Pan takes flight in this Warner Bros live-action prequel to the 1953 Disney animated classic. The story follows Peter’s first trip to Neverland as the young hero strives to find his long lost mother. Filled with action, we meet all the classic character’s; from the mystical mermaids through to Captain Hook himself, in a story that tells the beginnings of the much loved adventure.
Looking at his past, director Joe Wright’s skills sits safely within the Drama genre. Unfortunately, Pan is sandwiched between a slow, rather boring beginning and an unconventional and confusing ending. This adaptation of classic characters does suffer from consistent issues, making it, at times, quite a chore to sit through. With Atonement, Pride & Prejudice and Anna Karenina to Wright’s credits, its somewhat disappointing that we are left with quite an unsatisfying adventure, from someone whose skills ordinarily lie within good story telling.
Although lacking in structure, visually, Pan does look quite good. Scattered with action scenes, the visual effects do help structure the battle sequences – the mid-air pirate ship conflicts look particularly interesting. Beyond these picturesque scenes, there isn’t a lot to shout about.
Given that we are already acquainted with these characters from previous installments, one of the biggest issue of the film comes with the lack of any depth to them. Set before the original, the writer Jason Fuchs, attempts to apply a new structure to relationships previously unseen between characters – Pan and Hook for example. Disappointingly however, he falls short. The underdevelopment of these new relationships causes dissonance between what we are seeing on screen to what we know from previous adaptations and therefore may leave the audience a little confused rather than satisfied. This is without doubt one of the weakness elements of the film and doesn’t really help you feel connected to what you see on screen.
As ever, there is always a silver lining to every cloud – fortunately for us, this time its in the form of Hugh Jackman and newcomer Levi Miller. Playing the roles and Blackbeard and Pan respectively, the two actors emulate their roles well given the lack of character development throughout.
While we are discussing the performances in Pan, its impossible not to mention (or warn about) Garrett Hedlund. Hendlund is in my opinion, undeniably one of the worst things about this film. His take on the character James Hook is terrible, overacting at all possible occasions and seemingly copying the intensity of other actors (eg Heath Ledger) rather than shine through with his own performance. Comparing this to the talent it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Overall, Pan doesn’t manage to climax on the excitement that the trailer delivered. With some plot and character development issues mixed elegantly with Garrett Hedlunds disastrous casting, its really hard to engage and feel completely satisfied given the amount of love circulating around the animated classic.
2.5 out of 5 stars