The lyrical whimsy of 2012 breakout “Beasts of the Southern Wild
” owed some measure of influence to “Peter Pan
,” so it’s no surprise the classic tale of a boy who won’t grow up provides the foundation for director Benh Zeitlin
’s long-awaited followup, “Wendy.” Seven years have passed since “Beasts
” became a surprise cultural phenomenon, blending evocative visuals and an imaginative swampy backdrop with complex emotional themes. It seems Zeitlin has been trapped in a Neverland of his own making all along, because “Wendy” feels as if no time has passed at all.
Zeitlin’s wondrous “Pan” riff feels like such a natural continuation of the “Beasts” experience that it practically unfolds in the same immersive universe — pensive voiceover paired with overwhelming, expressionistic bursts of storybook imagery — taking this unusual epic into abstract places where fantasy gives way to the ominous challenges of the adult world.
As usual, mileage