|Runtime:||1 Hour 51 mins|
|Release Date:||US: 09 Oct 2015
UK: 16 Oct 2015
|See If You Like:||Harry Potter,
Created by Scottish writer J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan is a character whose story should be inspiring adaptations left and right. Neverland is a place filled with eccentric characters and a place where children live forever, but all we’ve been given is mediocre films and merchandise. Anna Karenina director Joe Wright’s effort is a visually spectacular one, but even he can’t seem to find the right balance between action and drama.
In this revised telling, Pan (Levi Miller) is an orphan who is stolen from his bed and taken to the magical realm of Neverland. He’s made to work in the mines, digging for lost fairy treasure, called Pixum. He eventually learns that there is a prophecy that tells of a magical boy who can fly, and he will overthrow the tyrannical pirate Blackbeard (a gonzo Hugh Jackman, X-Men: Days of Future Past). He is whisked away, along with James Hook (Garrett Hedlund, Tron: Legacy) and Mr. Smee (an underused Adeel Akhtar, The Dictator), and they come across Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), a warrior who helps Peter come to terms with his past, and what he must prepare for in his future.
Starring in the titular role is young Australian Levi Miller. Although the lad’s cockney accent is spot on, and he embodies an inspiring persona for the younger audience, his dialogue is campy and over-the-top, and he just can’t get us to care about the boy as much as we should. Another talented actor whose bravado performance is also let down by cringeworthy exposition is Garrett Hedlund, while Rooney Mara’s costume gives a more committed performance than she does. On top form, though, is Hugh Jackman. His bonkers performance is one of the few highlights of the film, and he seems to be having a great time as Blackbeard, a mad pirate who spends most of the time with his arms in the air and screaming his head off.
Pan features, without a doubt, some of the most dazzling imagery seen in any film so far this year. Wright’s direction is masterful; he has made this vibrant world his own, and filled it with crazy characters and riveting action sequences. The film is heavy on CGI, of course, but Wright obviously has a knack for the extravagant, and his sweeping views accompanied by the lush cinematography (pals John Mathieson and Seamus McGarvey) make Pan a sumptuous feast for the eyes.
Billed as an origin story, the main narrative of Pan may be one most viewers are unfamiliar with. This makes for a convoluted set of characters as the film spends a lot of time setting everybody up for future movies down the line. Fans of the story will know that Hook is not such a good guy after all, but Pan doesn’t reference this one bit. Fuchs had a chance to install some foreboding into the audience and leave us a touch more excited for further films, but instead he is portrayed more of a heroic Indiana Jones-like figure with absolutely no background or intrigue at all.
While Pan‘s character drama can’t even begin to challenge its breathtaking visuals, children will be captivated by its resplendent, kinectic storytelling and left inspired by the leading star. Adults, on the other hand, may find the film a tough slog to sit through, but should still find some enjoyment in the movie’s sly humour and Hugh Jackman’s manic performance.
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