Pan is the most awful piece of tripe I’ve possibly ever seen. At least Nicholas Cage in the Wicker Man remake was funny, this film is confused, rushed, boring and lacking in emotion and logic. It’s meant to be a prequel to Peter Pan, but with that story taking place in the early 1900’s, and this one being set in the 1940’s, well, it hardly makes sense.
It uses many of the same characters, like Tiger Lily, the Lost Boys and Captain Hook, who in this film is an American Gold Rush miner, and of course there’s Neverland, which looks like the set of Lazy Town or a BBC kids TV show, but never quite works as a story.
Perhaps the best way to explain this film is to give you an early example of it’s inherent confusion. The bad guy in this film is a pirate called Blackbeard, played by Hugh Jackman, who is buying kids from orphanages in London (and presumably elsewhere) to work mining fairy dust. His entrance involves an entire mining community of boys and young men singing Nirvana lyrics. Why? Why are they singing Nirvana? It doesn’t fit the film. It doesn’t fit the period. And it doesn’t match up with anything else in the film thematically or musically.
Like so many aesthetic and tonal choices in this film, it is never explained. Also beyond explanation is how they got Hugh Jackman to star in this film. Or anyone else. But here they all are, Rooney Mara, Garrett Hedlund and a wee cameo of Cara Delivigne as several mermaids (why do they all look the same? That’s odd). It’s directed by Joe Wright too, who gave us Atonement and Pride and Prejudice, so what happened?
The plot itself is odd. Peter is taken to Neverland, and his ability to very rarely be able to fly suggests that he’s a child from a prophecy who can overthrow the evil Blackbeard, with the help of his new friends Tiger Lily and Mr Hook. But he just wants to find his mother, who he knows must be around here somewhere. Clearly the original idea that she is in London waiting for her child, who left with the fairies, to return, and has given up all hope just wasn’t going to work. But this change means that it doesn’t really fit as a prequel, since none of this comes from the source material. And what it translates to is many loosely connected scenes which rush one to the next, so that there are no moments for characters and their thoughts and feelings about each other to develop, and so that we can be rushed through all the places or people that need to be ticked off on our Neverland checklist.
Nothing here is clever or original, and a lot of it is awkward and jarring (don’t get me started on how crappy the Neverbirds look), most of it doesn’t make much sense or fit together with any kind of tone or logic. It’s a huge mess.
EXTRAS: Thankfully only one, The Boy Who Would Be Pan (6:00), which involves much gushing about the film in voice over about how it's bringing Peter Pan to a younger audience.