Movie Review – Pan (2015)

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Director: Joe Wright

Stars: Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Noomi Rapace, Adeel Akhtar, Nonso Anozie, Amanda Seyfried, Kathy Burke, Lewis MacDougall

Pan is the latest in the line of untold stories that predate classic tales about classic characters. So far I think on the whole they’ve been unsuccessful, and I tend to groan whenever I hear something along the lines of, “The part of the story you were never told,” in a trailer, and although I have always been attracted to the story of Peter Pan I wasn’t that fussed about seeing this.

However, I was wrong, and if you are feeling the same way then you’re wrong too. This film is so much fun and has the spirit of a classic adventure movie. It’s colourful and feels so vibrant and alive. The music is bombastic, the action is thrilling and its a film that’s going to be fun for all the family.

That’s not to say it’s perfect though, and now I’ll talk a bit about a few missteps the film makes. First of all, and this is pretty jarring, the crowds on Neverland sing to modern songs. The first one is Smells Like Teen Spirit. Now, I’m not saying that this is necessarily a bad choice, but it is an odd one and it served to take me out of the film. I don’t usually mind mashing up things like this, I love Moulin Rouge for example, but in that film the whole thing was about using modern songs in different contexts. Here it’s not the focus of the movie and I think there are perhaps three songs, and it’s not like the rest of the film is a musical so…like I said. An odd choice.

The other biggest problem I had was with Blackbeard. Jackman chewed the scenery well but basically he boils down to a pantomime villain. There’s not really any motivation given, and although there is a hint at an interesting backstory, it’s just never fleshed out.

And now perhaps the reason why I think this film isn’t doing well with reviews. I went in with the assumption that it would tell the story of how Peter got to Neverland and how he met Hook, and how their relationship descended into being bitter enemies. That’s not what this film is about and if you’re expecting that, and that’s the film you really want to see, then you’re probably going to be disappointed. I have a feeling the people behind the film had half an eye on sequels, so figured they’d save that for a later film, but really I think they should have just done it in this one because looking at it, it doesn’t look like Pan is going to get a sequel.

Which is a shame really because like I said it is a lot of fun. It’s not perfect, and it seems like every other line Hook is saying ‘kid’, which got old real fast (sadly lame jokes do  get old in Neverland), and there are some missteps. But the action is superb. It feels like a classic swashbuckling movie. Miller is great as Peter, and feels like he is the Pan of the stories I am familiar with. Overall I really enjoyed it and I’d urge everyone to dispel your doubts and go see it while you can!

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