There's really no delicate way to put this, but Joe Wright's Pan (prequel to the classic J.M. Barrie tale Peter Pan) is all kinds of awful. Trust me, I take no pleasure in bearing this news since I'm a fan of Joe Wright's work and thought the lore of Peter Pan would be a natural fit for the filmmaker. The trailer too only instilled confidence in me that though the idea was risky, this adventure seemed to be full of enough magic. Boy was I wrong. The latest iteration of the boy who could fly never gets off the ground and takes off, in fact it's pretty much dead on arrival. I really wanted to like this film...but I couldn't.

Throughout the film I told myself, "Maybe it will get better once such and such happens." In the beginning it was "once they get to Neverland" then it became "once they leave the mine and meet Tiger Lily" until eventually I realized there was no coming back and turning it around. It's hard to even know where to begin with identifying what let this movie down, but let's start with the story. For some inexplicable reason, Peter's story begins in London during World War II (...even though J.M. Barrie wrote the story in the early 1900's,) where he's living in a horrible orphanage run by a Mrs. Trunchbull-esque nun figure. He's lived there since a baby, because his mother who loved him tremendously had to give him up for mysterious reasons. One day he's abducted by pirates who inhabit a flying pirate ship and take him to a strange world called Neverland. Only there can he discover his true destiny and some other convoluted nonsense. The story starts predictably and dully enough, then turns to preposterousness and later descends into madness. It's kind of like watching a car wreck. Elements from Barrie's original tale are randomly and carelessly thrown in to create this bastardized version of the beloved story.

The story is bad, but it's not helped by the uneven tone that surrounds the film throughout its entire runtime. The film is off from the get-go, and I attribute that to the blandness of our Peter (Levi Miller.) For a character as dynamic as Peter Pan, the kid is awfully one-note. Also near the beginning, it seems like Wright wants to make the Peter Pan version of Moulin Rouge --complete with Nirvana chanting, then quickly abandons the idea. He's committed to nothing because he's thrown everything in the kitchen sink to see if it will work. Even the usually capable Hugh Jackman can't sell you on the random mix of contemporary, fantasy and period. Nor do Garrett Hedlund and Rooney Mara, try as they might. And instead of trying to add more depth to the story, the filmmakers decide instead to add more CGI wackiness. When that didn't work, in addition to taking elements from Peter Pan, the filmmakers also decided to throw in some Star Wars, Harry Potter and even Spaceballs into the mix. Literal face palms were occurring consistently.

Can I say anything positive about this film? Sadly, really not much. As with any Joe Wright film, it has moments (and people?) that are really beautiful to look at. In this particular case, much of it is over done by its CGI. Some of the set pieces are cool to behold, but become repetitive quickly. I guess I liked Tiger Lily's costume design (though let's not even get into the race issues here...) Sadly, this prequel is an utter disgrace to the story that once made you say "I do believe in fairies." For all the talent involved, this is one of the worst movies of the year. EMILY RATING: 2/10. 


Sarah said...

What a bummer!

Johanna said...

That is disappointing. Some things you just can't come back from. Career ending movie for some? Hopefully not.

Taylor Greene said...

I'd give it a negative score if I could. I never understood why people put contemporary music into historical...okay not even historical...just fantasies. Moulin Rouge kinda pulled it off but this one failed so miserably.

Don't get me started on the bad CGI of Peter flying/falling or whatever. I had to close my eyes it was so awful.

The natives? "In the book, the natives are described as being redskins, which is a term I don’t really recognize. So I couldn’t work out where they were natives of. So I thought, should they be Native American, or should they be African, or should they be Mongolian? And then I thought, well, better if they are from everywhere, that they are all natives of Planet Earth." That explanation was just like the movie...half-baked crap.

And the voice-overs...listening/watching to Indiana Jon- I mean Hook...oh gosh. Make it stop...make it stop!!!