A naïve boy leaves home and is thrown into the middle of a rebellion against an evil empire. The rebels are led by a brave and beautiful young woman who regards the boy a savior to help end the war. They are assisted by a more experienced adventurer with questionable loyalties who’s obviously fought a few battles in his lifetime, but is primarily looking out for himself.
Hmm… that story sounds so familiar… perhaps similar to a previous film about Jedis and A New Hope?
The story of “Pan” borrows extensively from that classic film, but in a very sloppy, slipshod way. While the story itself is fairly simple, it’s the direction and execution that severely lacks cohesion or vision. What initially intrigued me when I saw “Pan’s” trailer was that it was sold as a prequel to the classic Peter Pan legend. In “Pan,” Peter (Levi Miller) and Hook (Garrett Hedlund) are allies working together along with Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) to overthrow the evil Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) and his enslavement of young children to mine for fairy dust. Yes, Peter and Hook are buddies, and yes, Blackbeard has kids mining for fairy dust. As silly as that premise sounds, I was interested to see where director Joe Wright would take the film, but unfortunately it’s a huge mess.
The performances are fine, but forgettable. Oh, except for Hedlund, who has some really weird line delivery that totally took me out of the film. It’s like he was providing a voice performance for an animated film yet I could actually see him speaking the lines. It was very weird.
There’s tons of CGI, and while there were some parts that I thought were pretty stylish, the rest of the effects were distracting. It’s as if they threw a bunch of effects at the screen just with no rhyme or reason. As I watched the visual vomit on the screen, I got more bored as the film progressed.
The story didn’t help matters either. While the main elements were familiar, the smaller choices made absolutely no sense. Why did Peter’s mom drop him off at that nasty orphanage with the mean nuns? Why do all of the enslaved kids sing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to greet Blackbeard? And did I mention the mining for fairy dust?
“Pan” obviously had big aspirations to kick off another film franchise, and with such a famous villain as Captain Hook, you’d expect the film to hint at his evil future. Yet “Pan” portrays him as a total good guy and his hand doesn’t even get cut off! Huh?
“Pan” is one of the biggest disappointments of the year.