Pan review: ‘Almost as bad as Hook’

17:23 18 October 2015

Pan. Picture: Laurie Sparham

Pan. Picture: Laurie Sparham

(c) 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This Peter Pan prequel does little to suggest why we should care about his entry into Neverland, says Michael Joyce.

Have you ever wondered how Peter Pan ended up in Neverland? What happened before the events in J.M. Barrie’s story? How Peter became Pan? No, of course you haven’t. Why would you? Well, Pan (that’s a bold, critic goading title) is going to tell you anyway. Because however bored you are of prequels and origins stories, this tale of the early Peter can’t be as bad as Hook, Spielberg’s take on the older, grown up Pan, can it?

It starts promisingly enough with a dyslexic Peter (Miller) in an orphanage during World War II where boys keep disappearing. One night, during the blitz, he is among a group of boys stolen away on a flying pirate ship and taken to Neverland, run by Captain Blackbeard (Jackman.) Here the film takes an abrupt turns into Moulin Rouge as the captain has a taste for singalongs to numbers by Nirvana and The Ramones.

Pan is full of moments that must have looked spectacular on paper but the executions of which are just a little off, not quite doing the ideas justice. The aim is to fuse the corny fun of a pantomime with the breathtaking thrill of a big budget blockbuster but the mix doesn’t take – the naff jokes detract from the spectacle, the spectacle tramples the simple he’s-behind-you fun. This uncertainty about its identity, jumping this way and that to try to alight on something that works, is one aspect in which Pan is just like Hook. Worst of all, the film is yet another messianic narrative, a figure whose arrival and victory is foretold by prophesy. Pan is not a messiah; he’s just an irrepressible little boy.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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