Joe Wright’s Pan has been labelled, along with Fantastic Four and Tomorrowland, one of 2015’s biggest flops. The film failed to make back the film’s large production and marketing budget, and was (quite rightly) torn apart by the critics. It is a film so bad, it is difficult to review without going off on an angry rant about the time I wasted with it. But I am a professional, so I shall remain calm and tell you just why you should steer clear of this horrendous disaster.
Out now on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D, Pan doesn’t so much soar as fall flat on its silly little face. Levi Miller plays Peter, a young boy in an orphanage who finds himself spirited away to the magical world of Neverland and discovers his destiny – to save this wonderful place from the tyrannical rule of Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Along the way, he’ll team up with Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and become Peter Pan, the hero we know and love. Seems like an innocent and fun enough idea, doesn’t it? So much so, the film’s original script was on the 2013 Black List (the best unproduced scripts in Hollywood). When it was announced to be made, we all expected a nice little harmless film about the origin of the boy who couldn’t grow up…What we got was an all-out disaster that should be quickly forgotten.
Let’s just get this review out of the way. Firstly, the acting is one of two things – either dreadful, or alright. There are no award-winning performances here (naturally), but you’d think the big name stars would try and not make fools of themselves. Hugh Jackman overacts to the point of just embarrassing himself, while Rooney Mara clearly isn’t putting in much effort – but who can blame her, she’d already done her hard work last year in Carol. She deserves a break! And she’s probably just trying to get it over with, after being at the centre of so much controversy for her casting as Tiger Lily, a traditionally Native American character. Newcomer Levi Miller isn’t going to find himself on the best child performances list for his work here, with a very weak performance – but it is Garrett Hedlund who makes everyone else look better with a painfully bad performance as Hook, mostly evident in the rather ridiculous accent he chose for the role which becomes increasingly irritating the more you notice it. Stop it, Garrett! You’re embarrassing yourself!
Pan’s narrative is rather painfully unoriginal, too. This whole ‘young hero is the chosen one and doesn’t believe in himself, but finds courage and saves the day’ plot sure is old hat now. And even the prequel premise itself, starting with the cliché narration “sometimes to truly understand how things end, we must first know how they begin”, is rather unoriginal. This allows for a lot of cringe-inducing foreshadowing, as Pan suggests Peter and Hook were best friends before they became enemies. The film even ends with a forced “Hey Hook, we’ll always be pals won’t we?” line. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE GUYS. VERY CLEVER. This gives the film a feeling of self-confidence that it shouldn’t really have, mostly evident in the sequence when a group of children chant Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit at Blackbeard. It thinks it is cooler and edgier than it is. It just comes off as daft.
The film looks decent enough, with some solid visuals. But it isn’t enough to save Pan. This is an instantly forgettable failure of a film and I can’t really find anything in it to recommend. Peter Pan’s author J.M. Barrie is probably turning in his grave. In this Hollywood packed with remakes, reboots, sequels and prequels, Pan does absolutely nothing to stand out from the rest and makes fools out of its cast. A waste of time and money. Stick with the 1953 Disney classic, or Spielberg’s 1991 family adventure.
Pan is easily one of 2015’s worst films. Fly away from it, folks. 0/5.
Pan at CeX
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