“If only I was the boy who could fly”
When walking out of a movie I always think about how it made me feel. I had heard bits and pieces about Pan. Mostly it was bad, if not horrific. Film reviews however are written by grown ups and as we all know, the older you get the further you get from the magic of childhood. If I was a young boy watching this movie I strongly suspect that I would be thinking to myself “if only I was the boy who could fly”.
Pan is essentially an origin story or prequel to the much loved story of Peter Pan written by J.M. Barrie. Peter (Levi Miller) is left as a baby on the door step of an orphanage and grows up dreaming of one day being reunited with his mother. While searching for hidden food he stumbles upon the orphanages records and finds a letter from his mother telling him she will be reunited with him ‘”in this world or the next”.
As night falls on the orphanage Mother Barnabas (Kathy Burke) raises the pirate flag on the roof and one by one the children are snatched by Blackbeard’s pirates and find themselves captive in Neverland. Forced to work mining for “pixim” which is a type of fairy dust, used by Blackbeard to retain his youthfulness, Peter is determined to escape his clutches.
Accused of stealing some pixim Peter is forced to walk the plank by Blackbeard and while plunging towards the ground below he discovers he can fly. It’s at this point we learn of the legend of a boy born to a human mother and a fairy Prince who will return to Neverland and restore the balance. While in the mines he meets and befriends James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and together the two plot their escape in search of Peters mother and to find the fairy kingdom.
Hugh Jackman is of course wonderful as Blackbeard. You really get the sense that he is having a blast prancing around in his way over the top pirate costumes and joining in on a chorus of Nirvana’s Smells like Teen Spirit (which was a little odd). Roony Mara as Tiger Lily is less successful in terms of casting and has a distinct lack of energy about her.
Pan is directed by Joe Wright who brought us period dramas such as Atonement and Pride and Prejudice both of which were beautifully shot. In keeping with that approach Pan is a visual feast and I see no reason why children won’t love the magic of Peter and Neverland. The adults, going by reviews would appear to hate it but I’m going to give it 2.5 out of 5. It’s fun easy watching and for over two hours I left the land of grown ups far behind and settled into life in Neverland. Check out the trailer below. Pan is in cinemas now.