Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Welcome to Neverland!"

With the latest adaptation of the Peter Pan tale, Pan, I wasn't entirely certain that it was going to be good, and when I recently saw it, I was correct. The film is a prologue to the events of what becomes known as the original tale in which Blackbeard is attempting to attain immortality by searching for fairy dust which apparently has the ability to keep individuals younger or something of that nature....it was never fully explained (bad screenwriting). As a matter of fact I'm not even entirely certain what the general purpose of the story was. It seemed as if it was more of a discovery adventure for Peter and the audience was just along for the ride. The title character, Peter Pan, was played by newcomer Levi Miller, who was perfect at the role. He had that boyish charm, but also that rebel tendency and fearlessness but with a good deal of confidence. He could have done more with the role if it were written better. Blackbeard, the villain, played by Hugh Jackman was perfect; evil, humorous, menacing, and a good forebearer to Captain Hook. I have to say that Jackman's performance of this character was the best part of the entire film; he took a character and transformed it to an entirely different level. Garrett Hedlund as James Hook was very, very disappointing. This man cannot act, although he seemed to do well in Tron: Legacy but that was the only film I've seen him in where he felt comfortable....mostly. The character was boring, the performance painful, and I could not see how James Hook would transform into Captain Hook. Rooney Mara as Tiger Lilly was definitely a waste; she should have been Peter's mother, and someone Peter's age should have played the princess. Her talents would have been better suited elsewhere. What I was most shocked about was the director, Joe Wright, who is a phenomenal filmmaker with greats like Atonement, Pride & Prejudice, and Anna Karenina under his belt. This should have been an easy win for him, but it somehow spiraled away from his skillful control I must assume, otherwise...I cannot think of a more rational explanation. The screenwriting was plain awful, along with the story and plot. There was so much potential going into this project, but it wasn't taken and carefully put together to form something wonderful and cohesive. Another thing, it oftentimes came off as over the top, whimsical, and silly all at the same time....which I do not consider good film making. I remember when children's stories used to be more than just silly, action packed visual effect extravaganzas; there were deep undercurrents of darkness, moral values with virtuous lessons that children could take away from the characters. Now however, the films that are churned out appear more fluffy than ever before. In my opinion, the mini-series Neverland has been the best prologue to the Peter Pan story, and honestly the best Peter Pan adapted story for live action film. If you have kids, especially boys, they may like it, but I do not think it is really worth any time.

Pan trailer

Pan clip

Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard 

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