Director: Joe Wright
Genre: Fantasy, Children
For people who enjoy watching multi-car pile-ups on YouTube, PAN may be an enjoyable viewing experience. For practically anyone else, from children looking for a good fairy tale to the parents forced to endure this abomination with them, this is guaranteed to be a rough journey to Neverland. A constant stream of baffling storytelling choices leave the audience constantly attempting to direct themselves in a sprawling, meandering narrative; to put it lightly, PAN is a terrible movie that’s neither campy nor entertainingly bad. By the end, it leaves you slack-jawed and marveling at how such an absolute train wreck even made it to the silver screen. A fantasy prequel in the worst sense of the term, PAN is a movie that attempts to explain every detail of the world that it’s depicting while never actually causing the viewer to feel immersed in it. It’s the kind of bloated, CGI-riddled project that mercilessly milks a popular property until it bleeds the limited audience of any interest in giving the film a shot.
The topic of Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily will make its way to Jezebel eventually
PAN is meant to be the story of Neverland long before Wendy, John, and Michael Darling ever encountered Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, focusing on the origin story of Peter instead. You see, Peter, it turns out, was once an orphan in London before he was sold to Neverland pirates, ruled by none other than Blackbeard himself. This is a Neverland torn by war and Blackbeard’s destructive search for “fairium,” crystalized fairy dust. Peter discovers that he is meant to be “the chosen one” who will restore order to Neverland, and he also may have a chance to find his lost mother. The problem with this story is how tediously it repeats the same scene of Peter not being able to believe in himself as the chosen one over and over, rather than having him show any real growth, like some rejected pre-teen stepchild to THE MATRIX.
Never grow up, Neo
While the written dialogue is egregious, it’s the atrocious acting that really dooms this movie to being borderline unwatchable. Hugh Jackman turns in a shallow, vaguely Shakespearean performance as Blackbeard that is constantly irritating and overwrought from the first moment he appears on screen until his ludicrous death by fairies (SPOILERS, I guess.) Levi Miller’s young age shows as he gives ham-fisted lines an entirely plastic sincerity. Not only does Garret Hedlund’s version of Captain Hook make no sense as a character (he is begrudging friends with Peter, while never developing into his nemesis), but Hedlund gives a truly bizarre interpretation. The best way to describe his performance would be Johnny Depp’s version of Hunter S. Thompson attempting to do an impersonation of Captain Hook. Rounding out the whole miserable cast, even Rooney Mara can’t bring her usual taught intensity into an entirely limp writing of Tiger Lily.
Four People who should be looking for new management right about now
Any moments of impressive visual effects, and there are a few, either end too soon or are blatantly ruined by a bad line of dialogue or mugging reaction shot. Cinematographers John Mathieson and Seamus McGarvey are competent in utilizing 3D, but that doesn’t really make up for all the irritating misfires regarding acting and plot. It’s the laziest example of CGI-era filmmaking. Let a brief slew of exciting images momentarily distract the audience from the humdrum story and hope for the best. In the case of PAN, this is a bet that clearly did not pay off, and this movie seems destined to sink further than Captain Hook’s ship. If there’s anything to be gained from this spectacular failure, it’s that it might be the final lesson studios need to understand that the gritty reboot desperately needs to be retired, permanently.
Verdict: Do Not Recommend