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Review: Pan

Pan
10.07.2015
6 10
 

PLOT: In WW2-era London, young Peter (Levi Miller) is snatched from his orphanage and sent to Neverland, where he’s made a slave under the evil pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). With the help of a roguish fellow prisoner, James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) Peter escapes his fate and discovers a tribe of warriors led by Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and her father, who believe he is the warrior “Pan” as foretold by their legends.

REVIEW: It’s hard not to admire parts of Joe Wright’s PAN. Bound to be something of a commercial flop, it’s actually far better than the lackluster ads would suggest, although having seen the final film for myself I can understand why Warners is taking the safe road with the way it’s selling this radical re-imagining of J.M Barrie’s tale. An origin story depicting Peter’s early days in Neverland, a prequel to Peter Pan is something no one’s cried-out for up to now, but hey –prequels to THE WIZARD OF OZ and SLEEPING BEAUTY did fine, so why not one for PETER PAN too?

What the ads aren’t telling you is just how bug-nuts Wright’s variation on the Pan legend tends to be at times. Nothing if not imaginative, and far from subtle, Wright brings the same anarchic energy he brought to HANNA and ANNA KERENINA to this, with some inspired lunacy early-on. Peter’s initial adventures in an English orphanage play out like a homage to David Lean’s version of OLIVER TWIST – on crack. The constantly moving camerawork and broad performances give this a fun house vibe, which is only intensified once we move to Neverland. With good 3D effects (complete with an occasional aspect ratio change or two) and dazzling production design (shot by both Wright regular Seamus McGarvey and THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E’s John Mathieson), PAN is a great looking flick and Wright seems to have been given carte blanche with creating this new world. With Jackman’s pirate crew introduced singing Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit” (obviously added as an opportunity for Jackman to sing a couple of notes), this version of Peter Pan is even more out there than Steven Spielberg’s HOOK.

However, after a downright kick-ass first half-hour, PAN starts to lose steam. While the introduction to Neverland is excellent, once Peter escapes the film becomes a run-of-the-mill chase/adventure flick, with the heavy influence of the PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN flicks hard to ignore. One of the big twists is that in this version of the story, Captain Hook is a two-handed adventurer, played by Garrett Hedlund. Dressed like Indiana Jones but written to be just like Han Solo, this feels like a Lucasfilm audition piece for the actor, and Hedlund entertains consistently, even if his affected John Huston-style of speech goes a little overboard. Like young Miller (who plays Peter with an admirable lack of precociousness) once they go on the run, there isn’t much for them to do but swing swords at pirates and run from things. Peter’s motivation that he wants to find his mysterious mother (played by Amanda Seyfried in a cameo) feels like little more than an excuse to tug at the heart strings. The idea of him being a kind of “chosen one” is also thoroughly unoriginal as compared to the wonder of the original story (why does Peter have to be a Jedi?).

As the marginal love-interest for Hook, Rooney Mara doesn’t get too much to do other  than look fetching in her midriff-baring jungle outfits, with her warrior-princess plot/romance with Hook being so reminiscent of STAR WARS it’s almost plagiarism. However, Wright keeps things moving energetically, and the visuals coupled with the great score by John Powell and occasional insane bit of business keep PAN from going too far off the rails. For his part, Jackman seems to be having fun as the camped-up Blackbeard, and many of the wildest scenes involve him. Particularly odd for a kids movie is a bit that shows him smoking pixie dust like opium in order to stay young (I suppose crushing it into dust, cutting it into lines and snorting it would have been too much). Even still, PAN stays pretty family friendly, throughout, with Neverland residents conveniently exploding into colored smoke rather than bleeding when killed. Still, the body count is strangely high.

