Pan (2015) Movie Review – The Best Worst Movie You’ll See
When others have carefully tread over one of the world’s most favorite tales, director Joe Wright recklessly sets his latest movie Pan, on a doomed course of mishandled storytelling. With a $155 million budget (most for any movie release in October), Pan is an incredible opportunity plundered in the name of creating another would-be Hollywood blockbuster. Although Hugh Jackman’s stellar performance of Blackbeard helps right this listing ship of a story, the telling of the origins of Peter Pan is scuttled by an incapable cast that is forced to navigate the choppy waters of a poorly woven screenplay full of loose ends and tangled knots.
At the onset, Peter (Levi Miller) is our lead living in a London orphanage during World War II. Orphans are mysteriously disappearing and no one is the wiser until Peter accidentally discovers that the cruel headmaster (Kathy Burke) is selling boys to Blackbeard and his crew. How the relationship between the Headmaster and Blackbeard began is one of the many unanswered questions the audience is left with. It seems as though for every answer given regarding the origins of Peter Pan another is left in its place and these little miscalculations plague the story from beginning to end. The line between the real world and the fantasy are so sloppily crossed, that at one point during Peter’s daring midnight escape from the orphanage, Blackbeard’s flying tall ship engages in a battle with British fighter planes over London. The willingness to so readily tangle the real world to the fantasy world is one of Wright’s biggest errors in Pan. As children, we grow up with this innate notion that fairy tales and magic are reserved for a select few, those who are deemed worthy or those who truly dare to tread where others do not. This is what keeps the magic alive and what keeps us telling the tales. But Wright immediately blurs these lines and hurls the rules over board in order to sensationalize the story. What the audience is left with is an unclear heading into the misty waters of an atypical film. In fact, the only thing that could make the film more cliché than calling Peter the “chosen one’ would be to say, “there is a prophecy” and in fact, there is. Now we have all the elements of a classic Hollywood blunder: a chosen one, a prophecy, blurred lines of reality and typical come-of-age and be-what-you’re meant-to-be story line. In this narrative, the prophecy holds that the “chosen” Pan will come to Neverland and unite the natives in order to liberate the fairies in a revolt against Blackbeard who has hunted them down for their life-giving and healing qualities. Yes, it’s quite a mess. Where the prophecy originated and where Blackbeard came from is still anybody’s guess. As far a we know, they’ve always just been there. Our hero Peter, whom we soon finds out hasn’t figured out how to fly, is quickly captured and sent to toil in Blackbeard’s mines. There he meets and befriends a reluctant, Hook (Garret Hedlung) who is also imprisoned. One of the first things that strikes you about Hook as a character is this: he still hasn’t become “Captain Hook,” as he doesn’t have a ship nor any maritime experience in Pan. But more striking is that he still has two hands. He hasn’t met the crocodile that takes his hand and therefore still doesn’t have the hook as a hand replacement. Growing up, I associated Hook’s name to the hook on his hand, so naming him Hook in this movie adds to the confusion of this already seasick storyline. Hook’s character comes out being a cross between Indiana Jones and almost any role Jim Carey has played but the only thing lacking more spirit than Hedlung’s performance, which can easily be categorized as over-acting, is the irresponsible casting of a white woman as a native girl. Although Rooney Mara pleasantly executes the role of Tigerlilly, we are left wondering about the director’s choices in casting these critical roles. Eventually Tigerlilly teams up with Peter and company, which now includes good old Smie (Adeel Akhtar) and together they plot to conquer Blackbeard once and for all.
Peter finally learns to fly and as the movies reaches full speed, the audience is treated to a healthy dose of well constructed special effects and action packed leaps and bounds. The creativity of effects and scenery helps put some desperately needed wind in Pan’s sails and gives the movie some appeal. No, it’s not the cleanest telling, but Pan still amuses us because it tells about things we’ve always wondered regarding Peter Pan: where did he come from and what’s with the sour relationship with Hook? Who and where are the lost boy’s and when do they arrive into the narrative? Although Wright weaves a tattered if not porous tapestry of the early legend of Peter Pan, in the end, he manages to anchor us in a harbor of happy thoughts.
|Genre:||Adventure, Family, Fantasy|
|Release Date:||October 9th 2015|