Directed by: Joe Wright
Starring: Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman & Garrett Hedlund
Running time: 111 min
There’s a lot of bad reviews for Pan appearing at the minute – there’s even talk that it could end up losing Warners $150m – and to be honest, it’s not perfect, but it’s certainly not that bad.
Set years before the Peter Pan story of old, Pan sees a young Peter (Miller) left at at orphanage during World War I and, after the usual bits and pieces about how evil the nuns are, Peter and his friends are taken in the night by pirates in a flying ship and delivered to Captain Blood Beard’s (Jackman) clutches where he will be made work to find the fairy dust hidden in the mines (kinda like the Temple of Doom scenes). Needless to say, he soon meets a young captain James Hook (Hedlund) and they escape into Neverland where the real fun begins.
First of all, Pan is visually beautiful and, given that it’s Directed by Hanna and Atonement’s Joe Wright, it’s no surprise that’s it’s sumptuous to watch. From the battle in the clouds between a pirate ship and German bombers, to the giant skeletal birds, the movie is always exciting to the eye.
And the story is simplistic, but does some nice things with the Pan Mythology… having Hook and Peter as reluctant friends under the tyranny of scenery chewing Jackman’s pirate is a fun approach and works pretty well in the set up as he’s kind of a evil Hook’s greatest hits. Hedlund does an admirable job with the role, although his over-acting really takes a bit of getting used to but he eventually makes Hook a likeable rogue… I never considered him as a contender for the Indiana Jones role before but with a little toning down and finesse, there could be something there. Just saying.
The standout of the piece is newcomer Miller who is a likeable Peter, full of rebellion and self-worth, he is a believable young version of the hero we all know.
Jackman though is having the most fun of all the cast, be it sword fighting on the bow of the ship or singing Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit (yes, really), Jackman oozes the usual charisma. Oddly, we see him cleaning his hands with what looks like antiseptic had wash, hinting that Neverland is lost in time, sadly it is never really addressed again.
Honestly, it’s hard not to like what is happening onscreen, even when the movie does feel ultimately like it’s a story that doesn’t really need to be told. Is Peter Pan’s origins something that needs telling? Well, at least it’s not just a remake of Disney’s classic.
Alas, it does suffer from very below par effects in places… Peter seems to be CGI more often that real and looks like the kid in Polar Express a fair bit. Which is weird.
It’s nowhere near as disastrous as Spielberg’s Hook, so that at least is to be grateful for and, at the end of the day, it’s still a kid’s movie albeit an ambitious one and I took my six and nine-year-olds to it and they both had a blast… in fact, my son told me afterwards that he really hopes there’s a sequel because he NEEDS to know what happens between Peter and James Hook. And at the end of the day, what more could you ask for?
3 out of 5 Nerds