A different take on the usual Peter Pan tale, Pan begins with Peter’s beginning and how he came to be the boy who never grew up. Featuring several amazing actors, including Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedland, Amanda Seyfried, and Rooney Mara, as well as Levi Miller as Peter, we get to see a crazy cast of characters run around looking for treasure…well, okay, not typical treasure. But it’s valuable and people kill over it, so I’m counting it as treasure.
The cinematography for me was interesting, but also startling. In the beginning, we see Peter’s mother (Amanda Seyfried) running through the streets. It had a very noir feeling, which fits with the gritty city of London at night. But obviously once the plot shifted to Neverland, it was very bright and lots of colors and movement. To be honest, I liked the noir feeling better. Oh, and she’s apparently holding this newborn and running through the streets and the kid isn’t crying? I mean, we find out more information about her later on, but there is no way a kid getting jostled about doesn’t cry.
What jostled me actually, and this goes for all kids/family friendly movies, is the actual violence. People are killing each other. There are pirates. Of course people die. But apparently with a chipper soundtrack and some pretty graphics, it isn’t as bad? I was a tad shocked by the gleeful violence. I suppose peppy music and bright colors make it less heinous? It was a tad disturbing to me how okay with the killing this movie was.
I have some complaints about characters too. Hugh Jackman looks ridiculous as Blackbeard. I mean, terrifyingly bad, in my opinion. The only achievement for his character is to have his subjects sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana to him. It’s their anthem. Obviously some lyrics were skipped. Not really appropriate to talk about libido in a kid’s film. The political aspect of his character was something I wish had more depth. He “frees” the orphans by bringing them to Neverland, because they are obviously miserable and unwanted where they are. So at first it’s all Nirvana-and-candy-in-the-sky, but then he makes them work for him. He insists that good work ethic will be rewarded with chocolate sweeties, and bad work ethic will get you killed. Huh, if I were Peter, I’d prefer the orphanage. At least it has a mattress for a bed and not a boulder.
Next, we have Garrett Hedlund as Captain Hook before he became such. I believe he’s a rather underutilized actor. So I was pretty pumped to see his role. Until he opened his mouth. Some kind of Jack Nicholson impression accent came out. I couldn’t take him seriously the rest of the film. He sounded like he was trying to sound like an adult. It was preposterous and distracting. Speaking of being distracted, Cara Delevingne appears as a mermaid(s). Shiny.
Lastly we have the main character issue, which sadly doesn’t apply to just this film. While Rooney Mara is an incredibly talented actress, she is not Native American, yet gets to play TigerLilly. Traditionally, the “savages” were in fact Native Americans who depressingly enough we called and treated like savages. Whitewashing in casts has become pretty popular in Hollywood and it’s a shame. There are talented actresses of all shapes, sizes, colors. You could have been able to find a great actress for that part, but instead chose the white chick with a recognizable name. This is something also recently experienced with Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell. I couldn’t get past looking at Rooney’s face and thinking, “Wow, you’re really pale.”
The story is interesting in capturing the myth and legend behind Peter Pan, but the over the top violence and odd casting issues were too difficult for me to get over. This one just doesn’t Pan out for me. Classic pun, for the win. But check it out for yourself. Pan debuts Saturday, May 14 at 8:00pm.