Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pan Review

We're on quite the kick right now in Hollywood with our live-action adaptations of Disney's animated works. This idea is definitely not a new one, but we've had a recent explosion of live-action animated Disney adaptations after Alice in Wonderland earned over $1 billion worldwide in 2010. We got two Snow White movies in 2012 (Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror). Last year gave us Maleficent, a weird Sleeping Beauty adaptation. Early this year we had Cinderella. Now Peter Pan gets his turn with yet another adaptation of the classic story. And this is just the beginning. I'm not even going to begin to list all the live-action animated Disney adaptations that are coming up. The list is long. It's not just Disney doing it. A lot of studios are in on the party. Pan here is Warner Bros. Now before I get myself into trouble, I am very well aware of the fact that Peter Pan didn't originate from Disney. He was created by author and playwright J.M. Barrie in the early 1900's. Disney's version came 50 years later. But it did come, which is why I'm grouping Pan in with these other live-action animated Disney adaptations. I will do the same with upcoming movies The Jungle Book and Tarzan next year even those weren't Disney movies first, either.

In addition to following the trend of live-action animated Disney adaptations, this also follows the trend of Peter Pan adaptations, so we're hitting two birds with one stone here. For some reason, every 10 years or so, Hollywood thinks it's time for a new Peter Pan movie. In 1991 we had Hook. In 2003 we had P.J. Hogan's Peter Pan. Now in 2015 we have Pan. There's also been plenty of TV, play, and book versions of Peter Pan. Why we need so much Peter Pan in our world is beyond me. This is why I respect the idea that Pan filmmakers had of doing something different with the character. This movie is a prequel where the villain is Blackbeard, not Hook. In fact, Hook is a friend of Peter and this was our chance to see how Peter rose to be the hero he is in all the other Peter Pan stories. This was a good idea. It's similar to the idea that Steven Spielberg had of telling the story of what would happen if Peter actually went to the normal world and grew up. It's something different. Thus makes it fresh. On top of this idea, the movie had a great director in Joe Wright and a fantastic cast which included Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara, and Garrett Hedlund. Thus I was initially excited for this movie. Then the trailers started come out. Oh my word. This looked atrocious. I was hoping I was going to be wrong about that. But I wasn't. This movie is awful.

See, having the idea to do something different and unique is a good idea. But there's definitely a line that shouldn't be crossed because if you go too different with a beloved story, you're going to get hanged by the people who actually enjoy the original story and characters. When it comes to Peter Pan, I don't know where exactly that line is, but Pan didn't just cross it. They sprinted past it and are so far into left field with the story that we can't even see where they are. It's not even clever or good in its own right. It's just weird and dumb. If we pretend for a moment that this was the only Peter Pan movie to ever exist, I'd have no interest in the character because nothing in this movie worked. We start out with the most generic, cliche orphan scene. Mother leaves baby at the steps with a note, promising that she will return for him one day. We then jump 12 years into the future and the leader of the orphanage is an angry old lady who hates kids. They get mush as food while the old lady hogs all the good food for herself. Peter and his friend then come up with a scheme to break into her office and find her secret stash. They get caught and punished. Blah, blah, blah. I was bored. I just wanted the pirates to come kidnap them and take them to Neverland, because I knew that was going to happen. It was in every trailer.

But then the pirates actually came and kidnapped them and took them to Neverland. It didn't take long for me to want to go back to the orphanage. This movie is set in World War II and thus when the pirate ship is escaping, it gets stuck in a battle with some fighter planes. Then we go to the most fake version of outer space where Peter is floating around and picking up Jupiter with his hands. We then fly around to some sort of weird area with big water bubbles that have islands in them. Or something like that. What in the freak is going on? I was confused and weirded out. Just get to Neverland already. Arriving there was never that weird and complicated in other versions of Peter Pan. Why did we need to make this version look like everyone is experiencing some sort of psychotic break? I didn't get it. But then we got to Neverland. Things didn't get better. They got worse. One of the first scenes in Neverland is Hugh Jackman leading everyone in that initial scene in song. Okay, this idea is fine. But the song choice? Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. Now this is a fantastic song. But I remind you that this movie is set during World War II. Why in the world are we singing 90's music when the movie is set in the 40's? Did we go through a time warp where this song exists? It makes no sense.

