It’s been a while since I wrote any movie reviews, mainly due to the lack of time but also because there are so many film review sites that I felt they pretty much got it all covered. This time though, I wanted to add my two cents worth. This review is for the movie Pan, which I saw in the cinemas today, in 3D. I did not read any of the reviews online before going, but I found it enjoyable and I had a really nice time. More importantly, I think it’s an entertaining movie for its target audience – kids. So imagine my surprise when I went online later and saw that some of the reviews for this film were extremely negative.
One reviewer even said this movie had “hideous visuals” and was “ugly to look at, shrill to listen to, and performed by actors who have been encouraged to camp it up madly”. Really? Hideous and ugly? Where is all this hate coming from? Some of these reviews read more like spiteful attacks. More and more, I feel that a lot of film reviews are less about providing the intended target audience with an informed choice to decide for themselves, and more about showing off how much the reviewers (supposedly) know about the world (and history) of films. Do they think that everyone who watches movies is a film scholar? That a detailed analysis of the mise-en-scène has to be typed out at the end of the credits? Sometimes, I think film reviewers just write reviews for other films critics, and they all live in a bubble. Having said all that, I shall now try to provide a review (thus making myself a film reviewer!) that is more positive for Pan, for as I said earlier, I enjoyed it.
Pan is an origin story for Peter Pan. Very briefly – the story starts with Peter as a baby, left at a London orphanage called Lambeth Home for Boys. Twelve years later and he’s still there, hoping that one day his mother will return for him. Before there is a chance of that happening though, he and a few of the other boys are kidnapped by pirates and brought to Neverland, a place ruled by Blackbeard, played by Hugh Jackman in what must have been a really fun role for him. (There was a scene in which he had to flail and flop around… I can only imagine what he had to do as an actor, before post production added the visual effects in the scene. Co-stars Levi Miller who plays Peter and Rooney Mara who plays Tiger Lily had to look seriously at him and they must have had a hard time keeping straight faces during filming.) Blackbeard puts all the boys to work, mining for pixum, or fairy dust. The rest of the movie deals with how Peter tries to escape in order to find his mother, with the help of Hook (played by Garrett Hedlund). Does he succeed? I shall leave that up to you to find out should you decide to watch the movie.
As mentioned earlier, Pan is a movie for children (or for the child in you). The acting is over-the-top, as it should be in a kids’ film. There are action scenes but no real sense of danger, so not really any scary scenes (although one scene with an implied death of a child did bother me slightly but it was done in a comical way and was over so fast that I doubt any kids watching really noticed). Even the deaths of the natives resulted in rainbow coloured explosions, making the deaths interesting to watch and lessening the impact such deaths might have. This is no doubt, done to provide a more suitable viewing experience for children. Again, I have no problems with this. The star of the film will have to be Levi Miller, the young actor who plays Peter Pan. As he is literally in almost every scene, the movie sinks or swims based on his performance and he does an impressive job of it, making you believe he is capable of mischief and well as childish innocence. They absolutely nailed the casting for this role, this kid is probably going to go far. In short, if you are looking for an enjoyable kids’ film on the origin of Peter Pan, give this movie a go. I enjoyed it. As this is meant to be the first film in a trilogy, I’m actually interested to see what the sequels will be like, although director Joe Wright better hurry up and film the sequels back to back. From the production photos, it looks like Levi Miller seems to be growing up fast. Pretty soon, the boy who never grew up will be played by the boy who is all grown up.
The trailer for the film is below.