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October 26, 2015

Film Review: Pan

I don’t even know where to begin.

Not only is this film an insult to the magic of Peter Pan but also to the intelligence of today’s children. I confess that I am not a huge fan of kids’ movies but in an age where Pixar can churn out dozens of family friendly features that please the adult as much as the child, it is really unacceptable for this sort of movie to exist.

First and foremost, it is lazy. It masquerades as a cheeky fun-filled romp but there is no real sense of enjoyment. It is littered with clichéd jokes, falling-on-the-groin gags and one-liners that not even James Bond could pull off.

One particularly appalling scene is our introduction to Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) whereby the crowds chant to the tune of Nirvana’s iconic Smells Like Teen Spirit. A similar rendition was performed in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, but that one didn’t want to make me claw my own ears off and send a personal apology to the family of Kurt Cobain. I don’t blame Jackman per se – while he is a fine actor, it seems that he relishes every opportunity to dress up in ridiculous costume and sing to his egotistical heart’s content.

The representation of Neverland is lacklustre at best, and utterly soulless at worst. The fantastical land conjures up such vibrant and majestic images, but all this film offers us is a harsh existence filled with rocks. It pales in comparison to one of the most iconic movie scenes in Hook, where Peter uses his imagination for the first time and the colourful imagery bursts to life.  Pan is so visually displeasing and devoid of any heart, one wonders if anyone involved in the production was a J.M. Barrie fan.

I almost forgot about the accents. The usually wonderful Kathy Burke makes a hash of the Irish brogue (there are so many prolific Irish personalities, one would think that imitators would finally realise we don’t speak like this!)
Levi Miller hams up the Oliver Twist cheeky London boy charm for all its worth but most heinous of all is Garrett Hedlund’s portrayal of James Hook. Why he was directed to play the part of an American cowboy in a bad Western is simply unexplainable. In juxtaposition with the superb Dustin Hoffman, this Hook has none of the same essence of villainy or finesse. It is at times, laughingly bad. His love interest, played by Rooney Mara, is equally frustrating because in one instance, she is a powerful female force who resists his advances, the next she simpers at prolonged eye contact with the lone ranger. Make up your mind!

The truly annoying thing is that an interesting premise is created for the background of Pan and Hook’s relationship but it is never fully fleshed out, due in most part to one-dimensional characters. Terrifyingly, it alludes to a possible sequel. Judging by the reactions in the cinema where people walked out before the final scenes, let’s hope that Pan 2 never never lands.

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