Film Review: “Pan”

Rating: C+

Do you wish you could fly? Many children certainly wish they could, and if they came from Neverland, they might be able to. Warner Bros. Pictures’ newest family flick “Pan” stumbles its way along as it tells the prequel story of Peter Pan and his struggle to master his ability to fly and take down the infamous pirate Blackbeard.

Like many children’s stories we have read or seen on the movie screen, “Peter Pan” is one of those that has withstood the tests of time. First written in the form of a play by J.M. Barrie in 1904 and then later transformed into a novel, the story of the lovable boy who can fly and the wicked Captain Hook has manifested itself into one of the most common children’s stories of past and contemporary literature.

Despite being a well-known story, “Pan” as a movie is not stocked with a well-known cast. Hugh Jackman trades his adamantium claws for a black beard to play the namesake pirate. His character leads a mining operation in order to obtain fairy dust, a substance that he uses to keep himself youthful. The title character Peter is played by 13-year-old Levi Miller, who gives a hopeful performance but lacks courage or cleverness. By his side is another unknown, Garrett Hedlund, as James Hook (the future Captain Hook), this time in the good guy’s shoes.

Without sparing any details, the movie was given a suitable rating of PG by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). This gives parents the green light to watch it with their kids without having to worry about anything inappropriate, violent or vulgar. That being said, this rating combined with its description as a fantasy adventure film seriously ties the story down and limits creativity. The movie takes several different directions as well, almost like crewmembers were taking orders from several different people.

Of the more likeable features were the flying pirate ships, especially when one is taking shots from a German World War II fighter plane in the skies of London. However, this, along with a few other scenes, are difficult to follow along.

Thankfully, to please any child, a movie does not have to be perfect. It just needs to filter out anything that a parent might not want their children to see and provide a solid amount of laughter. So if a 7-year-old were to review this, they would give it a squiggly-drawn “A” written in crayon. Get a bit older and he or she notices that some action is poorly choreographed. Even older than that and Peter looks animated when he is flying. Therefore the older you get and the more movies you watch, you know what to expect. This is disappointing to watch if you aren’t a child because many parts of the film seemed to be ignored. In fact, it is almost like the director said “Yes, that looks OK” when viewing a particular cut, and then moving on thinking nobody would notice.

We noticed.

Blackbeard is not bad enough. Peter is far from as clever as he should be and James Hook as a good guy is simply unfathomable, filling out the last lines of a list of problems with this film. Watching a remastered version of the 1953 animated film would definitely have been more preferable than watching “Pan.” But if you want to take your kids to go see the newest part of the legend of Peter Pan, it’s just “Second to the right, and straight on till morning.”

Nathaniel is the Culture Editor and is a fourth-year journalism and business administration student at the University of Maine. He have been writing for The Maine Campus since November of 2014, covering everything from community events to films.

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