My initial reaction to Pan’s theatrical trailer went something like this, “What the living heck is this? Another live-action Peter Pan interpretation starring Hugh Jackman, if he was playing a character in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland?” Come on people! Not even the great Steven Spielberg could make a good live-action Peter Pan movie (I am of course talking about Hook)! What makes you think the director of Pride and Prejudice has a chance? Pan is directed by Joe Wright and adapted from J.M. Barrie’s play, by Jason Fuchs. Stars-Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Rooney Mara, and Garrett Hedlund. Premise-A prequel (sort of) to the classic Peter Pan story, Pan follows a boy named Peter from being taken from an orphanage to a magical place called Neverland. There, he will discover his destiny, and encounter many friends and enemies.
Don’t watch this movie. I’m just going to say that right off the bat. There are way more problems with this movie than I ever expected! It is going to take a while to go over them all. Let’s begin with what little redeeming qualities this movie has. First, the premise. I will say that the idea of making a movie about how Peter Pan became Peter Pan has a lot of potential to it. As far as acting goes (which I’ll get to later) the only decent actor in the whole dang movie is Levi Miller. His performance is by no means up to par, but he’s passable (which is more that I can say for the adult actors in this movie). Finally, the special effects. On occasion, there will be one impressive effect or a cool set piece, but those are few and far between.
Let’s begin with the acting (because what I saw was truly an experience). First off, just as I feared, Hugh looks absolutely ridiculous! His costumes look like a mash of outfits from different eras, and the makeup is even more so. His acting though *laughs hysterically, then collects self-*, is the most overly dramatic performance I have ever seen from him (and he was in Les Misérables)! Look, creators of this movie, what made Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow great, was how perfectly well his personality matched with the character design (and his costume didn’t have the bottom of a wedding dress attached to it). Jackman’s drama cannot be taken seriously when he looks like that! Because of this, whenever he was on screen, it provided many (unintended) laughs due to how over-the-top he is. The rest of the cast is not much better. Rooney Mara keeps this dumfounded expression on her face for most of the movie, and Garret (who dresses like Indiana Jones for some reason) goes through most of the movie shouting his lines and mugging for the camera. After a while, his acting will either annoy you, or make you laugh (like I did) at how over-the-top he is.
For a movie which loves to showcase its visuals in the trailers, those same visuals are extremely unimpressive when I actually saw them. It would be less atrocious, if 75% of the movie was computer-generated! Seriously, there is even a scene where a CGI Levi Miller floats around in space. This movie also showcases the most obvious green screen I have seen in a movie since Green Lantern. In one scene, a bunch of exposition is delivered via very, very, very, very, very horrible CGI stop-motion which distracted me from the exposition I was supposed to follow (by the way, that idea and effect was done much better in Man of Steel). I officially gave up on this movie when a certain “animal” showed up on screen. For the sake of spoilers, I will just say this: these “things” are some of the worst designed, horribly rendered, scarily uncanny creatures I have ever seen in a movie!
You know the aspect I value most in any production (especially in film) is the story. I don’t need to go over the reason why, since I did that in a previous review. This film’s story is driven by one of the biggest screenwriting McGuffins ever written: the prophecy plotline! Not to say that occasionally a good story couldn’t come out of using this technique (The Omen), but this falls into the “lazily put together” group which also holds The Phantom Menace and Alice in Wonderland (2010). All the prophecy story clichés are in this movie, and they even steal a plot point from the story of Sleeping Beauty (wrong classic play, guys)! As for the characters, all of them are uninteresting! Peter, Hook, Tiger Lily, the only one who I was interested in was Blackbeard, and they never give him any development. Speaking of characters, there are about 100 clichéd and implausible decisions they make. However, the nail in this movie’s story is the fact that they never explained how peter and Hook became enemies. If there was one thing, ONE thing this movie NEEDED to do, it was explaining how Peter and Hook became enemies!
Honestly, there was even more problems with this movie than I had in mind, but I really want this review to be under two pages long. I used four pages of my notebook on this movie’s atrocities (I have never gone over three)! Please, do not see this movie; watch Disney’s Peter Pan, or The Visit, or The Martian, or Hotel Transylvania 2, anything besides this movie! Pan gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a D. On a side note, this is my 50th film review!