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Review: “Wendy” Re-imagines the Tale of Peter Pan

WendyReimagining the classics seems to be in vogue these days, so it’s no surprise to find the J. M. Barrie story “Peter Pan” get its turn in the do-over department in the recently released Searchlight Pictures film, “Wendy.”

Director Benh Zeitlin and his younger sister Eliza Zeitlin have rewritten the tale of the boy who won’t grow up from the perspective of Wendy Darling, the young girl Peter adopts as mother to his group of Lost Boys in the original story.

Set in an unspecified part of the southern U.S., this version features Wendy (Devin France) who, along with her brothers James and Douglas (played by twins Gavin and Gage Naquin), leave their ramshackle home by the railroad tracks for an adventure. They happily follow the mysterious Peter (Yashua Mack), and their journey takes them not to Never Land, but to a magical volcanic island.  There, a group of dirty yet joyful children play all day freely. Their lives are uncomplicated by restrictive rules and adults, or the fear of ever growing old.

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Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Unfortunately, even in this utopic world, things eventually turn dark, and Wendy finds herself yearning to return home to her mother and the unfinished life she left behind.

Although the story drags a bit at times, the movie itself is always beautiful to look at. Zeitlin, Oscar-nominated for his previous film “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” has captured the children’s idyllic lifestyle with gorgeous scenery of mountains and ocean shot at unusual and interesting angles. The largely unknown cast of child actors are never obnoxiously precocious and do a great job of conveying the spirit of their joyful existence.

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Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

The film, which runs about 108 minutes, earns its PG-13 rating for some mild violence and one bloody scene. In general, it’s geared more to audiences of young teens and up.

It’s available now for digital download, along with some special bonus features, including a number of deleted scenes, a “making-of” behind the scenes video, and a very cute audition reel, showing some of the young actors earning their roles.  For more details on the technical specifications and bonus material here is the original press information for this release of “Wendy”.

Take a look at the trailer for “Wendy” here:

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Deb Koma

Deb Koma is a Northern Virginia-based freelance writer and editor who has specialized in writing about all sorts of Disney things for more than 20 years.

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