A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this live-action miniseries takes the Peter Pan stories, as retold in the famous Disney animated film, as its inspiration. However, the edges here are slightly harsher -- although the violence is swashbuckling fantasy, there are moments when characters are bloodlessly stabbed or killed. There is also some mild sexuality between two of the show's villainous leads. Although the series does tend toward overexplaining some of the more mysterious elements of the classic stories, older tweens and teens who enjoy fantasy films, books, and video games will probably appreciate the alternate take on these characters.
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What's the story?
The backstory leading up to Peter Pan's great adventures is covered in NEVERLAND, a four-hour miniseries film. As the story begins, Peter is a young street urchin under the tutelage of James Hook (Rhys Ifans), a well-known thief with a soft spot for helping orphans. Meanwhile, 100 years in the past, a pirate crew sails the seven seas under the command of Captain Elizabeth Bonny (Anna Friel). These disconnected figures find themselves mystically transported to the realm known as "Neverland," where circumstances slowly drive them into the familiar roles established by the original Peter Pan stories.
Is it any good?
Neverland doesn't hold a candle to the classic interpretations of the original Peter Pan story, but that doesn't mean it fails to entertain. The big question with any prequel, though, has to be this: What's the point? If there's no good reason to learn more about the unexplored pasts of these characters and this story, then why are we even bothering?
Syfy's miniseries Neverland doesn't end up having much of a point, but the cribbed elements from other popular fantasy TV series, movies, and books are mixed together in an entertaining way, which makes the enterprise definitely watchable. It's somewhat like Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films filtered through the familiar tropes of Peter Pan. It's not as though anyone ever really wondered what was beneath the brooding brow of Captain James Hook, but if nothing else, Rhys Ifans and the writing here give us some impulse to be curious. The movie is full of decent action and a sense of familiar discovery as well-known characters (Tiger Lily, the Lost Boys, Smee) each take their stroll across the stage.
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