Peter Pan (2003)

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Peter Pan (2003) Movie Poster Image
Charming live-action tale has intense peril, some violence.
  • PG
  • 2003
  • 100 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 26 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Themes of tweens on the verge of puberty, of whether it's better to grow and mature into an adult, or to remain full of child-like wonder and playfulness at the expense of never really changing and maturing. 

Positive role models & representations

Characters are for the most part, in both Neverland and the "real world," too cartoonish to be viewed as role models. 

Violence

A lot of fantasy violence, including swordfights, guns, and hitting below the belt. Pirates are killed, often comically by Captain Hook when they speak to him out of turn. There is a brief graphic image of Captain Hook's amputated arm as he puts on one of his hooks. He kills another sailor with his hook. Crocodile attacks. Demonic imagery: Mermaids might look nightmarish to younger or more sensitive kids. 

Sex

Brief nudity of two boys' bare behinds, nonsexual, the result of hanging upside down from a trap. There are a couple of sweet kisses and some references to puberty. 

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Adult characters, both in the world of adults and Neverland, drink and smoke. A pirate offers liquor and cigars to a child. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Peter Pan is a 2003 live-action version of the classic movie and book. The movie is OK for tweens who aren't frightened by brief but graphic images such as Captain Hook's amputated arm as he puts on one of his hooks, or demonic-looking mermaids. The movie has a lot of fantasy violence, including swordfights, guns, crocodile attacks, and hitting below the belt. Pirates are killed. We see boys' bare behinds. There are a couple of sweet kisses and some subtle references to puberty. Adult characters drink and smoke in both Neverland and "the real world," and a pirate offers liquor and cigars to a child. 

User Reviews

Adult Written bytheturners December 28, 2010
This is a beautifully made film that I saw for the first time a year ago, and loved so much I purchased a copy. The actors are all well suited for their roles...
Parent of a 6 and 9 year old Written byJpalisades April 9, 2008

Stunned by This Movie, Totally Enchanting

After watching this movie with my 9 year old son and 6 year old daughter we bought the original James Barrie novel, read it every night for a month and then mis...
Teen, 14 years old Written byMerlinFan August 28, 2011

Entertaining following of J. M. Barrie's Classic

This movie was cute. I don't think it compares to the cartoon, but it's still a lovely movie with much fantasy and joy. Most importantly, it's cl...
Kid, 11 years old September 1, 2015

Wow!!!!!!!!

I remember watching this movie as a 5 year old. I really liked it but when I was little I wasn't scared of movies like this ( by movies like this I mean sw...

What's the story?

This story begins with Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up, leaving Neverland on occasion so he can listen to the stories that Wendy tells her brothers, Michael and John. One night, Peter's shadow is caught in the window. When he comes back to get it, Wendy sews it on, and Peter invites them back to Neverland. There they meet up with the Lost Boys, and battle Captain Hook (Jason Isaacs). This film version focuses on the relationship between Peter and Wendy. In Neverland, Peter tells Wendy she will never have to grow up but then makes her into the mother of the Lost Boys. She assures him (and herself) that they are only playing, but she feels the pull of the adult world. She even tells Peter that Captain Hook is "a man of feeling" while he is just a boy. Feelings are taken very seriously in this film. Fairies like Tinkerbell can have only one feeling at a time. Peter cannot answer when Wendy asks him what his feelings are. And Hook has a deadly poison made up of "a mixture of malice, jealous, and disappointment."

Is it any good?

Director/screenwriter P.J. Hogan's sumptuously beautiful retelling of the classic story maintains its timeless charm. The production design is simply gorgeous, with exquisite period detail. Even state-of-the-art special effects like flying and computer graphics are consistently conceived and gratifyingly believable. The jarring notes are Peter's (unforgivably) American accent and some anachronistic-sounding music. Ludivine Sagnier does her best as Tinkerbell, but the fairy is probably best portrayed as a spot of light.

Some Pan lovers will object to some gentle tweaking of the story. But it's not so much to be politically correct or bring it up to date as it is to remove any distractions from what in today's view would be seen as sexism.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why someone might not want to grow up. What do grown-ups do to keep the best part of childhood inside themselves? Is that what Barrie was doing in writing this story?

  • How is this version of Peter Pan similar to and different from other versions? 

  • How does this version mine comedy out of violence? Why is the absurdity of, for instance, Captain Hook shooting and killing pirates who talk out of turn funny to some? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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