’s unthinkable. But matters of the heart can complicate the promise of immortality. What’s the use in having a lifetime of fun once you realize there’s something missing?
For a time, Moira fulfills that need, but then there are all these adult expectations and the very nasty details of being—gasp—a grown-up. While Peter has fallen head-over-heels into love, lawyering, and the daily grind he does the second unthinkable thing and he forgets. He forgets how to have fun, forgets how to fly, how to crow, how to fight. Peter Banning hates the very things he loved so dearly and in a sense, he’s become his former nemesis, Captain Hook. Adult Peter has become a Lost Man back on Earth.
Robin Williams’ commitment to the character, the set design, and the incredible cast brought this story to life. I wanted to be Peter, to be friends with him, I’d even settle for a lost boy, or a mermaid to be near this magic. It’s such an immersive world and I wished so badly to go to Neverland. But the key to this entire cinematic experience is Robin Williams. His transformation from cowardly lawyer to the Pan Man himself is so full of hope. The joy on his face as he’s flying, fighting, and crowing is happiness in its purest form.
There were consequences for his sudden reactivated hubris though, even the great Peter Pan cannot stop death. When Rufio falls from Captain Hook’s sword, the gravity paid to this moment is critical. It’s not just about swordplay and embarrassing the pirates anymore. We’re past that. The captain of the pirates must die. But Peter’s children beg him to walk away and this sends another important message, that revenge isn’t always the answer. Of course Captain Hook betrays this kindness, but it’s to his detriment—Captain Hook is the cause of his own demise.
I wanted Peter Pan to stay in Neverland, to spend his days as the leader of the Lost Boys. But that’s the funny thing about growing up, you realize you’d be leaving behind the biggest adventure of all.