Finding Neverland (2004)

Still Not Found

Never have I been so disappointed. This movie is right up my alley: I’m studying so-called “folded” films. A fine example is when you have a movie that has a play inside it and the reality of the two blur, like with “French Lieutenant’s Woman.”

This has another layer, the “neverland” which folds into both. And the physics of neverland contain the mechanism for folding: “just believe.” Somehow the producers knew that the material required folded actors. These are rare, possibly fewer than ten but include Kate and Johnny. I suppose the producer in question was Michael Dreyer who worked on a very similarly folded “Iris,” also with Kate. They also made a very obvious choice: Dustin and Christie to represent the “old” school of non-folding. Hoffman’s character does nothing but shake his head over the lunacy of the project.

A built in advantage is that everyone knows “Peter Pan.” And most filmgoers will know some of Depp’s man-child characters. Some may even know Kate‘s first significant role (Juliet Hulme) was based on Wendy.

Starting with those astounding advantages, the writer and director proceed to turn fluid motion into mechanical clanking; movement into poses, emotion into cloying emotionalism. These actors must have hated it, as all the blending and folding became telegraphed shifts. This wasn’t folded reality: it was quirky imagination.

Julio Medem would have made this into a lifealtering experience for all concerned instead of Oscar Wilde lite.

Posted in 2004

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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