“NEVERLAND”–we won’t grow up

“NEVERLAND”

WE WON’T GROW UP

Amos Lassen

Peter Pan is our hero and we love movies about him. At least it seems that way. It also seems that every time we turn around there is a new project based on the story of the kid who doesn’t grow up. “Neverland” (Water Bearer Films) is yet another telling of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale but this time our characters are slackers. This film is geared to a gay audience mainly because Captain Hook is a big old queer with S/M tendencies (which is not really implicit in the film). Nevertheless, “Neverland” is a good movie and one that deserves to be seen.

The Darling Family has three children which they adopted. John (Wil Wheaton) is a 23 year old who has dropped out of everything, Michael (Marcus Reynaga) seems to be addicted to Ritalin, and Wendy (Melany Bell) is a beautiful Afro American girl who is also the baby sitter for the children. The kids are not really happy with their adopted parents and while planning an escape from hope, a surprise visitor, Peter Pan (Rick Sparks) suddenly appears looking for lost car keys. He tempts the Darling children to run away….to Neverland, an amusement park where Hook is the superintendent.  Once they agree we see that Wendy and Tinkerbell are not going to get along as Tink is jealous of pansexual Pan’s obvious attraction to the Darling girl. We then meet the Lost Boys, Tiger Lily (a drag queen) and the other characters of the original story who have been modified for this retelling. Here we learn of the gay subplot when Hook relates that the Lost Boys are riffraff and he wants to get rid of them since he is finished with using them for his own purposes,

I found this new take on the old story to be marvelous and interesting. The fact that it has been update to post modern and set in a realistic location made it appeal to me all the more. It was almost as if I was art one of the gatherings of the Radical Faeries with the eclectic cast of the film. But the fantastic story comes to a halt when we realize the dark dangers which inhabit this Neverland. Captain Hook’s determination to rid the place of the youth and beauty that he covets gives the movie s scary edge and makes the viewer wonder why youth can be so obnoxious. It is the dark side of life in Neverland that propels us to have a look at our lives and society and see that a pop culture consciousness is not the best way to live.

The cast is beautiful but not all are skilled in acting but they do give us an interesting take on a classic fairy tale. Although not explicit sexually, “Neverland” is sensual and arousing. I love the idea behind the film but I do wish that the direction would have been a bit stronger. The beautiful photography was sometimes marred by some unprofessional camera work. I really like the film but I did feel that it could have been so much better than it was. There was great potential that was only partially used. With the strange twists and turns of the movie, interest is kept up and the kinkiness of the plot provides us with a lot of fun. It is not a wonderful movie but it is a good movie—one that deserves to be seen. During my first viewing I felt that it was a bit amateurish. When I watched it a second time, I realized how much I had missed. There is a certain beauty in its perversity and that was enough for me. Sure, I have seen better but rarely have I seen a movie based on a tired story that is quite as original as “Neverland”.

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