Monkey TV Review – Peter Pan Live TV Special (NBC)

Peter Pan was not a movie, but a live television show that was an adaptation of the stage play.

I’m very happy that commercial TV is trying these live shows. The last one was Sound of Music, which was “okay”. A live TV show, especially one of this complexity with aerial effects, models and many lively sets, is a difficult task. And there were times where you could see behind the set (some guy standing next to the wall with a clipboard), cameramen running into each other, shots of the top of the studio, and more. All intriguing to see.

As is customary for the live play version of Peter Pan, a woman played Peter (Allison Williams) and actually did a fairly good job. But it still seemed odd – and not because of any LGBT thing – just odd. She played it in a fairly subdued way and just didn’t seem like the capricious Peter Pan character that Disney has done for at least two movies.

Christopher Walken as Captain Hook was actually an odd choice. I’m a huge Walken fan, but he seemed tired and slow – and had odd pauses in between lines. Also, in traditional Peter Pan plays/movies, Mr. Darling (the father) usually plays both Hook and himself, as a direct nod to how overbearing and autocratic he is to his family. But a more spry (younger?) actor would have been more appropriate. In fact, Christian Borle, who played George Darling (and Mr. Smee!) would have been a good Hook.

Otherwise, the acting was passable, the dance numbers at least interesting. The sets were good, the flying stunts very awkward. I think the harnesses took away from the play, though they did a nice job of sneaking them on and off the actors while off screen.

Alanna Summers as Tiger Lily was fairly good – emotive, a good dancer, and thankfully had an exotic look, as her character should have.

Honestly the Pirate Crew and Lost Boys were probably the most entertaining characters.

Taylor Louderman as Wendy Darling was a stand out actress, with a beautiful voice, good acting and the ability to look sweet and innocent. Good casting move.

Finally, the end of the movie was odd to me, probably because I’m not familiar with the actual book. I won’t give it away but it’s a nice one, and unexpected.

Sooo… not that you would buy the video version of the show, and not that it’s worth renting, I would say it was a valiant attempt and I hope that there are more like these. They harken back to the early 60’s when the networks put live plays – and it was exciting to see some of the best actors take a chance on live TV.

Monkey says to wait until it reruns to see it. Or see the two Disney animated movies.

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