Pan Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
Dancing, singing as well as bright & colourful costumes. Thinking about it, this movie partially resembled Spielberg’s Hook but sadly Pan is a mere shadow of the Peter Pan myth and their cinematographic depictions.
Genre: Adventure / Drama / Fantasy
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Adeel Akhtar, Amanda Seyfried, Nonso Anozie & Cara Delevingne.
Run time: 111 min.
US Release: 09 October 2015
UK Release: 16 October 2015
German Release: 08 October 2015
Pan is the character's origin story created by Scottish novelist J.M. Barrie. The script was written by Jason Fuchs and is supposed to be very loosely based on the book “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens”. This plot though, depicting a return to Neverland, has nearly nothing of the original Peter Pan mythos.
The story of Peter Pan was one of my childhood favourites told by my grandmother and mother, before my sisters and I were put to bed. My parents took me to the cinema when they replayed the Disney version, Spielberg’s Hook and the 2003 live-action adaption were part of my childhood and adolescence. I was therefore extremely disappointed when the credits rolled on this one.
The plot revolves around a young Peter (Miller) who lives in an orphanage, after having been abandoned by his mother. He figures out that pirates are taking the boys at night and during one of the attacks on London by the Luftwaffe, he is being kidnapped as well. Soon he finds himself in Neverland, being enslaved by Blackbeard (Jackman) to work in the mines and it is there where he befriends James Hook (Hedlund).
During a misunderstanding and closely escaping death, Peter and Hook decide to try and make a run out of the mines and bump into Tiger Lily (Mara) on their way to freedom. She takes them back to her clan, and it is there that Peter finds out that he is destined for greatness. Blackbeard soon finds them and Peter takes up the courage to fight him.
I found the first quarter of the movie, which played at the Orphanage, to be all right and watchable. It shared similarities with Oliver Twist and the nuns were comical villains. But after Peter, and therefore the viewer, is being taken to Neverland, the quality of the fantasy film quickly declines.
Past the second half, escaping the mines and when we meet the native tribe at their hideout, Pan simply turns unbearable. One of the worst dialogue lines in this film is the last words shared between Pan and Hook and was dreadful!
The fast-paced nature of Pan, set up by director Wright, gives no time for any sort of character development and the computer effects look terrible, but more on that later. By the end, in a matter of two minutes, Peter goes from being the child who does not believe to Peter Pan, the saviour of Neverland.
This movie failed at reflecting what J.M. Barrie intended Peter Pan to be; a place that is meant to spark imagination, no matter the age of the person, and this movie miserably neglected that.
Peter Pan was not exactly portrayed well by Levi Miller, but I don’t blame him for it. I liked him during the scenes at the Orphanage and throughout the episodes in the mines at Neverland, but after that Joe Wright’s direction spiralled out of control and the poor boy had no clue what he was supposed to do anymore.
Hugh Jackman did a good job as the scary and frightening pirate Black Beard, but he was also really campy. If anything though, I would say that he was my favourite character in the movie. Hook was abysmal; there are no other words to explain it. I don’t know who told Hedlund to speak in that voice, but my god it made me want to scratch my ears out!
Tiger Lily was a casting choice I did not understand and I really don’t care about what anyone else says (especially the stupid IMDb boards), matter of fact is the natives of Neverland had been portrayed as Native Americans. Therefore I did not buy Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily and I hated that they tried sneaking in a romantic subplot between her and Hook.
The cinematography was a joke and as soon as it went to Neverland, the film turned into a CGI hell-fest. There was not one shot that looked real it looked fake and manufactured. The entire computer-generated creatures looked like they were taken from a cheap TV movie. The colours used by the natives were enhanced so much; it felt like an aggressive assault on my eyes.
The only effects I enjoyed, were the colourful clouds these natives exploded as. A nice idea, but even that was unoriginal since we saw something similar in Kingsmen, which also came out this year.
The most confusing part of Pan though, must be the musical choice. There is no reason, or sense for that matter, why the miners and pirates are singing rock songs from the 80s and 90s since they don’t define this movie at all. I was simply baffled by those three musical entrees and could not understand why they had been included.
Verdict: Pan is a sorry try at a prequel of the mythos created by J.M. Barrie. Director Jon Wright and writer Jason Fuchs completely missed the point of the story, of the boy that never grew up, is about. The effects are poor and there are three musical scenes that have nothing to do with the plot. I give Pan a 5.0 out of 10 and don’t recommend you go see this in theatres. If you want a good Peter Pan story go and buy the Walt Disney version, the 2003 live-action adaption or Spielberg’s Hook.