Director Joe Wright attempts a steampunk-fantasy tale in Pan, to mixed results. Orphan Peter (played charmingly by newcomer Levi Miller) discovers he is destined to overthrow pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), who will do anything to get his hands on fairy dust. Peter, on a personal mission to find his mother, teams up with hookless Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and the feisty Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) to defeat the pirates and save the fairies. For a PG movie, Pan is surprisingly dark with little regard for both life and plot, with boys falling to their deaths and natives bizarrely exploding into color powder when they die.

The idea of Neverland itself requires the suspension of disbelief—but Pan is simply asking too much with its overt use of CGI. And there was that odd (though strangely rejuvenating) scene of Lost Boys singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” even though the story supposedly takes place during World War II. Other unexplained elements include caverns of green calcite fairy dust, fish in the sky, and Cara Delevingne-mermaids (every mermaid has her face). These are the results of the half-cooked plot that ultimately fails its quest to explain how Pan came to be. Perhaps filmmakers are leaving space for a sequel, but it feels a bit of a cop-out when we never learn exactly how Hook and Pan became such enemies.

The cast is mismatched, with the exceptions of truly Pan-esque Levi Miller and evil, comedic Hugh Jackman. Rooney Mara as the fearless warrior is a marvel to watch, even though she’s not quite perfect for the role of a tribal princess. Garrett Hedlund strikes me more as an unoriginal Indiana Jones/Han Solo than a Hook.

My original love of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan will forever remain—and Pan, on the bright side, has furnished that love with Miller’s near-perfect embodiment of Pan and spectacular overtures composed by the talented John Powell. It’s just a pity Joe Wright’s reimagining of the legend’s beginning falls short of the breathtaking wonder Neverland is supposed to evoke.


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About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a sophomore at Yale University. Her college application essay has reached millions across the world and factored into her acceptance by all 8 Ivy League Universities. She’s an award-winning on-camera & print journalist in entertainment and character-driven long-form narrative. As a playwright, she has seen her work come to life across the United States. Instagram/Twitter: @cassandrahsiao Facebook: Blog:

Posted on October 9, 2015, in Movie Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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