My rating: ★★☆☆☆
John went off to be a spy
On Hook’s pirate ship.
But then Michael fell into
The captain’s evil grip.
Luckily John’s trusted friends
Came up with a solution–
When friends work together,
Each one makes a contribution!
And that’s a lovely moral–teamwork–except that the entire plot is driven by the fact that Peter Pan isn’t being much of a team player. The very first page establishes that he is almost always the leader of their little group, even though John is very much annoyed by this and wants his turn.
John grumbled, “Why does Peter always have to be in charge? Just once I’d like to do things my way!”
And there’s nothing wrong with that, of course. John wants a chance, and it’s only fair to give him a chance. So John sets out to prove “how brave and clever he [is]”, in the hope that he can impress Peter into giving him a turn. He and Michael separate from Peter, Wendy, and the Lost Boys, and off they go to do something daring.
They foolishly decide that their something daring will be spy work. They row to Captain Hook’s pirate ship, dressed as pirates, and sneak on board. It isn’t hard to fool First Mate Smee, but Captain Hook’s a little more observant. He feeds John and Michael a nonsense story about preparing to attack Peter Pan, and when John and Michael get a chance to escape, off they go to warn their friend. They think they’re going to be heroes!
As anyone can predict, Captain Hook shadows them, capturing Michael along the way. John runs back to his friends and sister, and Peter realizes that Hook tricked John and Michael. John despairs;
“Peter, I’ve made a terrible mess of things. What are we going to do?
“I’m not sure,” said Peter. “But whatever we do, let’s do it together.”
With Peter, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, and the Darlings working together, getting Michael back is easy. Teamwork at its finest!
Except, no. In the end, John is the only one to learn a lesson. Peter’s behavior is never addressed, and that chance to be in charge that John’s been waiting isn’t mentioned again.
I guess the simple fact of it is that Disney tie-in materials have a tendency to be… sub-par, let’s say. Peter Pan: Friends Ahoy!‘s inadequacy manifests in the form of its broken aesops, and it reflects badly on the beloved classics being exploited. Disney, if you simply have to use beloved characters to write simplistic morality tales, could you at least make sure they make some sense?