This wasn't the point in the movie where the movie got bad. As I've stated, up to this point nothing in the movie was good. But I could've forgiven a lame introduction if they were able to capture the magic of Neverland. I may not be as huge of a Peter Pan fan when compared to some of my friends, but I still understand why Neverland is so amazing. It's the ideal place for when you are a kid. As a kid, you never want to grow up. You don't want to have to deal with such things as love or work. You just want to be able to play with friends and have non-stop adventures for the rest of your life. That's what Neverland is. It's a fun, magical place where kids get to be kids for their whole lives without having to grow up. Say what you want about the other adaptations of Peter Pan. You can find fault with Disney's animated version of Peter Pan. You can find fault with Steven Spielberg's Hook. You can find fault with the 2003 Peter Pan. But all three of these movies got the idea of Neverland right. I personally don't think I'd call any of these three movies a masterpiece, but I enjoy all three with Hook probably being the best of them. The biggest problem with Pan is that Neverland doesn't feel magical at all. It was a bore. I wasn't sold on the world. I thought the characters were poorly written. The story was a complete mess that got worse as it went on. The rules of Neverland in this version didn't make sense. The history that they tried to tell felt way off. The ending was absolutely atrocious. Everything that makes Neverland and the characters withing so beloved are gone in this movie. Nothing is right. And when I mean nothing is right, I mean nothing is right.

Let's talk about some of these characters in this movie. I wasn't able to latch onto any of them, which is really disappointing because there are some good actors in this. Let's start with Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard. The guy is one of my favorite actors for good reason. He's had so many iconic roles now in his career and he's nailed all of them. Was he bad in this? No. But he's not that great either. I can tell that he's having fun with the character and doing the best with what he's been given, but that last part is the problem. He's been given nothing to work with in this. Blackbeard is not a very compelling villain in this at all. Then we have Hook, who is usually the villain in Peter Pan. This time he's friends with Peter and although I like this idea, I hated Hook in this movie. Someone told Garrett Hedlund to do this weird, annoying voice the whole time. Whoever had that idea and told Hedlund to continue that the whole movie deserves to be punched. Next up is Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily. She's probably the most likable character in this, but there's probably bias in that statement because I absolutely adore Rooney Mara. She's just fantastic. But the huge elephant in the room there is the fact that we have a white girl playing a Native American character. Unfortunately I'm jumping on the band wagon that this was a bad idea. It just didn't work. Finally there is Levi Miller as Peter Pan. I really feel bad for the kid that this was his introduction as an actor because he's just not a good Peter Pan.

The other thing is that this didn't even look good visually. I'm usually not one to complain about CGI. You can have a good movie that's mostly CGI. But the key there is you have to make it look convincing enough to convince me that you had real sets and are in a real world. This looks like we are in a computer, not in Neverland. It looked like the actors were acting in front of a green screen the whole time and not on actual sets. This was especially bad when they were flying around on the ship. When someone was falling out of the ship, I didn't feel any fear or dread for the character because the world they were in was so fake. Earlier this week I saw The Walk, which was another movie that was probably shot on green screens. But they did a perfect job at making me feel like it was real. This is 2015 that we are in. It shouldn't be that hard to make a visually stunning movie where Neverland feels real. This is the one thing that this movie should've gotten right. But not even this was right. Even Hook had a much better Neverland visually speaking and that movie is now 24 years old. That's kinda sad when you think about it.

All in all, this is one of those situations where I'm really confused that a movie this bad got made. This is Joe Wright. He's made some good movies like Atonement and Hanna. As the director, he is responsible for a whole heck of a lot of horrid decisions that were made in this movie. It makes no sense. Then we have people like Hugh Jackman and Rooney Mara who looked at the script for this movie and decided that it was a good idea for their careers to go forward with this project. How does this happen? I don't understand. This should've been a good movie. There should've been at least a few things that were done right. But no. Nothing about this movie is right. If you are a fan of Peter Pan, get prepared for your beloved story and characters to get ripped into shreds and thrown into a blender. This is a disaster. If you are a parent with kids aged 5-8 who aren't very familiar with Peter Pan, this might be a movie they'll enjoy. Kids usually aren't very critical. Outside that audience, though, this is a movie that deserves to be skipped. It was one of those times where the movie theater started to feel like a prison. I was writhing in pain and agony the whole time. This is one of the worst movies of the year. Not quite as bad as Fantastic Four or Jupiter Ascending, but that's not saying very much. My grade for Pan is a 4/10.

1 comment:

  1. that's really nice post and i'm love your review. i'm glad that i'm found this post on google. click my website to watch the pan movie online free. Watch Pan 2015 Online