Cast: Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, and Levi Miller
Director: Joe Wright
Pan is a prequel to the popular Peter Pan story, and in my opinion it was masterfully well done. When I went to see it in the theater; I had generated certain ideas in my mind for what would be included in the story, so I was pleasantly surprised when it did not quite pan out the way I thought it would.
When you go to see it; an important thing to keep in mind about Pan is that it is geared more toward children, so adjust your expectations accordingly. There is not even one curse word uttered in its entirety, which is actually something I respect.
A brief synopsis of this film is as follows: opening on London, a woman drops off her infant son, Peter (Levi Miller) at the door of an orphanage. Twelve years later, in World War II, Peter has been raised in not-so-pleasant conditions, by corrupt nuns who work with pirates from Neverland. They sell the orphans to the pirates to work in pixie dust (pixom) mines for Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), and that is just what happens to Peter. Once Blackbeard discovers that Peter could be the boy prophesied to kill him, Peter goes on the run with his newfound friends, Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and Smee (Adeel Akhtar), and journeys into the forest of Neverland to try to find his mother. While there, they become captured by the natives, including the beautiful princess Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara). As Peter attempts to find his mother, characters must choose sides as they find out that Blackbeard wants to destroy the fairies and capture all the pixom, potentially bringing an end to their happy world.
The majority of this film is set in a place called Neverland, which allowed the director to include a variety of strange new things, all while mostly sticking true to the concepts from the original fairy tale people are familiar with. From giant crocodiles, and villagers that die in a puff of brightly colored smoke, to multiple flying pirate ships and enormous mines deep in the ground (not unlike the sinkholes on the planet Utapau from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The Sith (Lucas, 2005)), this movie has an abundant yet fantastic use of CGI. I did not find it to be distracting.
I have to say that I found the acting in this movie to be phenomenal. I thought all of the actors did a marvelous job, including the child actors (not something you can always say in movies). My favorite performance was Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of the infamous pirate, Blackbeard. I had never seen Jackman play the role of a villain before, so I was slightly skeptical that he could pull it off, but he did not disappoint.
Perhaps my only somewhat negative critique of this film is the chanting/singing of the song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by the band Nirvana. Since this film is supposed to be set during World War II, singing a song that was not yet written somehow seemed to pull me out of the film’s experience. Afterward, I decided to look into the song to see why it was chosen, and I found a link to the movie. When Nirvana wrote the song, they wanted to do it in the style of a band called the Pixies, and in the Peter Pan story, Peter uses pixie dust, so, there is a method behind the madness; you just have to look for it. I say this is somewhat negative simply because I believe the average movie-goer is not going to realize the history of that song, so that part of the movie will most likely cause some head-scratching.
If you want a great adventure story, I definitely recommend placing Pan on your movie list!