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Finding Neverland
DVD disk
03.22.2005 By: Indiana Sev
Finding Neverland order
Director:
Marc Forster

Actors:
Johnny Depp
Kate Winslet
Julie Christie

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
FINDING NEVERLAND tells the sweet, true-life tale of how playwright J.M. Barrie came to find the inspiration for his most famous play – Peter Pan. After his latest play gets panned by the critics, Barrie (Depp) finds solace from his humdrum home-life and lifeless marriage when he befriends a widowed mother of four, Sylvia Davies (Winslet), and begins playing with her kids by acting out little adventures with them and re-energizing their (and his) imaginations in the process. Everybody is happy except for Barrie’s bitter wife (Radha Mitchell) and Sylvia’s even more bitter and nasty mother (Julie Christie).
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This is one of the movies that made my top ten favorite films of 2004 list and experiencing it again on DVD for a second time around I can honestly say that I don’t regret that decision one bit. This is a prime example of a movie that is ideal for those of you who are afraid of British period pieces that, on the outside, look obscenely boring. This film doesn’t boast overly-poetic, overly-perfect and overly-”British” period-dialogue and almost every scene is not only beautiful to watch physically, but just as beautiful to take in mentally. FINDING NEVERLAND has a lightness and pureness to it that makes it a real pleasure to watch. It’s also the perfect movie for that budding little artist you may have in the house; the movie not only shows what the power of imagination can do but it also explores how taking chances on unconventional things is worth the risk sometimes. The movie has an all-around feel-good feel quality to it with enough doses of tear-jerking reality to keep it grounded in order for everybody, young or old, pessimist or optimist, artist or accountant, to be able to relate to it.

It doesn’t hurt that it stars (and yes, I’ll go on and on about her in every review I do, this is one of the advantages of writing reviews for this great website), Kate Winslet, who is not only a frighteningly good actress but also one of the sexiest and most naturally beautiful women to ever grace the silver screen. Radha Mitchell, who plays Barrie’s wife, isn’t exactly a goat either but compared to Kate…well, nobody compares to the lovely Kate. The Davies tots also punch in powerful performances, especially young Peter Davies who is the toughest nut to crack among the children. Throw in a Dustin Hoffman for some extra flavoring and an impeccably bang-on Irish accent by the greatest actor of our generation, Johnny Depp and you have a wonderfully original true-life homage to a man whose play is just as relevant today as it was over a hundred years ago. If that still isn’t enough for you (and it should be, damnit!), the creative direction and engaging musical score are two more reasons to see this. You’re depriving yourself of a wonderful time and a great example of humanity at its finest if you don’t check this one out…
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary with Director Marc Forster, Writer David Magee and Producer Richard Gladstein: I really liked the back and forth between these three guys; they speak at a pretty quick pace and you can sort of tell them apart due to the director’s heavy accent. Hardly any lulls here at all and lots of information thrown around for those of you who loved the film. I usually tune out pretty fast if the commentaries have no steam but this one kept me around for a quite a while…

The Magic of Finding Neverland (16 minutes): This is one of those great behind-the-scenes/interview featurettes that will actually have you dying to see the movie if you haven’t already. There is lots of talk with The Depp and The Winslet with ample clips from their past movies. They even added a lot of background info on the original stage play of Peter Pan as well as all the various incarnations of it on the big screen.

Creating Neverland (3 minutes): A short, but sweet, overview of how they created some of the more ‘special’ effects in the movie. Worth watching…

On the Red Carpet (2 minutes): See the sexicilious Kate Winslet & co. go from red carpet to red carpet as they marvel at the great reception and all the positive reviews their film is getting. This was an enjoyable little feature until that fool Hillary Clinton stepped in and told us that she also liked the film. If this woman had a shred of dignity left I might have cared, but alas…

Deleted Scenes w/Optional Commentary w/ Director, Writer and Producer: 3 scenes here, mostly fluff that was cut-worthy but it merits checking out just to see John Depp smoking a pipe.

Outtakes: Watch these! I’ve laughed at maybe 1% of all the outtakes I have ever seen and this one falls into that very small percentage.

We also get some Sneak Peeks.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This is pure, 100% purchase-worthy cinema. It avoids the traps of pretension, augments the examples of good-old fashioned human decency and casts a true-life angel in human form in it as well (or did I mention her already) - Kate Winslet.
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