Peter Pan & the Utter Foolishness of Men

Posted: June 2, 2014 by jperritt in Animation, Comedy
Tags: , , ,

There are many great things about being a father…too many to list here.  However, one of those great things is the feeling of nostalgia.  And, nostalgia is often captured by re-experiencing things through the lives of your children.  This could be building forts in the living room, playing hide-and-go seek, or watching movies you grew up watching.  The latter has been something I have enjoyed time-and-time again.

Peter-Pan-Diamond-EditionThis is why I was very excited about watching Peter Pan with my children.  I can remember how much I loved traveling to Never Never Land and watching Peter Pan fool Captain Hook and his band of foolish pirates.  And, this anticipation only added to my current dislike for Peter Pan.  I still have some fond memories of Pan and his crew, but he’s such a jerk.  I mean, what an arrogant, foolish, immature, boy…am I right?

This newfound realization of Peter Pan led me to two conclusions: Satan is at work and I’m getting old.  Let’s take a closer look at both of these realizations, dealing with the second one first.

There’s no hiding it, I’m getting old.  I have grey hair (this is in reference to the hairs that aren’t falling out).  My joints are achy.  And I’m constantly quoting my father (unintentionally).  For example, I watch Peter Pan and I make statements about his rebellious nature.  In a sense, I don’t know who’s worse, Peter Pan or Captain Hook (we won’t even mention Smee, he’s harmless).  Pan relishes rebellion, fawns over foolishness, and has a certain amount of abrasion towards authority.  Which leads me to my second conclusion – Satan is at work.

Look at it this way, Captain Hook is the villain of the film.  However, if you watch the entire film, there may be one character that is more villainous than Hook.  Of course I’m not talking about Smee, not even the ol’ Tick-Tock Croc.  I’m talking about Mr. Darling.  Mr. Darling?!  Who’s that?! I’m sure you’re thinking.  He’s the father of Wendy, Michael, and John.  Not only is he the father, he’s also depicted as an utter fool.  In fact, he is depicted as foolish when Pan is praised for indulging in immaturity and levity.

This is why I say that I unintentionally quote my father.  I recently watched Pan (through my 30ish eyes) and thought, Peter Pan is so disrespectful!  How horrible is the father depicted?  These are comments my dad would have made to my chagrin several years ago.  However, this is proof that Satan is at work.  Now, to be fair, many men have upheld the stereotype of Mr. Darling, but men are under attack by Satan.  God gave authority to men in Genesis 1 & 2 (settle down feminists).  He created men and women equal, but gave specific responsibilities to each gender.  The men were created to lead (in love and service I might add), but they were created to lead.  But, the Fall has brought about distortion, frustration, and confusion to gender roles.   Which is why we have movies like Peter Pan that depict men as fools that are authoritative jerks who should be hated.

Now, many of you may be hanging on to your nostalgic love for a film like this and I’m not saying you should hate the film.  I’m simply saying, this film rejoices in rebellion and feeds an agenda of foolish fathers.  And, one aspect of this I have left out is the fact that Captain Hook and Mr. Darling are voiced by the same actor.  That’s right, the villain of the film and the father (a.k.a. the villain) have the same voice.  Therefore, as children are watching the movie – that is, as they watch the father irrationally spew hatred, anger, and foolishness – they will recognize his voice through the evil, (equally foolish) Captain Hook.

So, I’m not saying that Satan made Peter Pan (maybe he helped produce it?), but I am saying that there was an agenda here.  (Maybe this was referenced in Finding Neverland, but I don’t remember.)  Therefore, enjoy this classic male-bashing piece of trash, but enjoy it with this clear agenda at it’s foundation*.

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pan*I didn’t even get into the artwork of the film.  Notice how elegant Mrs. Darling was portrayed in comparison to the fat and foolish Mr. Darling.

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Comments
  1. lukegranlund says:

    Thank you for your astute critique. Any thoughts on FINDING NEVERLAND?

  2. Laura Lee Nelson says:

    I’m thrilled to know that you’re pondering Biblical manhood, since you’re teaching (my sons) on that topic at RYM next month! And I certainly can’t deny that Disney…at least, the current shows on Disney Channel…can be extremely and disturbingly hard on fathers, and men in general. But every story needs a villain, doesn’t it? I mean, if you had watched Snow White or Sleeping Beauty with your children, would you be as incensed at the portrayal of step-mothers and women? And, unlike for those female villains, isn’t there a moment of redemption for Mr. Darling at the end of the movie? And I notice that you used some of the same adjectives to describe Peter Pan in this post and Spider-man in your recent post…arrogant, immature, disrespectful…those make Peter Pan “foolish,” but Spider-man still manages to be “awesome”?
    Clearly, you’ve touched a nerve with me…Peter Pan is one of my favorite of the old Disney animated movies! All in all, though, I do realize that things can suddenly look very different to us when we sit down and watch an old favorite with our children (“Yikes! I didn’t remember THAT part!” she says as she scrambles for the remote.)

    • jperritt says:

      Laura Lee,

      You bring up some excellent and thoughtful remarks! I hadn’t even considered the step-mother perspective – that’s very helpful. I assumed this perspective on Peter Pan would be a tough pill for many to swallow (it was for me as I saw this film again with my children sitting with me). I do think Spider-man is awesome, but remember I said he’s an imperfect hero that points us to the perfect Hero (his arrogance, immaturity, and disrespect are aspects of that imperfection – not aspects of what make him awesome). I really appreciate the candid, but kind, comments – this is helpful discussion.

      I also look forward to teaching your sons at RYM – glad they signed up for the elective!

      John

  3. […] too long ago I bashed a Disney classic (Peter Pan; even though I do like it), so I thought I would come to Disney’s defense in this post. […]

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