Disney’s recently released live-action remake of Peter Pan, titled Peter Pan & Wendy, has faced significant backlash on Rotten Tomatoes due to changes in character races and the inclusion of girls in the “Lost Boys” group. This controversy has led to a wave of negative reviews, causing the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes audience score to plummet to 13%, potentially making it the lowest-rated Disney live-action remake to date.
Interestingly, Rotten Tomatoes took the unprecedented step of removing the low audience score altogether, as evidenced by the absence of the score in the screenshot provided. It is worth noting that the score was later restored after this article was published.
At present, there has been no response from Fandango, the owner of Rotten Tomatoes, regarding the removal of the audience score. This action occurred just before the upcoming release of Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, which is also facing similar criticism prior to its release.
Before discussing the Peter Pan remake further, I would like to briefly share a personal prediction regarding The Little Mermaid remake. Although I am not within the core demographic targeted by the film, I believe that Halle Bailey is an excellent choice for the iconic role of Ariel. She appears to embody the same beauty, sweetness, and charm that characterized the animated classic, and her singing voice is truly impressive.
However, I anticipate that critics may focus on other technical aspects of the movie or perhaps conclude that it falls short of justifying a replacement of the beloved animated version. For instance, in my opinion as a viewer, the live-action portrayal of characters like Flounder and Sebastian lacks the same charm and whimsy present in the original. In fact, they appear somewhat unsettling in the remake. These critiques are likely to prompt discussions and debates around whether criticizing the new adaptation can be perceived as racist, leading to the emergence of various think pieces and commentaries.
“Wendy Darling, a young girl hesitant to leave her childhood home, encounters Peter Pan, a boy who steadfastly clings to his youth. Joined by her brothers and the mischievous fairy Tinker Bell, Wendy embarks on a fantastical journey to the enchanting world of Never Land. There, she confronts the treacherous pirate captain, Captain Hook, and embarks on a thrilling adventure that forever alters her life.”
In the live-action remake, Yara Shahidi, known for her role in Black-ish, takes on the character of Tinker Bell, while Jude Law portrays the infamous Captain Hook. Additionally, the original 1953 version of Peter Pan is currently available for streaming on Disney+. However, it comes with a content advisory cautioning viewers about negative depictions and mistreatment of people and cultures.
Here are a selection of reviews from both critics and viewers on Rotten Tomatoes regarding the Peter Pan remake:
New York Magazine/Vulture: “While it’s a story we know well, the film suffers from a peculiar blend of excessive corrections and lackluster execution.”
Mashable: “Peter Pan & Wendy, a live-action adaptation of a beloved classic, drains the life out of iconic characters and lacks the passion of its acclaimed director.”
1-star review: “Yes, it’s that bad. Disney seems to enjoy shooting itself in the foot.”
5-star review: “I loved it! Some reviewers seem to forget that the source material for this movie, as well as the animated version, originated from a book, not solely Disney. I appreciate the incorporation of elements from the book that were not part of the animated adaptation. Although the backstory with Hook was altered, I am pleased with the actors and the film’s departure from excessive Disney-fication. Thank you!”
1-star review: “Has Hollywood intentionally set out to ruin everything worthwhile? Each live-action remake is worse than the last. The old fairy tales carried the charm of innocence and appeal to all ages. I cannot find anything positive to say about this artistic disaster, unlike the remains of a cat’s visit to our backyard.”
Regarding the decision by Rotten Tomatoes to remove the audience score, it is indeed an unusual move. To highlight this further, consider the case of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who remains a polarizing figure among the general public. A National Geographic documentary about him from 2021, available for streaming on Disney+, currently holds a significantly worse audience score of 2% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the review site has not taken any action regarding that particular score.