Review: Neverland, Part 1
It seems that neither Earth nor Oa are the center of the universe. No, in this very cosmic look at the origins of Peter Pan, that honor belongs to one tiny world, a world where no one grows old – Neverland!
This original SyFy TV 2-parter written and directed by Nick Willing fills us in on the whys and hows Peter Pan, the Lost Boys, Captain Hook and even the pirates and Indians first came to Neverland from Earth in differing periods of its history.
Let’s take a look at Part 1, OK?
There is a lot of great story here, especially in the relationship between Peter (Charlie Rowe) and Hook (Rhys Ifans). It seems Peter was one of many boys gathered by Hook in early 20th century Britain that served him as pickpockets. There is also a lingering subplot with a woman from Hook’s past who turns out to be Peter’s deceased mother.
Peter and Hook are on great terms until the lad tries to prove himself by taking the gang of boys and stealing an ancient orb which is, in fact, a portal to Neverland. One minute they are in 1900s England, then BOOM! they are in Neverland. The same happened to the Indians who have come to call themselves the Kaw, which means “People of the Raven,” and the pirates under the command of Capt. Elizabeth Bonny (Anna Friel).
While Hook, an experienced swordsman, does not take long to make himself known among Bonny’s pirates (the boys are held captive), the later-arriving Peter finds his bud Fox (Lorn MacDonald) amid a frozen tundra and they are suddenly under attack by tree spirits (fairies).
The Indians are friendly enough, and we meet Tiger Lily (O’orianka Kilcher) here for the first time. They help nourish Peter and Fox and explain they are the protectors of the tree spirits who, we find out from Captain Bonny, mine a crystal (the familiar pixie dust from other works) that allows flight – but it is unstable! It is her wish to cross into the tree spirits’ land, to the mines and get the goodies for the big bads.
Using the lessons from the London streets, Peter and Fox find where the secret passage through the mountains is by hiding in an Indian fishing canoe. This later leads to all the boys being on the pirate ship, Peter rescuing the boys and the accidental death by sword of Fox. This is where Hook and Peter begin to go their separate ways.
Peter, who shares a dream with everyone who has experienced the orb of a hooded man bringing two meteors toward Neverland, ventures with Tiger Lily to Bone Mountain in an attempt to discover if there is a portal that returns to Earth. It is near there, in a vast and fantastic village made of living trees, they meet the 400-year-old alchemist Dr. Flood, whom we had seen before as the man who hired Hook & Co. to find the orb in a British jewelry store.
It is Flood who explains to Peter the cosmic truths of the universe, of Neverland’s importance to it at its center and the nature of this land where no one grows old. It is his desire to bring the artists, the inventors, the “elite” of Earth to his village. He was, in fact, the hooded man of Peter’s dream who used two meteors to build a twin orb! Peter also meets the elusive Tinkerbell in the tree village.
Hook and the pirates, following Peter and Tiger Lily, also find the village, catch it on fire and – although Flood does his best to fend the rogues off with his enchantments, and they are pure eye candy – eventually kill the shaman. This leads to Peter and Hook’s first real combat by sword. Hook wins, Peter is taken captive but, against Hook’s orders, is accidentally stabbed! (Boy, these accidents with stabbed boys! Lol)
Peter’s seemingly lifeless body drops from a burning landmass in the enchanted tree town and Bonny and the pirates are out of there, with a regretful Hook looking behind and down toward the body of his former acolyte.
As you can tell, there are some great performances, sizzling special effects and an overall cosmic look to this Neverland telling, one that frankly surprised me. I hope you got to enjoy it too.
Review: Neverland, Part 2
In Part 2 of Neverland, the stabbed Peter Pan is rescued by the tree fairies. They take him to a marvelous spring where he is dunked and imbued with the pixie dust they mine. It is not long before Tinkerbell, who can telepathically now communicate with Peter, teaches the London lad to fly!
Peter is soon using his new power to battle Hook and the pirates, but the wily Hook fools the lad into thinking he is his old self: “Jimmy,” the trainer of the pickpockets. Peter foolishly leads his would-be guardian to the secret passage of the Kaw, when Captain Bonny and the pirates appear.
Hook’s friendship has been a ruse, all these years really, and he admits to having killed Peter’s father!
The pirates burn the fairy land surroundings and then Bonny goes through the same bathing in the spiritual waters as Peter – and then explodes! There is a secret that has not been learned by the thugs; the thinking of wonderful things, of innocence.
With their land in ruin, the Three Elder Fairies curse Peter, robbing him of his memory. Tinkerbell, who takes his side, is banished from their land as well.
Tiger Lily tries to nurse Peter to health back in Kaw country, but the Kaw believe him a traitor and but him in a pit. It is the Lost Boys that come to his rescue, and eventually memory returns to Peter.
Meanwhile, Hook, who has become captain of the pirates, concocts a plan to return to London via the orb he has hidden in the caves of Bull Island, gather an army of thugs from 1900s London, and then return to take over the Kaw. The Indians will not believe Peter’s warning, and so Pete and Tink go to battle Hook’s gang themselves on Bull Island.
It is Tiger Lily that convinces her father of Peter’s truths, and the Kaw and Lost Boys rally to Peter’s aid.
In personal combat with Hook in the caves, the pirate’s hand is cut off by Peter and the crocodile finally gets a taste of the criminal, swallowing the hand and the watch of Peter’s father!
The cave begins to crumble under the combat, with stones ad boulders killing most of the pirates as Tiger Lily and the boys escape. (We later learn that Hook has survived, sans hand.)
Meanwhile, Peter returns to London via the orb and uses the twin in London to come back to Neverland, dapper as a London dandy with gifts for all.
But it seems … his shadow is missing!
This two-part, four-hour SyFy “event” of Peter’s origin was quite good. While the settings were a bit more bleak than usually depicted, the action was great and there was a surprise every quarter-hour, not all of which have been included in this review. And it is quite cosmic!
If SyFy rebroadcasts it or it comes out on DVD, I recommend it highly!