It’s hard to understand exactly what the makers of Pan were thinking before they set out to make this stunning misfire of a movie. I mean are movies like Mirror, Mirror and Red Riding Hood not good enough examples that classic fairy-tales don’t translate well to live-action? Even when they are reinvented in one way or another. In Alice in Wonderland’s case, even if the movie is financially successful, it’s a file of garbage.
Set a few years before the events of J.M Barrie’s classic tale, Pan focuses on how Peter Pan became well, Peter Pan. The film finds Peter a 12 year old boy living in a London orphanage, from where he finds himself whisked away to the magical land of Neverland on a flying ship at the start of the movie. Upon arriving there he finds out that the place is ruled by a ruthless pirate named Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) and in order to save Neverland he must band together with James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and the warrior Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) while also discover his true destiny.
There is so much wrong with Pan, it’s hard to decide where to begin. Let’s start with fact that this movie has some of the fakest looking CGI you are bound to see in any movie made in 2015. The film lacks any direction whatsoever and it does not feel like it was directed by someone as talented as Joe Wright. The acting is downright horrendous, Hugh Jackman, who many people were excited to see play Blackbeard, gives new meaning to the words ‘’hamming it up’’ in his crazily over-the-top performance as the evil pirate, only to be upstaged moments later by an even over-the-top Garrett Hedlund paying James Hook (Captain Hook before he became well, Captain Hook). Hedlund isn’t sure whether to channel Harrison Ford as Indian Jones or Harrison Ford as Han Solo, so he does a bit of both and fails to pull off either character.
There’s Rooney Mara who exhibits a combination of two facial expressions as Tigerlily, and Levi Miller who isn’t particularly great as Peter Pan either, however far better than any of the other vastly experienced actors he’s working with.
And then there are moments that are quite simply strange and cringe-worthy. For example, there’s a moment at the start when we are introduced to Blackbeard, and all of Blackbeard’s men start singing Nirvana’s Smells like Teen Spirit. And if that’s not enough, we are subjected to a singing of The Ramone’s Bitzkrieg Bop later on.
But even if you put all that aside, Pan is a tonally inconsistent movie. The action sequences have absolutely exciting about them, the script is lazy, the story is contrived and the dialogue feel painfully clunky. It’s a failure on almost every level.