A few days ago, I was sent an early Blu-ray copy of PAN from Warner Bros. PAN is a prequel story to Peter Pan, telling the origin story of both Peter and Captain Hook. Peter is a 12-year-old rebellious boy living in an orphanage during WWII London. After running afoul of the matron, he is taken by pirates to Neverland. Once there, he learns that he is destined to be a hero and defeat Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). With the help of Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and a miner named James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), Peter must learn who he is & believe in himself in order to save Neverland.
I wasn’t sure what to except with this movie. I had heard a little bit about it, and most of that wasn’t good. So I tried to keep an open mind when I watched it. My daughter sat down with me to watch it too (she’s 5). The movie jumps right into the action from the beginning. We are treated to a London air raid, which is followed up by the London Air Force chasing a flying pirate ship around the skyline. Even the initial introduction to Neverland is breathtaking due to the wonderful visuals and effects. In fact, the visuals are stunning through the whole move. However, despite its strong start, the plot completely falls apart upon arrival at the fairy dust mines.
As the ship pulls in to offload is cargo of kidnapped orphans, they are greeted to literally every pirate & working singing Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. I’m not joking. Even Hugh Jackman was singing it, which was a mix of disturbing & horrifying. It was so distracting that I couldn’t concentrate on anything that was going on while I was trying to figure out why they would be singing it in 1944/1945. They then broke out in Blitzkrieg Bop by The Ramones about 5 minutes later when they were making Peter walk the plank. It was beyond confusing. It could have easily been explained by some quick mention of some sort of time travel going on, but they just left it hanging.
There were a few big plot holes as well, one being the ‘rejuvenation’. This scene takes place around the time that Peter and Hook escape. Essentially, Blackbeard is really an old man & he uses some sort of powder/magic to become young again. Like the songs, there is no explanation or follow up. It would have been a very interesting sub-plot, but left how it was it ended up being distracting.
About the only good point left for the movie was Hugh Jackman. He went completely over the top and pretty much railroaded over everyone else in his scenes. I thought it was refreshing since I’ve gotten so used to seeing him as Wolverine. Hook’s character was extremely lacking and could have been handled much better. He mostly acted as comic relief unless needed to steer Peter in the right direction. His voice got annoying very fast also. The boy playing Peter was good and so was Rooney Mara, but it just wasn’t enough to help carry the film.
My daughter, like me, was really into it at the start. But she checked out at the mine scene. Even she was confused by the songs, and made of point of saying that they didn’t make any sense. She came in and out enough to keep up with what was going on & enjoyed the final fight scene. But, any happy feels were killed with the final scene of Hook sailing his ship out of London…complete with ‘Jolly Roger’ on the back in red/pink neon lights (one of which was blinking).
Overall, I spent overall half of the movie scratching my head. Despite the good start and the stunning visuals, the plot and the ‘creative direction’ killed it for me. Now, if you are looking to see Hugh Jackman do something vastly different or want to see the visuals, then you might enjoy it. It will be available on Digital HD December 15, and Blu-ray combo pack December 22. You can get more info at the official website.
I received the above mentioned item for free to help facilitate my review. All opinions are 100% my own.