Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blog 4 - Peter Pan

Blog 4 – Disney’s Peter Pan

Growing up, Peter Pan was always one of my favorite movies, considering I named my cat after Tinker bell. Disney adapted J.M Barrie’s classic tale in 1953. The folk tale follows the adventures of a boy who couldn’t grow up, lives in Neverland with his gang of lost boys, and a series of other fantastical creatures and people that seem to only live in the minds of children. While this film brings forward the grim reality that everyone must eventually grow up, it seems to sugarcoat that reality with fantasy. This can be misleading. As children, it is hard to completely understand the complex thinking that the creator of this classic story went through to write it.

On particularly alarming part of the movie that can leave an impression on children is the fact that Peter Pan is actually kidnapping Wendy and her brothers and taking them to Neverland. “Stranger danger” is a popular phrase parents teach children in adolescence to prevent them from trusting anyone they don’t know. For obvious reasons, it seems like a good idea to teach kids that they should always run away from the unknown. They don’t have the mature judgment it takes to assess a situation as safe or unsafe. Most children will trust any adult unless told or trained otherwise. Yet on the other hand, while watching this film, children can see what it is like to leave home and take a chance, especially with a “new friend” they have just met. Adventures and stories are so real to children, like they are in this film, and this can be a dangerous association. Not to mention that the children can fly out of their window. That is a complete different risk.

The film does, however, showcase the importance of the imagination. In the beginning of the film, Wendy, the oldest sister, is ordered by her father to stop telling stories to her younger brothers, and that it is “time for her to grow up”. This causes Wendy to fear of growing up, because the only description she has of doing so is to forfeit her imagination and creativity. As she embarks on and returns from her adventures in Neverland, she returns home to her parents and is suddenly oddly comfortable with the thought of growing up, because of her realization that your imagination never really leaves you as you mature. For me, I was so excited to grow up, go to college, get a job, drive a car, etc. These milestones, however, are believed to come with the price of your innocence and your imagination. While your dreams and stories may mean something a little different to you, they are still alive inside of you, and always will be. This was an important lesson I learned (almost subconsciously) as a child. Growing up is not all sunshine and roses, but it is not all the evil that Peter Pan describes it as. There are positives and negatives, as there are with everything in life.

Ultimately I believe that the positive lesson of this story outweighs the negative aspects of it. Personally, as a child, I never associated Peter Pan with a stranger.
He was a child, and he was someone the children in the nursery were familiar with, as they had grown up listening to stories about his adventures. Fe felt like a friend to them, which is why I don’t think any children watching this film view him as a stranger. As a whole, it is a lesson meant for both children and adults about the necessary aspects we have in life. For example, at the end of the film, you feel sorry for Peter, even though he is happy to be returning to Neverland. He will likely never know true love, or know how it feels to be a parent or to be successful at his job. While childhood is a fun and magical time, adulthood – for different reasons – is full of fun and magic as well.

1 comment: