I love Peter Pan and so far the various iterations and side stories have been pretty good. I have read the book, seen the video version of the play, seen the Disney movie, watched Hook and Finding Neverland. When I first heard about Pan, a new prequel story to Peter Pan I was pretty excited – even the trailer looked decent, even with some of the casting issues that came up.
Then the reviews came out and it sounded bad, so we did not see it until now. Pan showed up on HBO so David and I decided we would take the time to see what this movie was all about. My basic review is that there is no joy in Pan, which to me misses some of the point of the Peter Pan story. I feel like in all of the other stories and movies surrounding the Peter Pan story they are all filled with a child-like joy that Pan is simply lacking. The movie is visually stunning, but then there is no real substance to back it up.
The Core of Peter Pan
Peter Pan really is a great story. There is a balancing act between wanting to remain a child forever and having to grow up. The thing that I get out of Peter Pan is that even if we grow up we do not need to forget our child-like imagination and wonder. Peter is a boy who does not want to grow up and lives in Neverland in order to stay young forever. Part of never growing up is that he loves to play games and have fun. He never really deals with anything serious or seriously. In his interactions with Captain Hook, no matter how dire or serious the situation might be, it never seems to get him down.
In the movie Hook part of what needed to happen is for Peter to find that wonderment and joy again after allowing himself to grow up. As we grow older we should never forget our time in Wonderland and what that means to us.
In this new movie they are just missing some of that joy. They still have the kids want to be kids, and the adults who don’t seem to want to have any fun, but there is just something missing. It is trying to add a whole other mythos to the Peter Pan story that just is not there. Part of it is they tried to add additional meaning to the history that just does not need to be there. Then instead of having Captain Hook as the villain they decide to make a new villain in Hugh Jackman’s character of Blackbeard, and Hook is actually a good guy.
The relationships in the movie just end up feeling weird and disjointed. The kid who plays Pan does not do a terrible job, but with the general direction of the story he is just so serious the whole time. It really lacks any heart.
Over the Top
It seems what they lacked in story or heart that they made up for in just plain ridiculousness. Some of the scenes are generally beautiful, but so much of it is just over the top. The character that is particularly over the top is Blackbeard. I love Hugh Jackman, but this was not a shining moment in his career. It is not necessarily that he did a terrible job because you never know what the director and others call for with the parts. Blackbeard is not the only one that is over the top, but he is probably the worst of all of them. It is really almost hard to describe how badly everyone’s parts are done.
Honestly this might be one of the worst movies I have ever seen – worse than another bad Hugh Jackman movie, Van Helsing. There is at least one that I think is worse, but this is definitely up there. I just really do not know how you can turn a movie about Peter Pan and make it SO boring.