Director Joe Wright’s Pan is an enjoyable fantasy adventure. There are lulls in pace, but overall the film does its job of providing entertainment for a family audience.
Peter Pan is a twelve-year old who lives in an orphanage in London. When he is spirited away to Neverland, he faces marvel and fear on his quest to find his destiny…
Pan functions as a prequel to the Peter Pan story that many know so well. Screenwriter Jason Fuchs takes J.M. Barrie’s famous characters and transplants them to an earlier era of Neverland. The film concentrates on Peter Pan as a boy, meeting and establishing relationships with characters from Barre’s most famous work.
The film starts well, establishing Peter’s circumstances with sufficient humour. Likewise, the introduction to Blackbeard works well to exude a sense of mythos. The choice of chanting in this scene may surprise some viewers. Pan falls into a something of a lull in the middle third. This is chiefly due to the obligatory questioning of self by the protagonist. This section of the film could have been trimmed to improve pacing. Similarly, suggestions of a love story as the film progresses felt like an unnecessary addition.
The conclusion of Pan sees a return of pace with some decent action sequences. Special effects in the film are mostly good; the wood animated sequence is a nice touch. The exception to this is some obvious CGI used for the birds.
Hugh Jackman hams it up in an appealing fashion as Blackbeard. Levi Miller is decent as Peter, whilst Garrett Hedlund does his best Indiana Jones impression. With diversity in the overall cast, it is a shame that Tiger Lily, a female character with a significant role, is played by Rooney Mara. This is particularly the case given the whiteness of the rest of the main cast. Here is a missed opportunity to portray a physically and mentally strong female character as originally intended. It makes the rest of the casting feel tokenistic.
There may be a few scary moments for very young viewers, but older children and adults should find Pan satisfying as an adventure.