I recently watched the movie Pan and did a short review on the 5 lessons one can pick from the Pan movie. I personally enjoyed the movie because I had no expectations of it and when I went to watch it. In my mind I was watching it as an independent film, separate to the original Peter Pan animations, and/or plays.
After listening to a few other opinions, and reading up on other reviews online I realized the general after-feeling for most of those who were excited to see this film was disappointment. After watching the movie myself, and hearing their expectations I understand why.
Joe Wright’s multimillion-dollar prequel has already proved an unloved progeny, abandoned at the US box office amid gloating “Pan gets panned” headlines. In my opinion it’s actually not that bad, although crucially, it’s not that good either.
Pan, which is supposed to be an “origin story” begins in World War II London, where infant Peter’s mother (Amanda Seyfried) drops him at an orphanage so dismal and corrupt, with a bunch of old nuns. The one in charge, being Kathy Burke’s Mother Barnabas. Every morning when he wakes up, another few beds in the dormitory are empty, and when they discover a literal pot of gold in The Old nun’s room, Peter’s convinced that something funny is afoot. The boys assume evacuation is to blame, but Peter is proved right when they discover that Mother Barnabas has been selling the boys a few at a time to a crew of Neverland pirates.
Soon Peter gets kidnapped by these pirates as well and finds himself in Neverland where those actual adventures begin. All the kids that have been stolen are discovered to be working in a mining operation for the evil Captain Black Beard (played by Hugh Jackman). The mining operation is in search for fairy dust, which is always given to the Captain and no one knows what he does with it.
At this time Peter meets Hook, who is incredibly different from the picture painted in our minds of Hook by Disney. Instead of a one-eyed crook with a hook for a hand, Hook starts out as a genuinely nice adventurer type who reminds me a lot of Indiana Jones. They become fast friends, and hatch a plan to escape the camp.
Along the way they meet princess Tiger Lily (played by Rooney Mara) and learn of the prophesy about Peter being the one to save Netherlands from Blackbeard. They meet a huge crocodile, get saved by mermaids, and finally towards the end get to experience a few fairy-dusted moments in the Fairy Kingdom.
There were a number of discrepancies in this movie that brought out such a negative view of it.
- One the story is fairly predictable and had no mind blowing scenes so if you were expecting a lot you end up leaving the cinema feeling slightly cheated.
- Secondly James Hook and Peter Pan’s relationship is radically different from the original story. Even though it is meant to be a pre-quell it would have made more sense if a rift started between the two who later on became arch enemies.
- Thirdly, the princess Tiger Lily probably did not get the best casting role as she is meant to have the features of a Native American princess yet Rooney Mara is as Caucasian as they come.
- Lastly, the world of Neverlands and Peter Pan rely heavily on the presence of fairies and fairy dust. Yet the fairies played a less than five minute scene towards the end as tiny buzzing lights that would fly around more like dragon flies than anything else. Most disappointing, probably, was that Tinkerbelle’s role was probably two seconds long as she flew around in the tiny bug-lit form, talking to Peter in a the high pitched, buzzing, fairy language which is in-comprehensible to us.
All in all Pan is probably not going to win the movie award of the year, but it is a great watch for kids and like I mentioned in the earlier article there are lessons to be picked from it.
Rating: PG (for fantasy action violence, language and some thematic material)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: Joe Wright
Written By: Jason Fuchs, J.M. Barrie
Stars: Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund
Runtime: 1 hr. 51 min.