In the century long retelling and revisioning of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale of the boy who could fly, Joe Wright’s version may be the most depressing. Early on we’re told (or warned) that this isn’t the story we’ve been told before. That could be problematic, but hopefully Pan captures the essence of the character, despite the subtle changes to the story. Well, no. Though it’s never really been discussed, how Peter got to Neverland; this origin story doesn’t really mesh with the story we do know. It starts off with young Peter (Levi Miller) surviving the London Blitz in an orphanage that’s barely hospitable for barn animals. But, the curious (or defiant) Peter with his friend Nibs (Lewis MacDougall) have reason to believe, that the bullish Mother Barnabas (Kathy Burke) is hoarding the goods while the kids eat a rationing of gruel. In the night, some of the kids go missing. Presumed to be adopted, Peter and Nibs continue on the hunt for treasure, but are startled when they discover the true cause of the missing kids.
Pirates! Apparently pirates in a floating ship from beyond the Moon kidnap the world’s orphans to bring to Neverland, to mine for Pixum. The shimmering stone, when refined is Fairy Dust; which gives the user special abilities. Leading the charge is Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). The infamous pirate captain, leads a Mad Max: Fury Road inspired steampunk mountain where thousands of
slaves workers mine for precious pixum. The natives generally disapproves of Blackbeard’s deforestation of Neverland and work tirelessly to disrupt the pixum mining. While imprisoned for insubordination, Peter runs into James Hook. Both eager to escape both prison and the quarry, Peter and Hook make their escape for the jungles of Neverland.
We were warned, Pan isn’t the story that we know. However, I was anticipating a different story, something that resembles Barrie’s century old story. I’m willing to overlook most of the revisionist history in Pan. Hook being a surname, not a pseudonym, the existence of Blackbeard and the bizarre tribute to Nirvana. In all it leads to a bit of mess rendered in underwhelming 3D. Visually Pan is on par with recent re imaginings, Alice in Wonderland and Jack the Giant Slayer. It’s annoying to retort, but it must be stated. Whenever a narrator says how this ‘Isn’t the story you’ve been told’ realise in that moment, you’ve been duped. You liked the original story and were sold on the similarities to the original story, but you are now treated to a cheap imitation. Thanks Pan.
Rated PG @ 111 mins
Note: In 3D and IMAX 3D where Available