REVIEW: ‘Pan’

Director:
Joe Wright
Cast:
Hugh Jackman
Levi Miller
Garrett Hedlund
Rooney Mara
Rated: PG

In the latest adaption of the story featuring a boy who never grows up, Levi Miller is tasked with playing the legendary character Peter Pan. In “Pan,” Peter starts off his journey growing up in an orphanage with less than stellar conditions making up his surroundings.

It all changes, though, when he is whisked away by a group of pirates who are kidnapping orphans.

The pirates, who operate massive flying ships, bring Peter to Neverland and that’s where he comes to meet Blackbeard (Jackman), the leader of the bandits who is using kidnapped orphans to dig for the precious commodity, crystallized fairy dust. Peter decides to get away from the whole situation and does so with the help of a young man named Hook (Hedlund).

The new incarnation of “Pan” starts off with a thud and never recovers. From the start, the orphanage is played up to cartoonish levels where the nuns taking care of the boys are made to be like drill sergeants. They simply came off as needlessly mean and one dimensional when they didn’t necessarily have to be.

Things got worse as the story moves to Neverland, though, as really random events take place. For example, for no reason what so ever, Blackbeard and the pirates sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Moments like this and the scenes at the orphanage made it feel as if the filmmakers were just going for easy pop culture references and jokes rather than an attempt at a fascinating story.

The second and third acts of the film are likely the worst, though, as Peter really gets lost in what’s supposed to be his story. The movie does explore some of his back-story and who his family was, but at the same time during a few key moments it’s as if he takes a back seat to what’s going on. Even during the film’s climactic ending, Peter’s scenes offer nothing more than a “meh.”

With that said Levi Miller was surprisingly the one bright spot when it came to the acting. There were some legitimately heartfelt scenes that were done well mainly thanks to his onscreen performance.

The same can’t be said for Garrett Hedlund who played Hook. Hedlund’s performance was all over the place with every bit of dialogue being delivered in an over exaggerated way and with this odd accent. The performance was honestly distracting and served no purpose.

In theory, having Blackbeard as the original pirate who came to Neverland isn’t a bad idea, however, the movie drops the ball. This film’s Blackbeard had somewhat of an interesting history, however, most of the time he is just portrayed by Jackman who is chewing a lot of scenery.

Even the action in “Pan” feels lackluster. The battles aren’t all that exciting and the CGI is nothing special, in fact it was pretty poor in some places. There’s one scene where the main characters are interacting with these giant birds, and they are terribly animated.

“Pan” certainly introduces some interesting ideas. A different pirate, a different backstory for Hook, seeing how Peter learned to fly and more. The execution with this incarnation was just downright awful, though. 1 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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