A film, devoid of charm, it throws everything bar the kitchen sink into the proceedings. It’s as if the film was conceived by the money men in a Hollywood boardroom. You can only imagine the pitch, a pinch of Harry Potter, a teaspoon of Indiana Jones, a dollop of Lord of the Rings, and a sprinkle of Pirates of the Caribbean and this will translate to box office gold.
The film first appeared to be in trouble in the pre-production phase otherwise known as casting, ignoring the native American origins of Tiger Lily, Rooney Mara was cast instead, a fine actress yet wrong for the whimsy of her character. To add to the errors in judgment the decision to cast Garrett Hedlund as an Indiana Jones version of James Hook, with that WTF vocal interpretation is problematic to say the least. On the plus side Levi Miller as Pan and Jackman as Blackbeard almost save the film from complete disaster.
Pan as conceived by screenwriter Jason Fuchs is an origin story, we are taken back to Peter Pan growing up in an orphanage during the Second World War, run by sadistic, corrupt nuns, the characters in this part of the narrative appear inspired by the works of Dickens. Soon Peter is kidnapped by Blackbeard and transported to Neverland, which initially resembles the dystopian world of Mad Max Fury Road. Overseen by a dictator (Blackbeard) who on occasion breaks into song, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” recalls Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge. An escape is needed once Pan discovers he can fly and next they are literally away with the pixies, introduced to Tiger Lily and briefly Tinker Bell amongst others. More action set-pieces take place before the happily ever after credits begin to roll. A promise of a sequel is hinted at, but will never happen given the outcome of this mess of a film.
Joe Wright has previously adapted some impressive literary adaptations, including Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and most recently Anna Karenina. However this time the spirit of J.M Barrie is completely ignored in favour of an attempt at a theme park ride for its audiences. Jason Fuchs (Ice Age: Continental Drift), treats his characters as caricatures and stereotypes of more original versions. Perhaps the “based on characters introduced by J.M. Barrie” should have been a warning.
Technically Pan is impressive, cinematography from John Mathieson and Seamus McGarvey and production design by Aline Bonetto. 3D visuals help with the flying sequences.