Neverland (2011 TV Mini-Series)
|MPAA Rating (USA):||NR|
|Starring:||Charlie Rowe |
Have you ever wanted to know the origin story of Peter Pan and Captain Hook? This two part mini-series offers a radical interpretation of the origin of the classic Barrie characters. I think it can be interpreted as a modern fable exposing how the betrayal of a boy by the man meant to be his lover, leads to the boy to become lost forever in perpetual childhood.
One stereotype about boylovers is that we all suffer from Peter Pan complex, i.e., that we are immature, and seek never to grow up. There may be some of us out there who fit that mold, but many of us are mature masculine man who want to help the boys we love to grow up successfully into great men themselves. That's also what is suggested by Bruce Rind's recent publication on the evolutionary function of man-boy love. Hence, the character of Peter Pan (the boy trapped in boyhood forever) implies an utter failure of man-boy love. This is precisely what Neverland mythologizes so beautifully.
Plot Synopsis and Analysis of Boylove Themes
Warning: The following contains spoilers
At the beginning of the first episode Peter and his gang of boy-thieves are running around turn-of-the-Century London under the loving care of one Jimmy Hook. Peter is devoted to Hook and clearly in love with him. Hook's emotions toward Peter seem more equivocal, but he does seem to genuinely care for all the boys. At this point in the story, Peter's greatest dream is to become Hook's partner in the petty crime business. Far from wanting to remain a child, he can't wait to grow up! His desire to grow up is intimately linked with his love and admiration for Hook. He wants to be just like his mentor, he wants one day to be accepted and recognized as an equal by him. This is the natural way of things.
Then, Hook and the lost boys are transported to Neverland by a magic orb leaving Peter behind. They make their way to the sea, and are captured by pirates. Back in London, Peter tracks down the orb and follows them, but he seems to be too late. The pirate captain is a beautiful woman Elizabeth Bonny. She and Hook begin a romance driven by their mutual lust for power. Peter goes to the pirate ship to save the boys and Hook. After saving the boys, he goes back for Hook and finds him in the captain's quarters having just had sex with Bonny. This is a clearly a romantic betrayal in Peter's mind. He is disgusted by the woman, and begs Hook to come back to him. Peter is like the knight trying to rescue his beloved “princess” Hook who has been locked up in the tower by the wicked villain Woman.
Much and more happens, but skipping forward a little, Hook still seems to have feelings for Peter, and Peter hasn't given up entirely on Hook. At this point in the narrative Hook seems to be torn between his boylove feelings (which if he only listened to them would lead him back to Peter and off the path of villainy) and his woman-love feelings, which are leading him toward becoming power mad and cruel. So this narrative is pretty clearly constructed to make the figure of the boy-lover into the absent hero of the story.
In the end, Hook's woman-love and power-love win out. His apparent boylove for Peter is revealed to have been a sham all along. He says how he only loved Peter because he saw Peter's mother in him, but now that Peter stands on the brink of maturation, he can see the father, i.e., the potential man in the boy, and now he has only hatred for him. The true boy-lover, loves the potential man in the boy, and helps the boy separate his identity from the mother-world. Hook does exactly the opposite. He emotionally punishes Peter for starting to grow up, he rejects utterly the emerging man within the boy. Hence, Hook is a totally failure as a boy-lover and he thus loses Peter's love and becomes the cruel merciless villain Captain Hook.
Throughout the film, Peter's goal is to return to London with his 'crew' and continue life there. Peter and the lost boys still want go back to reality and grow up. They want to become men. It's only after the terrible betrayal by the man he loves that Peter loses all faith in adulthood. In the last scene of the film, Peter suggests that they all stay in Neverland forever and have adventures, never having to grow up. This is clearly not his first choice, but with the loss of his love for Hook, and hence his disillusionment with Man, this is the only option left. The magic orb that could transport them back to London is “buried under a thousand tons of rubble”. Symbolically, the loss and grief he felt at losing Hook is the rubble that has buried his only gateway to world of adulthood.
There is a lot more great symbolism in the show that elaborates upon and supports the general theme I've been suggesting. Overall a totally brilliant work of art!