Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Jason Fuchs
Release Dates: October 8
Starring: Levi Miller
Serving as a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan stories, the film loses itself amidst the steampunk design, cliché narrative, laughable script and ruthless fairies. But it had so much potential.
The beginning was promising, starting with a backstory of Peter’s (portrayed by the brilliant newcomer Levi Miller) humble beginnings in a London orphanage during the worst of the Nazi air raids. We learn that his gate-jumping mother left him at the orphanage with nothing but a note and pan-pipes medallion. We see his affinity for mischief and justice, as he undermines authority and tries investigating why the other boys in the orphanage are disappearing. We soon learn that the nun in charge is selling the kids to pirates from Neverland. Pirates that bungee from the ceiling scooping the terrified children while they sleep. Visually it was phenomenal, but what came after is just confusing.
Things start to get muddy as soon as we land in Neverland. First we learn that Hugh Jackman as pirate Blackbeard is mining for fairy dust, or “pixum,” in a desperate attempt to keep his youthful look, like a Neverland Elizabeth Báthory. He uses slave labor to mine the fields.
We also learn that Blackbeard has an attraction to grunge music, as his entire slave team sings along with him to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which makes no sense in the theme of the movie but provided a small number of chuckles throughout the adults in the theater.
To maintain order, Blackbeard routinely makes troublemakers walk the plank into a bed of rocks. Of course, rebel Peter lands on the plank on his first day, but shocks all when he takes flight before hitting the ground. Cue in a prophecy of half fairy, half human boy who will overthrow Blackbeard and win a rebellion for the natives of Neverland and free the fairies who went into hiding.
So Peter sets off with James Hook, a fellow miner and future nemesis, and a white Tiger Lily to take down Blackbeard.
Visually, the movie is phenomenal. Recreating Neverland into the modern day, director Joe Wright created a place full of wonder and CGI. If only he paid more attention to the scenes where Peter flew, as they resembled a limp marionette doll. The film lost its “umph” with the cliché plot and weak script. Fully aware that the film was written for children, it was oftentimes hard to listen to as the characters throw every predictable one-liner into the audience.
Pan had potential, but the visuals and superb performance by the young Miller couldn’t even save this film.
Pan opens this Friday in theaters.