Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Valentine's Day Bingo
February 24, 2024

Pan fails to take off

Stepping into the theatre for “Pan,” I had a lot of expectations surrounding the film. After all, with so many adaptions already produced using the premise of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” there aren’t many more successful directions to go. Not only did they decide to once again adapt an already classic novel, but they also incorporated a cast and director of a higher pedigree, which made a PG-movie skeptic like me curious about how it would be presented.
The film’s cast, which consisted of actors like Hugh Jackman, Blackbeard, and Rooney Mara, Tiger Lily, under the direction of Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Pride and Prejudice”), were the movie poster’s selling point, and yet all of my expectations for impeccable acting fell flat. Not due to lack of acting chops, but rather a script with minimal movement or character development.
Don’t let the PG rating fool you. There was plenty of action, battles and CGI effects to allow for a proper visualization of Neverland and the conflict on the island to take shape. However, no amount of 3D magic could save the poorly developed characters. Save for the random homage to American rock, in which Jackman leads a sea of young miners in an a cappella rendition of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.
The story, which begins in London and shifts later to Neverland, stars, of course, Peter, portraying by newcomer Levi Miller, who spends half the movie brooding, moody, and with a Freudian obsession with finding his mother. It seemed like they wanted Peter to have the emotional depth of a whiny tween whose been eternally grounded. While the backstory surrounding Peter as a World War II orphan gave Peter depth, his immaturity made him shallow.
With only a few glimpses into Blackbeard (Jackman), Tiger Lily (Mara), and Hook’s (Garrett Hedlund) backstories, it left them empty and with few connections to the classic characters we know. Each had the potential to be developed with inner conflict and heroic moral decisions, yet were left in the cold.
As a Peter Pan novel enthusiast, I was disappointed with the interpretations of the characters, who could’ve been enriched in the greater timeline of adaptions like Walt Disney’s animated Peter Pan in 1953 or Steven Spielberg’s Hook in 1991. While I know it was an adaption, it was far-fetched to have a romance between Captain Hook and Tiger Lily, let alone, one between Blackbeard and Peter’s mother, portrayed by Amanda Seyfried, whose role was more of that of a cameo.
The entire plot of the movie seemed to hint towards a sequel, leaving several plot holes and questions along the way, which may have seemed like a profitable decision at the time, left the viewer frustrated, rather than excited for another round. With no mention  of the impending fracture between Peter and Hook until the very last lines of the movie, I was annoyed at how so much of a movie could be based around the notion of another production to follow. It was similar to watching an episode of Blue’s Clues, but instead of finding an answer, you’re led to a gaping cliffhanger.
Is “Pan” worth a viewing? Yes. Is it worth a movie ticket? No.

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Pan fails to take off