Monday, March 19, 2012

Neverland

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Neverland - 3 out of 5

SyFy (still hate the name change) has an amazing track record of stupid, stupid moves.  For every example of allowing the immensely brilliant re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica, we have a plethora of phoned-in sci-fi (that's how it's spelled, guys!) movies and the cancellation of their best show Eureka in favor of cheaply produced ghost hunting shows full of doctored evidence that fools no one (or at least I hope no one).  One of the biggest stupid moves the network makes is creating bastardizations of cherished tales in poorly created mini-series.  In the past they destroyed The Wizard of Oz with Tin Man, Alice in Wonderland with Alice and now the latest is Peter Pan with Neverland.

"Fear my bowler hat."

The concept behind Neverland is interesting and is a petri dish where creativity can grow to the point it can consume all that is around it.  Sadly, like their other mini-series that held the potential to be something unique and an interesting take on a classic, Neverland becomes a low-budget, lack of imagination event of faux-grandeur.
Peter just saw the nub that's underneath Hook's hook.

We'll just pretend we don't notice that the strings are
hiking your pants up to places the sun doesn't shine.
The idea was simple:  See how Peter Pan and Captain Hook became the legends they are.  Steven Spielberg made film history with Hook as we see the eternal boy become an adult and forgets his roots but Neverland promised to show us the actual roots.  The series shows us how James Hook, at the time a disgraced man in England, teaching fencing and rescuing lost boys (eh, see how the lost boys form?).  James uses these kids to perform petty crime in order to work his way back up the social ladder until a dream of a caper falls in his lap as he is sent to steal a mystic device that ends up sending them to the mythical world of Neverland--a world of whimsy and were one doesn't age.

Special mention must be made about the pirate Starkey.  Try to resist the urge to
punch your TV every time this man stinks up the screen with bad comic relief.

"What makes a Redman Red?  WTF, Disney?"
Hook finds himself among a group of pirates who found themselves in Neverland and he quickly rises among the ranks as the lost boys and Peter meet a group of Indians (far less of a racist stereotype than depicted in Disney's version of the story) where they teach him how to be a good man and lead him to the fairies that show him the power of his innocence, the ability to fly and ask him to help them keep their world safe.  Two men, once friends and allies find themselves on opposite sides of the chess board and start a journey that leads to them being two of the greatest rivals in literature.

Meet your new Tinker Bell.  I guess changing her color constitutes creativity.

Sounds cool, eh?  When I first saw the trailer for this mini-series event I thought the same thing.  Too bad the product we get is no different than any other mini-series SyFy has aired.  The special effects are awful, the actors are weak and the story is stretched and drawn out past the breaking point in an effort to make an hour and a half film turn into a 3 hour mini-series.  The series also has an occasion of trying too hard to be original and comes off as making changes for the sake of making changes...like the infamous crocodile.

10 legs on a crocodile?  Were the writers even trying or just doing mushrooms?


With all these elements working against the series, it must be stated that it isn't a total wash.  The concept is still really solid, albeit not developed well with its end product.  It's also really cool as we get to see Bob Hoskins once again step into the role of Smee.  Finally, the evolution of James Hook into the dreaded Captain Hook is well done and crafted--thanks to some superb acting by Rhys Ifans.

One would almost imagine that Hoskins playing Smee again that
this is connected to Hook.


Are you still fearing my bowler hat?
Going into Neverland, my expectations weren't high because it was a SyFy mini-series and the end product was about as parallel as said expectations.  The series easily could have been a one and a half hour film rather than stretched out (often to the point it started to drag on the ground and drag on me watching it).  However, as I've already stated, the concept is really interesting.  Showing how Neverland was discovered, how Peter Pan met Tinker Bell and learned to fly and how the Pirate and the Boy started their great journey as enemies was a great idea that, sadly, didn't come off as well as it could have.

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