While it’s a shame PAN isn’t able to live up to the imagination shown in the first half-hour, on the whole it’s still a modestly entertaining family adventure. Ten-twelve year-olds will likely love it, although older kids might prefer something along the lines of THE MARTIAN. Whatever the case, Joe Wright still seems like an incredibly promising director, but hopefully next time he’ll have a strong enough premise that really allows him to unleash his imagination without straight-jacketing him in a STAR WARS clone plot.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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-1
12:48AM on 10/09/2015
This movie looked awful from the first trailer they released. It just looks very unappealing and boring. I hate the white washing of Tiger Lily as well.
This movie looked awful from the first trailer they released. It just looks very unappealing and boring. I hate the white washing of Tiger Lily as well.
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6:14PM on 10/07/2015
Nothing about this seems interesting to me in the slightest way. Everything looks so over the top, like it's trying to beat you over the head with it's elements, and this review kind of confirms that. These imagined origin stories just really aren't working. I'd love to see some original takes on the classic stories, but as for completely making things up, I'd rather they just stopped.
Nothing about this seems interesting to me in the slightest way. Everything looks so over the top, like it's trying to beat you over the head with it's elements, and this review kind of confirms that. These imagined origin stories just really aren't working. I'd love to see some original takes on the classic stories, but as for completely making things up, I'd rather they just stopped.
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5:48PM on 10/07/2015
thanks for the review, I am uncertain if I'm going to watch this. The bit in the preview that shows a young Hook having no idea how to sail a ship bothers me. And Pan is the chosen one because Neverland revolves around him! When he's sad, it rains, when he's gone it's winter...This review has made me lean slightly more towards giving it a try, maybe a matinee.
thanks for the review, I am uncertain if I'm going to watch this. The bit in the preview that shows a young Hook having no idea how to sail a ship bothers me. And Pan is the chosen one because Neverland revolves around him! When he's sad, it rains, when he's gone it's winter...This review has made me lean slightly more towards giving it a try, maybe a matinee.
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10:35AM on 10/07/2015
Film looks fun and very imaginative (which is refreshing to see) and I'm sure it will struggle to make its budget back (domestically at least), but I'm a big fan of Wright (hence my username) and am looking forward to this. Plus, Jackman looks like he's having a hell of a time as Blackbeard.
Film looks fun and very imaginative (which is refreshing to see) and I'm sure it will struggle to make its budget back (domestically at least), but I'm a big fan of Wright (hence my username) and am looking forward to this. Plus, Jackman looks like he's having a hell of a time as Blackbeard.
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8:51AM on 10/07/2015
This review doesn't surprise me. The movie, despite the visuals, never seemed that great or inspired.

Given all the advancements of film making technology, I do not understand filmmakers' insistence on "reimagining" stories or fairy tales to tell a completely different story. Why not just make a straight up Peter Pan movie? There are probably a huge number of kids who have never seen a live action Peter Pan film, so it's not like the target audience for this story doesn't exist.
This review doesn't surprise me. The movie, despite the visuals, never seemed that great or inspired.

Given all the advancements of film making technology, I do not understand filmmakers' insistence on "reimagining" stories or fairy tales to tell a completely different story. Why not just make a straight up Peter Pan movie? There are probably a huge number of kids who have never seen a live action Peter Pan film, so it's not like the target audience for this story doesn't exist.
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8:50AM on 10/07/2015
I'm not sure why Hollywood cranks out these big budget Peter Pan films, when they have no draw to audiences. Hook was made over 20 years ago, and even that Spielberg flick was "meh" to 80% of those who seen it.
I'm not sure why Hollywood cranks out these big budget Peter Pan films, when they have no draw to audiences. Hook was made over 20 years ago, and even that Spielberg flick was "meh" to 80% of those who seen it.
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4:47AM on 10/07/2015
6/10 seems generous even, the trailers make want to punch this movie in the balls.
Wright has made two excellent films (Atonement and Hanna) and a few decent ones (Pride and Prejudice and *gulp* The Soloist) but this turd, along with his dismal rendition of Anna Karenina, tarnishes his name big time.
6/10 seems generous even, the trailers make want to punch this movie in the balls.
Wright has made two excellent films (Atonement and Hanna) and a few decent ones (Pride and Prejudice and *gulp* The Soloist) but this turd, along with his dismal rendition of Anna Karenina, tarnishes his name big time.
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