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4.4 out of 5 stars
Neverland - The Complete Series [DVD]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is the 'tale' that 'J .M.Barrie' never got around to writing, explaining how the character's we find throughout his 'Peter Pan' become part of the enchanting tale.
I believe 'Mr Barrie' would have approved.
It's 1906 in 'london' 'James Hook' (Rhys Ifans) is looked upon by 'Peter' (Charlie Rowe) and his pals as a father figure, in truth 'Jimmy' as 'Hook' is known by....uses the lads in the same way that 'fagan' does in the 'Oliver Twist' story.
'Jimmy' plans a robbery at a jewlers, he seeks a mystery 'orb'
The 'orb' has the power to transfer those who strike it into a different galaxy, to a distant planet where you never grow older, an enchanting and wonderful planet.......Neverland.
Like the 'Peter Pan' story, this is every childs dream, living in a land of adventure, and as a child, you never grow up.
this is a pretty good stab at presenting a prequel to 'j.m.barrie's' timeless tale.
The film perhaps a little darker than the 'Peter Pan' films we know.
Also Starring in this TV-Mini-Series,,,,'Keira Knightley' (Tinker-Bell 2-episodes) ''Anna Friel' (Elizabeth Bonny 2-episodes)
and the late-great 'Bob Hoskins' (Mr Smee)
If you want to see how the characters came to be in 'Neverland' this is a pretty decent attempt at solving the mystery.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2012
I actually watched this quite randomly when I saw if being shown on Sky Movies. I didn't expect to like it but I actually LOVED it! I really enjoyed it. I think all the actors were perfect for their roles. The 'children' are slightly older then in Peter Pan 2003, but I think it's better. And I think Charlie Rowe makes a perfect Peter Pan! I was really impressed and have watched it multiple times since, I really hope they go on to recreate Peter Pan and even Peter Pan Returns to Neverland with these actors and the storyline. I'd definitely recommend anyone and everyone to watch it! :D
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How Neverland came to be. This two part television version tells of an island created by Elizabeth I's alchemist (Charles Dance), Tinkerbell in a glass globe acting as a portal. Amongst those involved are Anna Friel as a flamboyant eighteenth century pirate queen and Charlie Rowe as Peter, heading a gang of Edwardian urchins. Their mentor is disgraced aristocrat Jimmy (Rhys Ifans), he to evolve into their Enemy No.1.

All this sounds gloriously inventive. Surely a treat is assured with such illustrious names on board (especially with Bob Hoskins again as Smee). Glowing reviews tempted me to buy, I looking forward to being most royally entertained. Instead there came considerable disappointment.

Here is yet another example of how vital it is to have a strong script upon which to build. This is a mishmash. From start to finish much seems awkwardly cobbled together, bewildering leaps in the plot suggesting savage editing. A clue why this is so appears in one of the bonuses on Disc 2. The director speaks of a four hour long film. What we in fact have is well under three.

Amongst assets are some performances and many special effects. An interesting bonus tells how some of the latter were achieved, green screen much in evidence. It fascinates to see how ingeniously everything becomes transformed. In interviews cast members enthuse about their roles and look forward to the finished version.

This attempt to produce a meaningful, spectacular variation on the Peter Pan story has inspired mixed reactions. Mainly they are favourable. Sadly it simply did not work for me, the whole enterprise needing more focus and a firmer hand.
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The SyFy Channel has been doing "reimaginings" of classic public-domain books for the past few years, such as "Tin Man" or "Alice." But "Neverland" is a little different. Rather than reimagining the tale of Peter Pan, this miniseries presents the story of how a street urchin became the flying boy who never grows up, and the beginning of his war with Captain Hook.

In 1906, the fallen arisocrat James "Jimmy" Hook (Rhys Ifans) has collected a gang of young boys who steal things for him, lead by the impish Peter Pan (Charlie Rowe). But when Jimmy and the gang vanish, Peter must use a mysterious black orb to travel into a wholly alien world -- Neverland. In this world, there are silver faeries, a pirate ship, and a lost tribe of Indians.

The pirate captain Elizabeth Bonny (Anna Friel) quickly fascinates Jimmy, especially when she reveals that the fairies have magical dust that allows flight. Peter is horrified by his father figure's betrayal, especially when the pirates kill one of the boys. His only goal is to get back to London, and the only way he knows how is to seek out a hooded man who appears in his dreams with the black orb.

With the help of Aaya (aka Tiger Lily) (Q'orianka Kilcher), Peter ventures into a strange lost city, where he discovers the truth about Neverland. But when the pirates attack and capture the boys and Aaya, Peter must use his newfound powers to save them and defeat Captain Hook...

