Pan: Review

Written by: Stef Atega

Film | Oct 18, 2015

Joe Wright Pan Peter Pan

The supposed prequel to the classic fairy tale fantastically flops not just in its attempt to portray Peter Pan's origin, but also in its chance to relive the magic of its beloved characters. After watching this, one must ask, do we really care about Peter Pan's beginnings in the first place?

The plot lines arguably do not flow fluidly. The first half started on a strong note, only to be let down by the rushed, underdeveloped scenes in the second half.

The premise begins on the streets of London, where a young woman, mommy Pan, leaves baby Peter on someone's doorstep. This baby didn't have a lightning scar on his head, but instead wore a necklace that resembles a pan flute.

Fast forward to several years later when it shows Peter's 12-year old self, in an orphanage for little boys, run by evil nuns. Peter and his friend set out to discover why some of the other kids disappear at night, never to be seen again. The scenes that follow comprise mainly of the pair's mischief at play, which was admittedly a tad enjoyable to watch. Levi Miller pulls audiences in with his boyish, spunky flair.

As it turns out, these wicked nuns sell their orphan boys to mysterious pirates, who drop down from the ceiling and pluck the clueless lads from their slumber. As expected, Peter himself gets kidnapped and is taken away to a far away, mystical place called Neverland. This is where the film starts to plummet. 

First off, the flying ship lands at a mining pit filled with thousands of workers. This is where the villain, Captain Blackbeard, played by Hugh Jackman, appears for the first time. As he enters the scene to check out his new batch of orphans, the workers around him chant to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Why they decided to include that soundtrack there, I don't know, but it feels terribly out of place.

We are then introduced to James Hook, who becomes Peter's adventure buddy for the rest of the story. What is frustrating here is that although Peter and Hook are together for most of the time, the script failed to delve more into the relationship between the two. We were given only a shallow dynamic duo, with generic dialogues and annoyingly cheesy lines. In fact, most of the lines uttered in this movie would make you roll your eyes, like when Peter tells the villain Captain Blackbeard, "I don't believe in bedtime stories."

Probably the biggest mistake of this film lies in the casting. Garett Hedlund, our Captain James Hook, may be a treat for the eyes but his voice is something entirely different. He exaggeratedly delivered his lines, making his presence on screen tiresome and also quite irritating. Cara Delevingne on the other hand, appeared for only ten minutes of the film, with zero dialogue. It's unfortunate because she has already proven her acting chops in Paper Towns.  

Of course, we have to address the largest elephant in the room: the matter of casting Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily. It's no surprise that Joe Wright had been bombarded with Internet outrage after he chose her to play a character who's supposedly Native American. Sure, the director defended his decision by explaining that the source material never mentioned Tiger Lily as a Native American.  But then again, this is a beloved character, from a story we've known our entire lives. It doesn't matter that Rooney Mara kicked ass in her action scenes. Watching a White Tiger Lily on screen would just not sit well with fans of the classic.

Only Levi Miller and Hugh Jackman stood out in bringing their roles to life, the former successfully portraying a believable early version of the Peter Pan we all know and love, and the latter effectively providing the much needed menacing quality for Blackbeard. 

The movie has no shortage of fancy CGI effects and colorful set pieces. Indeed, Joe Wright painted a beautiful picture of Neverland. But even those couldn't cover for the film's lack of heart and soul and so-so quality.

Again, none of us asked for a reboot or another angle of an already cherished fairy tale. Was it right for them to revisit Neverland? Well, this time, I don't think so.

About the author: Stef Atega

GameGulp's current overlord. Stef is obsessed with cats and anything horror. She also likes shounen anime and Japanese food but refuses to be called a "weeaboo". She believes in the power of indie games.

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