Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday at the Movies #76 - Neverland and beyond (or run, idea hamster, run)


Pretty much my reaction to watching BBC America's Neverland, billed as a prequel to the story of Peter Pan. First off, 18th century pirates, and the slums of Edwardian London? I am there, corn popped, notebook in hand and anybody who touches me while this is on will pull back a stump. Seriously. There's also a female pirate named Bonny (and only Bonny, buuuuut being the pirate geek that I am, I know darned well that the historical figure, Anne Bonny, was a pirate who disappeared from a prison in Port Royal in 1720, so I see what you did there, writers, and I approve) and a gang of child thieves; two more points in Neverland's favor. Then there's Peter, signalling his fellows by playing tunes on his pipe from the rooftops above, and the adult leader of the group, the magnetic, enigmatic James "Jimmy" Hook, oh swoon. Then we have the relationship between Jimmy and Peter, who has plans to become Jimmy's partner in crime as adulthood approaches, so life can always, always be the same.

Life doesn't work like that, though, and we have the promise, foreshadowed by one of Peter's friends planning for a future Peter finds downright abhorrent, that things are about to get very, very different. Peter gets a wee bit ahead of himself and takes on a job for which he is far from ready, and Jimmy isn't at all pleased. Events transpire.

Corinna Lawson remarked at last week's CORW meeting, where I'd given highlights from my From Fanfiction to Fantastic Fiction workshop, that she found it interesting how I liked to watch fantasy movies and then file off all the speculative elements to get historical ideas. It's not a conscious thing, but that's how my mind works.

Sure, there's the travel to a magical dimension where pirates and Indians (that's the term used in the film, and the term a former co-worker preferred, so that's what I'm using)coexist and there's tree spirits who can fly and curses and, well, we all know how Peter Pan turns out. For me, it's not about any of that.

Okay, the time travel, I like, and since 18th century and Edwardian are both among my favorite historical eras, that part is right up my alley. The chemistry between Jimmy and Bonny leaps off the screen, so major, major props to Rhys Ifans and Anna Friel. Especially since Mr. Ifans has previously appeared in another film in my collection:

Yep, mind blown.

What gets me here is the relationships. Peter's coming of age (or not) story, the past relationship Jimmy had with Peter's parents, and Jimmy and Bonny could make a truly spectacular partnership. There's betrayal, loss,love, secrets, tough decisions, and life altering consequences. While my creative plate is full at the moment, that doesn't mean I don't stuff some of this in the idea crock pot and let it simmer to see what rises to the surface. There's time for that yet, and more ingredients needed to cook the idea soup. For instance, though I know Steve Valentine isn't in this movie, Bonny's first mate bears a strong similarity, and really, could any movie be made worse with Steve Valentine in it? Not from where I'm sitting. I'll have what I need when I need it, and in the meantime, a few dozen more viewings can't hurt.

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