Wendy; A Matured Take on a Fairytale Classic. Grade: B-
Updated: Apr 27
Well it's a Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, knowing that the theaters can shut down at any moment, might as well make a one last run before the drought.
Wendy takes on the classic fairytale of Peter Pan, in a brand new matured direction from the return of Oscar nominated film maker Benh Zeitlin.
The Cinematography was honestly outstanding, you can honestly watch this film visually on it's own without the sound on. Followed by great production design, majority of the locations fit this majestic world of those whom choose not to grown old. Love the shots under the cave, under water, lovely nature and volcano shots... It's a beautiful film from a visual standpoint. The Score was pretty damn solid, loved the last composed song near the end, featuring adults and kids singing together, def will shed a tear from the audience. The cast all in all was solid as a whole. Devin France playing the main character Wendy had a solid performance, stumbled on some scenes here and there, but she did a good job. The character Wendy felt free as written, but understandable to a certain degree in which any young small child would relate to. The adults tease Wendy and the other kids, how they eventually will grow older and be in the same positions their parents/grandparents are in. Example have a run down waitress job, bathroom cleaner job, dishwashing job. The adults give them the harsh reality of growing up, as Wendy refuses to believe she'll end up like her mother and the rest. I believe as young children, adults always try to make us believe that we’ll never amount to anything spectacular or do anything spectacular, due to the fact they've already lived their lives. For Wendy she chooses not to believe a single word her mother says, as she ends up living the life she wanted to live: Young, Wild, Free, and fighting Pirates. Though we don't completely relate to Wendy as far as her own dreams and certainly running away from her mother at a young age, we do relate as to proving adults whom doubt our ability in our own lives wrong. I did felt a connection with this character many times in my own life, as many will do so as well. Yashua Mack playing Peter Pan did a solid job, I'm surprised no weirdos on Twitter tried to make some controversy about the race change, but given the fact this film goes on an indie route, I guess they just didn't care... Which is GREAT, more of this please in the future. Peter Pan can be comparable to Tommy Pickles from Rugrats: A Brave Little Guy whom is always down for adventure, he may not be the center of attention like the past Peter Pan films, but he does have significance towards this story and you do care about this character as well. Gage Naquin and Gavin Naquin playing Wendy's twin brothers both had solid performances, really didn't struggled at all in this entire film. I like the twist at the very end for one of the twin brothers, where their character arc ends up at the very end, t'was very cool.
I do have flaws for Wendy. This film feels more style over substance, which I can understand why there is an indifferent point of view for this film. There are scenes where dialogue flies over your head, as you can't understand what to make of it. Like for example the adults are talking about in order to regain their youth, they must kill and eat the mother... Like huh?! There are quite a few more moments relatable to that scene, where you just scratch your head at the dialogue given. I do want to say there is one moment at the very end that felt forced and unneeded. Like I understand that it's heavily inspired by Peter Pan... But there is really is no point in displaying this scene, especially when sides were singing in harmony, like it made no sense. It's ironic how Sean Baker (Director of The Florida Project/Tangerine) heavily praised this film... Wendy tone wise reminds me of The Florida Project in a way. While the scenery in Wendy compared to The Florida Project feels more upbeat, though some scenes of The Florida Project location and shot wise looks wonderful. Both films do compare due to the fact it's kids living uncertain circumstances, making the best of what they have in front of them. Though I find some indifference in Wendy substance wise, I throughly enjoyed this film. I can appreciate the fact this film shies entirely away from the original cartoon and creates it's own original and indie vibe to it. I enjoyed the total control of Zeitlin's vision, how he just feels completely free to do what he pleases behind the camera. This film not only feels like a fairytale, but you can also say this film delivers a message to honor thy mothers. Mothers are the main key for a secure and happy life, can never take a mother for granted, as a life without the direction of a mother can feel hopeless at times. The story itself maybe hard to understand at times, but it keeps itself at float with steady pacing and kept me at interest.
Overall, Wendy is a solid film. I recommend this film. Due to circumstances of today’s world regarding health concerns, here at Strictly Films we would certainly not encourage others to put themselves in harms way over a film. Though this is an enjoyable film and certainly people can use a film like this right now, if you feel uncomfortable going out of your way to see it, by all means stay home, your safety and health is our top priority. Thank you for supporting Strictly Films, God Bless you all. -Mitch Smietana