This review was first published for the theatrical release of Wendy.

The story of Peter Pan written by JM Barrie, like the Hound of the Baskervilles is one of those books that you don’t need to have read to think you now the story, or at least the basics, so ingrained is it in our culture. That’s undoubtably down to the numerous adaptations for tv, radio, theatre and film.

Those rudiments are present in this quite extraordinary and beautiful film by director Benh Zeitlin, co-written with Eliza Zeitlin.
Brought up to date we find the Darling family in Louisiana working in a local blue-collar diner. Wendy is just a baby when Thomas (Krysztof Meyn) disappears on his birthday having got frustrated and run off, seemingly to avoid the life that others say is waiting for him; bleak and dull with no future.

Moving forward several years Wendy (Devin France) and her twin siblings James and Douglas (Dougo) (Gavin and Gage Naquin respectively) spy the train that Thomas jumped on. Goaded by Peter (Yashua Mack) they jump aboard the rusting hulk only to get pushed out over a bridge, picked up in a small rowing boat and taken to a volcanic island. Here they find Thomas who hasn’t aged. There are other children too of their age, in a perpetual state of play, guided by a strange sea creature called mother.

Woe betides those who let their guard down and question their joyful existence, as the place that ostensibly has no rules, has some severe ones as we are told through Wendy’s narration. As the rules are broken is quickly becomes clear that the island is not a paradise, and actions have consequences.

Those familiar with the book (I’m not.) may have a field day with this adaptation. For the rest there are pirates, lost boys and flying, sort of. These are all in the blender as part of the Pan story though not what Wendy (the film) is about or what is being driven.
The thrust of the film is that as much fun as it is to be a child with all the adventure that it brings, growing up and becoming an adult is an adventure too, and probably a much more fulfilling one.

What also runs through the film is that adult life brings opportunities; that they should be taken, or at least attempted, rather than live with the weight of regret of not trying, a theme which becomes clearer later in the film.

It is a visually stunning with the landscapes of the island and the camera ever moving as the children play. And with a brilliant score by Dan Romer that grabs from the very start of the film, capturing the rollercoaster adventure as well as the darker undercurrents. This is a wonderful big screen film.

Devin France is an assertive Wendy playing with the best of them, deciding though that they have been there long enough and there are other adventures to have. Mack as Peter is a more elusive character, capable of great charm spinning on coin to be petulant and violent (Do your research this isn’t a film for children.) it’s a good performance for a not very likeable character.

The blu-ray wil be released on 29 November with special features that include:
Behind The Scenes – The Making of Wendy
Deleted Scenes
UK Theatrical Trailer