Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast
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Pan is finally out in theatres across the globe and our Lead Film Critic Jordan Samuel is here to tell us how the film panned out – literally.
Growing up, the Peter Pan story never interested me, even though Disney’s animated version was adored by many. I just remember loving how visually enchanting the film was with its likeable characters minus annoying the Tinkerbell.
2003’s attempt was beloved by critics, but then so where Hook, Finding Neverland and others. This story has been retold multiple times to each new generation. Now, fast forward to 2015, where we have the latest adaptation that will be tell the story of how Peter Pan became the loveable rogue who won’t grow up.
But times have changed, with many young people falling out of love with Peter Pan for edgier heroes. Does this reboot inspire another generation?
Find out as ComiConverse returns to Neverland
Living a bleak existence at a London orphanage, 12-year-old Peter (Levi Miller) finds himself whisked away to the fantastical world of Neverland. Adventure awaits as he meets his new friend James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and the warrior Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara). They must band together to save Neverland from the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Along the way, the rebellious and mischievous boy discovers his true destiny, becoming the hero forever known as Peter Pan.
Pan is directed by Joe Wright, as he tries to reinvent “Peter Pan as the boy who wouldn’t grow up, but sadly this outing heavily relies on the audience knowing its story. I was happy to see that Joe was trying to utilize the Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia approach, setting up sequels is something unique for Peter Pan franchise.
But he fails at bringing credible stories to the table, with silly plot points that do not make any sense including Hugh Jackman’s Blackbeard signing Nirvana tracks. Peter is abducted from his orphanage by the people of Neverland for child labor within the first five minutes. Its just silly.
This reboot also has a problem when it comes to Joe Wright’s direction, which feels, at times, like it was filmed almost entirely on a giant green screen. The 3D effects, for the most part, are magical in Pan but from time to time they look dated.
Pan cinematographers Seamus McGarvey (Wright’s frequent collaborator) and John Mathieson need credit here also, as – when everything is done right – the film does looks outstanding.
The casting also feels questionable, with Rooney Mara not cutting it as the warrior princes Tiger Lily; her strange expressions coming across as cheap pantomime.
Garrett Hedlund is decent as James Hook even though he sounds twice Pan’s age, making certain situations very awkward. I did like the differences between him and Blackbeard one is cocky while the latter is just insane.
Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard is strangely perfect casting, but the script writing doesn’t allow him to bring his greatest potential to the character. I just don’t understand why they forced him to sing Feels like Teen Spirit.
I mean, really?
Levi Miller on the other hand is trying his best as Peter Pan, but just lacks the confidence to define the role. Don’t get me wrong, I like the kid. He’s got talent. But casting him in this role was the film’s biggest mistake, with each scene just feeling awkward to watch.
I will say that I love the sequences between him and Blackbeard, which felt like something straight from the source material.
Action works well, but it just lacks the imagination of the original film. Guns look like toys with no real danger being given to the characters.
Pan is a disappointingly average flick that fails at setting up a franchise. After watching it, I asked myself this question:
Was this necessary Hollywood?
Hopefully the answer will be confirmed at the box office.
Jordan Samuel is the Lead Film Critic for ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @LoadingBarsUK
Pan is a skippable pantomime adventure that fails to equal or surpass the source material in any way.