wow it has been a while since i had a Book VS Movie face off and as i have just finished my first book of my Classic Challenge, Peter Pan, i feel that this would be a great set of combatants to face off. The book is a widely regarded classic and has actually been made into 2 movies by Disney.Along with many films that stem from it such as Hook, Neverland, Return to Neverland and of course the slew of movies staring Tinkerbell.


now this leaves many options as to which movie to compare the book to. but really for me there is only one option. Disney’s live action Peter Pan has been one of my favorite films since it’s release and as i find it to be closest to the book it is the fairest comparison to make.


Now this is an odd comparison because while i did not overly enjoy the book (although i did give it 3.5 stars) what i LOVED about the movie is how close it stuck to the book in many places.

I came out of this book feeling that Mr Barrie was probably a little bit sexist… and hated children… which makes me wonder why he wrote a children’s book. Although if this book was published today it would not pass as one. this is the only children’s book i have ever come across that makes such casual reference to orgies. Most of the quotes I LOVED in this book, and there were quite a few of them, were actually included in the movie but the movie also took advantage of the fight scenes which play out much better on the screen than in this book. I think this may be the case mostly because this book was originally a play so the movie may actually be somewhat closer to the original text than the book.


The other thing I enjoyed much more in the movie than the book was the relationship between Peter and Wendy… I loved the romance in the movie but in the book she was an odd mix between mother and girlfriend with him sometimes caring and other times not. while the idea behind this was that they were playing pretend i still feel the movie captures this by Peter and Wendy being the “mother and father” of the lost boys.


the other thing is the movie removed the sexism from the original text. Wendy became a wonderful character who was strong and independent, and in the end it is Wendy who really saves the day, turning the damsel in distress stereotype on it’s head


the movie also in my opinion makes better use of “the hidden kiss” which was prevalent in both the movie and the book but unlike in the movie in the book the kiss is given swiftly in the beginning of the book with no real meaning. the story of the movie is that of a Tragic Love story while the book is merely about “heartless youth” the one thing the book had over the movie was the ending (which the movie cut out but did show a rough version in the DVD special feature). this ending is one of those beautifully tragic endings that had the book focused more on Peter and Wendy’s relationship probably would have been sadder than it came across, i know the movie version had me crying the first time i saw the “deleted” ending.

So this one goes to the movies… and I must admit I am a bit disappointed with myself because this puts the movies in front of the books… I should probably start putting up some of those movies that do a really bad job because I know there are heaps of them. What do You think?


Books Vs Movies 

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4 thoughts on “BOOK VS MOVIE : Peter Pan

  1. Re. “casual references to orgies”, you should know that the word then (and considerably later, you’ll often find it in Wodehouse) refers to a drunken party (presumably riotous). The default implication of a *sexual* orgy is a much more recent shift, and obviously not what Barrie was referring to!

    As for the book, I greatly enjoy it though perhaps not qua children’s book. Children ARE selfish, and a refusal to grow up is in some sense a refusal to learn empathy. It’s kind of a bold theme. What I find more (though enjoyably) disturbing is how very casually the book mentions death. An adventure means cleaning up the blood afterward, the number of Lost Boys varies as they get killed…and when the sstart to grow up, which is against Peter’s rules, he “thins them out”!

    • you make some good points. thank-you for clarifying the old definition of orgies it was something i had only found out quite recently. and yes i must agree the way death and adventure were handled so truthfully and casually, was one of the more interesting parts of this book for me.

  2. First of all, I’m sorry for my bad english, I’m italian 😉
    I think you shold study more before to write this. I mean, I respect your ideas, but you shouldn’t say that Barrie hated children, he probably hated his condition, his unability to grow up. When he was I little child his older brother, David, died. His mother refused to leave the bedroom, where she started to feel seriously depressed, and she was getting closer and closer to death. Barrie, who was 4 years old ( I think to remember, but I’m not sure), because of his love for his mother, started to act as he was David ( a child of 6 years old), and since then he’ve never changed his behaviour; even once he was a grown up adult.
    What we call today Peter Pan Sydrome, is actually James Mattew Barrie Syndrome, and it is the reason why he probably felt a certain kind of anger against himself and children in general.

    • thanks for your reply. while i agree with you in principal about needing to have researched the author in order to truly enjoy the intricacies of the book (hence the relatively good rating) the comparison i was making was for the casual reader/ viewer. while i understand how the author came to have this voice to the casual reader it is quite confronting particularly as our protagonists that he seems to hate are the characters we should be cheering for. while this made for a scholastically interesting contrast for a casual reader it may just be confusing or irritating.

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