Parents' Guide to

Peter Pan Live!

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Some mildly scary stuff, confusion in OK stage show.

Movie NR 2014 132 minutes
Peter Pan Live! Poster Image

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With eye-popping sets, gorgeous songs, and zesty acting, Peter Pan Live! is a worthy version of a well-worn story. Allison Williams has an unexpectedly beautiful voice, and she makes for an impudent, lively Peter, while Louderman radiates youth and wide-eyed innocence as Wendy. Walken is a laid-back Hook and surprisingly loose-limbed dancer; anytime he's on-screen, you're having fun watching him. The downside of Peter Pan Live! is that a filmed stage production offers all the limitations of theater (small sets, no CGI) without the things that make live theater electric -- namely, talented human beings dancing and singing only a few hundred feet from where you sit. Children may complain that stage makeup makes actors look "funny" and that they can see the wires that make Pan and company "fly."

However, for Pan fanatics and Barrie completists, this is a perfectly fine take on an old tale, and many of its songs (a few new ones plus most of the Broadway libretto you've heard before: "I Won't Grow Up") are spine-tinglingly beautiful. Thankfully, the more racist aspects found in some Pan productions have been left behind -- no "Ugg-a-Wug." Yet various aspects of this production likely will confuse many young viewers: Why is a girl pretending to be a boy and talking about kissing another girl while simultaneously asking to be her son? Why are all the Lost Boys so old? Parents will have to make some explanations and watch for the scary moments, such as: when Hook talks gleefully about killing Peter, when Wendy is shot by an arrow, when Tinker Bell dies, and, most particularly, whenever the neon-blue crocodile slithers across the stage in a terrifyingly effective creature suit.

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