Movie Review: Pan

My favorite Peter Pan movie of all time is Hook, and no other Pan movie I've seen has ever come close to comparing. However, this version almost does, as the acting, storyline, and 3D were fantastic, and its tagline of "Every legend has a beginning" sums up the film well.

Peter (newcomer Levi Miller) lives in an orphanage in London during World War II; his mother (Amanda Seyfried) dropped him off there when he was a baby, with promises of love and that she would come back for him. We then flash-forward to twelve years later, during WWII, with Peter having to deal with the awful orphanage and its director, who rivals Miss Trunchbull in meanness; she's even giving the children less rations and hoarding all the good stuff (honey, candy, etc.) for herself. Children have been disappearing from the orphanage lately, presumably because they've been adopted, and one night Peter and his friend stay awake to see what's going on - it turns out that pirates have been stealing them from their beds, and they get caught as well.

Soon, Peter finds himself on a mysterious island, where he meets James Hook (Garrett Hedlund - not yet a Captain Hook) and later, Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara), as Peter and Hook try to escape from Blackbeard's (Hugh Jackman) clutches.

I can't say enough good things about this movie; the only negative thing I could say is that I would have liked a bit more backstory about Blackbeard and Hook, as the film primarily focuses on Peter. Hugh Jackman is unrecognizable as Blackbeard, the "big bad" in this Pan installment; James Hook is actually Peter's friend here, although the beginning of the movie cautions us that "friends can start out as enemies, and enemies as friends" - foreshadowing, perhaps? I haven't found anything online about there being a sequel, but the film is definitely left open-ended, and I'd love to find out more about Peter Pan's journey, as well as if/when James Hook - dubbed Captain Hook by Peter, at the end, when he takes the helm of a ship - turns bad or not.

Yes, definitely see this movie, and see it in 3D - this film makes skillful use of 3D and its among the best I have seen lately; you literally felt like you had to duck during some of the scenes, when pirate ships and other debris were hurtling towards you. Jackman should be recognized for his work here, as (like I said previously) he was unrecognizable, both in costume and in mannerisms; Hedlund, Mara, and Miller were all fantastic as well. In my opinion, this isn't really a kids movie, but kids will like the colorfulness of it - Tiger Lily's tribe is very colorful, as are her costumes - and the 3D, and it's rated PG and not PG-13; if you bring your child, though, I'd recommend they be a little older, maybe 7 or 8+. It was refreshing to see an origin story about Peter Pan, as I've mostly only seen movies where he's already in his rightful place in Neverland, and this film was done very well.

Pan is in theaters today, October 9th, and is rated PG with a runtime of 111 minutes. 4.5 stars out of 5.

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