Pan (Joe Wright, 2015)

Fairies, pirates, and Hugh Jackman. This should have been awesome. And it started off looking like it would be. Initial scenes showing Peter (Levi Miller) in the orphanage carry a sense of excitement, and when pirates start bursting down from the ceiling to whisk away the boys on a flying pirate ship, it seems as if we’re in for a treat. The sequence that follows is incredible, and then we end up on Neverland, where a bunch of ferals scream out a Nirvana number which, quite frankly, is odd. You’re not Baz Luhrmann, Joe Wright. If you’re going to insert a random contemporary musical number, YOU NEED TO COMMIT.


Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) makes his entrance, and he’s fun to watch, but it’s difficult to buy our Hugh as a villain. He forces his minions to mine for fairy dust so he can stay young(ish) and it’s here where Peter meets James Hook (Garrett Hedlund). He doesn’t have his hook yet, and he’s charming in an arrogant douche kind of way. When it transpires that Peter can fly, Blackbeard figures out that he is the boy who is set to kill him, as set out in some old prophecy. So basically Blackbeard = Voldemort, Peter = Harry Potter. Peter and Hook escape and find a colourful tribe led by the very white Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara). When they realise who Peter is, they attempt to help him, and then the second half of the movie is just an extended action scene that grows tiresome. Oh, and Cara Delavigne turns up for like, three seconds as a mermaid.

I am totally Native American.
I am totally Native American.

Visually, Pan is a treat, with impressive visual effects, vibrant colours, and a gorgeous looking cast. But under the surface there’s just not much there. This so-called origin story seems unfinished; we don’t see the evolution of Hook, and it feels like this is just a padded out Part 1 in the vein of all those books that got split into two unnecessarily (Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hunger Games: Mockingjay, etc.) The action sequences start off in spectacular style but I lost interest when literally nothing happened in the second half of the film. It’s also worth noting that lots of people die, and whether kids will appreciate this film is questionable.  Peter Pan is a beloved character, but this origin story didn’t cut the mustard.

3 stars

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