By: Erin Keating
Pan had delightful special effects and scenery bringing its world to life – the only problem: it’s not the Neverland we’ve all loved growing up as a kid. This is a Neverland features time-traveling, Nirvana playing, pixie dust mining pirates who have somehow worked out a deal with orphanages to take boys for free labor. In this retelling of Peter Pan, it’s not Neverland itself that is magical and keeps people from aging, it is pixie dust. As it turns out, Black Beard – played by a wonderfully evil Hugh Jackman – is mining the pixie dust to keep himself young forever due to his crippling fear of death.
Pan has a potentially good idea by making Black Beard the evil pirate, and Hook and Smee two disgruntled miners who manage to escape with Peter on a flying pirate ship – however, its execution falls flat. The story starts too far ahead with the first time Peter meets Hook. The whole movie I was waiting for their friendship to fall about – for Hook to somehow become evil and Peter to cut off his hand and feed it to the crocodile. I was waiting and waiting…but it never happened. In fact, Garret Hedlund’s Hook is so dashing and chivalrous that it is impossible to reconcile him with the well-known villain from the book and the Disney movie. Besides his fear of crocodiles – which is valid because in this movie the crocodiles are massive – he is a completely different character. In fact, there is even a love-story between he and the princess Tiger Lily. I know what you’re thinking: wasn’t Tiger Lily the girl he tied to a rock so that she’d drown and Peter Pan had to come save her? Yes, yes she was. Overall, the liberties taken with Hook were interesting, but distracting from the rest of the film as I waited for the villain who never arrived.
Besides the convoluted plot – Peter is the son of a fairy prince and human whose father died after giving up his fairy form to save his mother who decided to protect him by bringing him to England where he would eventually end up in the middle of the Blitz? – the cast was extremely talented and the overall feel of the movie was rather magical. The big name stars, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, Cara DeLevigne as the mermaids, Hugh Jackman as Black Beard, and Amanda Seyfried as Peter’s mother, and some of the lesser known cast, Garret Hedlund as Hook and Levi Miller as Peter pull equal weight, creating a good balance of talent. Despite the over-the-top plot, the cast does the best with what they were given and create some lovely performances. The special effects and CGI world created in Pan is rich, bright, and everything we would want Neverland to be.
Final verdict, I would go see this movie if you want something nice to look at and want some mindless entertainment. If you’re looking for a good story, I suggest going somewhere else.