DVD/Blu Ray

Pan (PG) | Home Ents Review

Hugh Jackman in Pan

Dir. Joe Wright, US,  2015, 111 mins

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Levi Miller

A family-orientated fantasy romp can sometimes be a great change of pace from the likes of the slow moving Oscar-trendy dramas released around December and January and those hyper violent behemoths that have bone chillingly realistic fight sequences and over-the-top deaths. It’s a welcome genre of movie that is rarely appreciated as much (included in this family-orientated spin is animated movie with heart and teen coming-of-age stories which fall between the superhero release cracks in the local multiplexes) but, a strong but, Pan tries so hard to be an adventurous prequel to the famous Peter Pan lineage that leaps at the opportunity of in capturing the imagination of all ages. Not quite Disney’s Cinderella, Pixar’s Inside Out or Illumination Studios’ Minions more like Disney’s Tomorrowland or some-studios’ Hotel Transylvania 2.

With a stuttering story about an orphan named Peter, who is taken by pirates in the middle of World War London in a flying ship to be a slave for famous pirate Black Beard (Hugh Jackman) whilst trying to figure out who and where his mother is. Hr meets his new best friend Hook (Garrett Hedlund. shock! Horror! Twist!) and local native Tiger-Lily (Rooney Mara) along the way to fulfil a prophecy of a boy who can fly to overthrow Black Beard and release the hidden fairy people who hold Pixium, a rare substance that stunts old age that Black Beard needs. It all seems a little all over the place, and the pacing is definitely uneven, especially with the amount of time spent talking to Pan about his future and what he needs to do, almost like he, and us, are being hand-held through the narrative. Throw in some less than stellar special effects that at times look suitable for the world it inhibits, goes into Matrix Revolutions territory whenever someone flies or falls. And for a film released in 2015, poor CGI is becoming less and less obvious to the point where seeing it breaks the fourth wall and immediately takes you out of the world you want to see.

Performances are all pretty average, nothing to steal the show but at the same time not enough to warrant a ticking off. Levi Miller does have a career ahead for him, and the next film will be very interesting to see; let’s hope he doesn’t use his Mary Poppins-Cockney accent. Hugh Jackman is the loud, brash character with elaborate costumes and loud speeches along with gritty smiles and long pauses. Whilst Hedlund as Hook and Mara as Tiger-Lily is the thrown together romance of the film, they both clearly aren’t pushing their acting abilities and it’s shown in their delivery and leaning towards attractive looks and easy puns. Throw in a couple of really awkward scenes involving Nirvana and The Ramones songs, which still thinking about it, makes no sense and actually angered myself, it’s a miss that had all the right signs, but just couldn’t stick the landing. A crocodile bite might have livened it up a tad but alas we shall have to wait until the next one.

Pan is out now on Bluray.

Review by Simon Childs