Zoë's Blu-ray Review: NEVERLAND

Journey back to where it all began in this captivating Syfy original miniseries event when NEVERLAND arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Digital March 13, 2012 from RHI Entertainment and Vivendi Entertainment.

The Series

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SyFy Channel’s latest release Neverland, a re-imagining of the story behind Captain Hook, the Lost Boys and the boy who’d never grow up. Remakes and prequels are in abundance these days, often wearing thin the stories we love. However, Neverland is an honorable rendition of the Peter Pan mythology thanks to its strong writing and talented cast.

Rhys Ifans as Jimmy Hook seemed to be an off casting choice; but because he does not fit the mold of previous portrayals of Hook, his fresh take of the character is very welcome. Anna Friel as the pirate lass Elizabeth Bonny has the charm of Penelope Cruz in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film, but is different enough to not cause discontent on the viewer’s behalf. The real show stealers are Peter and the Lost Boys. Charlie Rowe as Peter is the best male casting of Peter Pan I have ever seen, even better than Jeremy Sumpter in the 2003 live-action film. The boys each have strong personalities that offer individuality to their roles, making their scenes very enjoyable to watch.

As this is a made for television series, the graphics are at times cheesy and lacking, but not distracting enough to take away from the story itself. The writing was surprisingly strong with a thick plot and good characterization. I didn't see a few twists coming and I found the last line of the show to be completely genius. This is definitely a collection children will enjoy over and over, as well as their adult counterparts who revel in quality re-imaginings of classic stories.

Special Features Breakdown

The Story Behind The Story: Cast Interviews - There are four different sections for Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel, Bob Hoskins, and Charlie Rowe to discuss their roles in the project. Each actor is asked a series of typical questions which didn’t give me much information but may help those unfamiliar with Peter Pan just enough backstory.

Green Screen to Scene - Dual screens offer a comparison of on set filming and post production video. The concept, while not new, is interesting, especially seeing actors engage each other in front of green screen walls, but not enough variety in the behind the scenes footage is shown which makes it monotonous and run long.

Journey Into Neverland: Art Gallery - We are shown two pages of storyboards from the script without no commentary to give further information. This feature could have been more interesting but the lack of details leaves it rather bland.

Neverland: Access All Areas - This wonderfully assembled mini documentary on the making of the film offers insight into how the show's sets were built and process of recreating a legendary story. At over 22 minutes long I finally have the behind the scenes look I wanted, and it does a solid job of being both informative and entertaining.

4 Stars

From visionary director Nick Willing (Alice, Tin Man) comes a never-before-told origin story based on J.M. Barrie’s beloved classic fairytale starring Rhys Ifans (Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1, The Amazing Spider-Man), Golden Globe® nominee Anna Friel (“Pushing Daisies,” Limitless), Academy Award® nominee Bob Hoskins (Snow White And The Huntsman, Mona Lisa) and featuring the voice of Academy Award® nominee Keira Knightley (Pride & Prejudice, Pirates Of The Caribbean).

An “appealing” fantasy adventure that is “as much Dickens, Tolkein and J.K. Rowling as it is J.M. Barrie” (USA Today), NEVERLAND follows a young pickpocket named Peter (Charlie Rowe; Never Let Me Go, Pirate Radio) and his ragtag gang of “lost boys.” Presided over by Jimmy Hook (Ifans), the group is suddenly transported to a magical world called “Neverland” where time stands still. There they meet the gorgeous but deadly pirate, Elizabeth Bonny (Friel), who has ruled the seas of Neverland for nearly two centuries, Smee (Hoskins, reprising the role he made famous nearly 20 years ago in Hook), and a courageous Tree Spirit named Tinker Bell (voiced by Knightley).

A sweeping, unforgettable epic filled with iconic characters, NEVERLAND also stars Charles Dance (“Game Of Thrones”), Q’orianka Kilcher (A New World) and Raoul Trujillo (Cowboys & Aliens). The NEVERLAND Blu-ray and DVD, loaded with bonus features including cast interviews, behind the scenes looks, storyboards and more, comes housed in collectible packaging with limited edition character postcards, and will be available for the suggested retail price of $29.97 and $19.97, respectively.