Director: Joe Wright
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried, Cara Delevingne, Levi Miller, Adeel Akhtar
Rated: PG (fantasy action violence, language and some thematic material)
12-year-old orphan Peter is spirited away to the magical world of Neverland, where he finds both fun and danger, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.
By Matt Greene
Disney’s animated Peter Pan. Spielberg’s Hook. Live-action 2003 Peter Pan. NBC’s live Christopher Walken musical. The DisneyToon direct-to-video “Tinkerbell” series. Is NeverLand in the public domain or something? Do we really need another trip to the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning? You would think that if anyone could breathe some life into this ubiquitous universe it would be director Wright (Atonement) with his undeniable pension for beautiful visual storytelling. However, despite some intriguing design and costuming, this begging-to-be-Harry-Potter origin tale of the ageless boy mostly comes across as the film equivalent of white noise.
This isn’t the story you know; here, we follow Peter during his inaugural trip to NeverLand as he learns and earns his place. Many things plague this ill-advised reboot, starting with the cast and characters. Not a single person is authentic even within this fantastical world, especially Hedlund as a young and overly self-referential Hook and Miller as a charisma-less version of the title character. Not that it’s completely their fault; when you’re directed to run through a land of computed zeros-and-ones and deliver terrible dialogue, finding truth in your performance can be nearly impossible.
Most of the problems, however, arise from the atrocious script. What makes the original great is its themes on how stories should be enjoyed but should never replace and endanger your real-life. They would’ve been much better off doing a strict retelling, keeping Peter as the braggadocios and mysterious side-character, instead of a faux-complex one. Full of misplaced humor, odd anachronisms, and a complete lack of mystery, Wright’s noble attempts at bringing something out of the muck unfortunately fail.
1.5 out of 5 Stars
By Cole Schneider
“Pan” might be the worst movie of its size ($150M budget) to be released this side of Michael Bay or Zack Snyder, which is surprising because it’s brought to us from award-winning director Joe Wright (“Atonement”). While it shares many of the story problems Bay and Snyder’s films have, “Pan” also introduces radical new ways to fail.
“Pan” is a poignant study in the nuances in the art of failure; of course ‘poignancy’ and ‘nuance’ will never again be mentioned in the same sentence with the film. After the Peter Pan origin story finally arrives in Neverland we are treated to one the most laughably awful scenes in cinema history. I won’t ruin this moment because it’s (accidentally) the most wonderful thing in the movie, but let’s say that the pirates raise their voices in chorus to something other than “Yo Ho A Pirate’s Life For Me”. From there things simply continue trending downward.
The story itself is pointless and has no identity, but it’s also joyless and tone deaf. It’s not an exaggeration to say that “Pan” succeeds in zero ways. There isn’t a moment in the film where we are confident in its ability to function as a movie. Nor is there a single character that rings true. Nor a visual ascetic with any consistency. If I’ve been unclear I’m sorry, here is a distillation: “Pan” is an absolute, unequivocal abomination. With movies like “The Martian” and the near-masterpiece “Sicario” still playing in local cinemas, it’s a shame “Pan” will still be selling tickets.
1 out of 5 Stars