J.M. Barrie didn't really go into the background of Peter Pan in his original novel -- Peter Pan just sort of EXISTED, like a nature sprite or some forgotten deity. But "Neverland" does do a decent job trying to spin up a backstory for Peter and Captain Hook -- it tries to explain the battle between Hook and Peter, what Neverland is, and how pirates and Indians got to it.

And there is a really whimsical, fantastical air to the story -- silver faeries, fallen comets, eight-legged crocodiles, an orb, and a vast city made of woven trees.. The giant white CGI trees are kind of goofy, though.

But the movie also uses its length to establish the bond between Peter and Hook, which is a genuine connection of father/son love and trust that is corrupted by greed and cruelty. Rowe reminds me of a younger, more expressive Daniel Radcliffe, and Ifans is absolutely brilliant as a complex man who is both cruel and kind, compassionate and utterly ruthless.

And it has a solid cast, with Anna Friel as a cold-heart swashbuckler, Bob Hoskins as Smee, and a bunch of pretty talented kids as the Lost Boys. The one problem is Kilcher, who is so wooden you could saw her into logs, but she's balanced out by a more realistic, well-rounded depiction of the Indians ("Dinner." "You're going to eat us?" "Why, do you taste good?") as shown by Raoul Trujillo and George Aguilar.

"Neverland" is a pretty decent what-if tale about the origins of Peter Pan, which does a fairly good job at explaining Neverland without robbing it of magic. Not the best classic-based miniseries, but a good one.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2012
I loved this film when I watched it, the acting is great and the storyline is great, I would recommend it to anyone!! :D
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2014
Here's a two part TV Miniseries that details the origins of Peter Pan, the Lost Boys and Captain Hook, here starting out as a gang of London thieves, with 'Jimmy' Hook a fencing instructor and ex-socialite. One day, sent out by a mysterious client, the group come upon a magic orb, which ends up transporting them to, where else, Neverland. Of course, this isn't the first time the orb has brought people to Neverland, as the group soon discover both a Native American tribe and a band of Pirates. Loyalties are tested and promises broken as Hook and Peter's once strong bond is gradually shattered.

Too compressed and often in a hurry, 'Neverland' is never outright boring, mainly thanks to a terrific cast, but it squanders them and its premise with indecisive, clunky storytelling and a lack of charm or humour. Writer-Director Nick Willing assembles a lot of great ideas (having Hook and Peter being friends in a pseudo-paternal relationship, exploring the nature & history of Neverland, seeing Hook's downfall and temptation to evil, the ever present fears of death and growing up, much lie the original take) but is also trying to balance them out with action setpieces and a number of auxillary subplots (including one involving a secret society and alchemy, another involving the fairies and their city, yet another involving the pirates trying to take over the fairies and steal their magic, leading to yet another 'RULE THE WORLD' plot complete with bloated monologues) and well, you can already see what's wrong.

Despite the generous two and a half hour runtime, the series is in such a rush to do everything that a lot of ideas feel half baked, and are not allowed a full resolution. The first episode in particular has enough material and plot threads to last two or three episodes of a longer miniseries. Heck, for a supposed 'prequel', there are a number of inconsistencies and errors that don't quite match up with the original take (Peter's memory is finicky but intact, Tinkerbell is a little too wise and ultimately, how Peter travels without the orb in the end is never explained.) And the mediocre action, complete with crash zooms to make it more 'intense', and lax CGI, even by TV standards, don't exactly help matters either.

A real shame as the cast here are quite solid. We have a decent selection of child actors, with Charlie Rowe doing a fairly good job as the mischievous yet charismatic Peter (though he almost never shuts up during the first episode and Willing keeps giving him exposition to say). However, this is very much Rhys Ifans' show as Hook, and he absolutely nails; by turns tragic, lovable and threatening, Ifans commands the screen everytime he's on. Supporting them are the likes of Anna Friel as Captain Elizabeth Bonny, Charles Dance as the alchemist, Q'orianka Kilcher as Aaya (Tiger Lilly) and Charlotte Atkinson/Kiera Knightley as Tinker Bell, body and voice respectively. They are all good, but don't get a whole lot to do, with Dance relegated mainly to exposition about Neverland and the orb. Oh, and Bob Hoskins is back as Smee, but he is wasted with no real material to work with.

In the end, 'Neverland' isn't awful television, but it is really pedestrian and ultimately, disappointing. Everything here was assembled to make it work, and yet, a muddled script that tries to do so much with so little time just leads to a great big mess. Say what you wish about 'Hook', at least it had charm and knew what it wanted to be. This doesn't, and that's just a real shame.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2014
I love any story to do with Peter Pan and there was no exception with this version. A joy to watch several times over.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2014
This is another interesting version of the Peter Pan story.
Based on the ground theme it is a bit different...
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on 23 July 2015
Children really enjoyed it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2014
Extremely good acting and setting of scenes. editing was spot on and story line engaging.
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