Movie review: Pan

Suzanne Buchholz, Reporter

I took my seat in the theater to watch Pan with moderately high expectations, hoping for an exciting, engaging film that’d leave me cheering on the main characters to the end. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the experience I got. The movie had me puzzled as to who the real heroes and villains were, and feeling cheated at never actually finding out.

The film chronicles the origins of Peter Pan, the famous boy who could fly. Twelve-year-old Peter (Levi Miller) lives in an orphanage in World War II era England, determined to find his long-lost mother.

Peter and the other orphans are whisked away by pirates to Neverland, an island ruled by the vicious and controlling Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). With the help of his allies, the cynical Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and fierce Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara), Peter escapes the island in search of his mother, but instead discovers that he’s part of a prophecy to defeat Blackbeard as long as he can find the courage within himself.

The plot itself was decent if not predictable, falling back on several clichés of believing in oneself and that anything’s possible. The film lacked well-paced character development within the plot. Characters like Peter remained static throughout the movie until the most crucial moments, while others like Smee changed in abrupt and nonsensical ways which had me struggling to figure out what was happening. Others such as Hook had well-rounded development, but their fates were left on a cliffhanger which frustrated me.   

The action was consistent throughout the movie, which in its defense made it more interesting to watch than adding unnecessary fillers. But in this case, the film could’ve used a few scenes of filler to transition from one action-packed scene to the next, instead of jumping into it. The film attempted to pack in as many fantasy battles and chase sequences as possible, many didn’t contribute to the watered-down plot.  

The acting was more forgivable than the story, but not by much. Hedlund’s portrayal of Hook was particularly enjoyable, convincingly capturing the brusque and self-serving essence of the character. On the other hand Miller, in his first starring role, gave a likeable but unremarkable depiction of Peter. Most of the acting was forgettable, when it wasn’t over the top and irritating. The accents were exaggerated to the point of being annoying and hard to understand.         

Certain instances in the script felt irritatingly out-of-place given the film’s 40s timeline. Phrases such as “Oh come on” and “Spit it out, man” didn’t fit the style of the script. A scene in which the pirates sing Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones, which was completely unfitting and ruined the authenticity.

I enjoyed the film’s vivid visual details. The CGI effects blended almost seamlessly with the live action, creating realistic and beautiful mythical beings from mermaids with glowing tails to terrifying bird-like creatures. The careful attention to detail in the makeup and costumes were also appealing to the eye, especially when it came to Tiger Lily’s design. I found myself paying more attention to these details than the actual story after a while.

Overall this feeble attempt at giving Peter Pan a backstory left me underwhelmed as well as asking questions the film failed to answer. Those who haven’t seen the original Peter Pan might enjoy it as a stand-alone fantasy film, but those who love the franchise might want to avoid it for the sake of preserving the original classic’s integrity.  

I give this 2/5

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Suzanne Buchholz

Movie review: Pan

by Suzanne Buchholz time to read: 2 min