Pan was truly a cinematic feast for the eyes. There were so many elements within this film that completely captured you visually. You couldn’t help but feel like you were there, in the moment joining the cast on this adventure. I left the cinema thinking Levi Miller, who portrays Peter, did a phenomenal job from start to finish. I believe I said he was so in the moment and so emotional throughout, that it was the mark of a great actor, concluding my statement with, he’s one to watch. You will see, in the years to come, Miller will perfect his craft and take the acting world by storm.
Another stand out, Hugh Jackman. Australians are doing a marvellous job portraying fairytale villains as of late. Following Cate Blanchett, who absolutely embodied the evil stepmother in Cinderella, Jackman transforms into the villain known as Blackbeard. As this is a somewhat prequel to the Peter Pan tale we all know and love, a kind of beginnings or origin story if you like, we discover Blackbeard has a hidden agenda in capturing young orphans, one of them being Peter. (A creepy scene in itself, but for some reason it reminded me of a dance). We are taken to Neverland where we are introduced to characters such as James Hook and Sam Smeigel aka Mr. Smee, we find out Blackbeard is essentially searching for a way to live forever. This comes in the form of fairy dust. At one point Blackbeard was hiding from Peter, about to do something dramatic, and a little child in the cinema exclaimed in surprise upon seeing this. It’s great when a film creates a sense of response from you as the viewer. Job well done and I must commend director Joe Wright on how remarkable this film truly is.
Along the way there are several underlying plots, such as Peter’s search for his mother, befriending new allies and discovering his destiny in the form of saving Neverland from Blackbeard. Jackman does a spectacular job in creating theatricality when it comes to Blackbeard. His intro was at first interesting to say the least, mixed feelings were shared amongst my guests, but I have to say, as creepy and scary as he may look, I found myself enjoying the performance. Oddly enough I really liked his character. A departure from the usual hero like character we’re prone to seeing Jackman play. Familiar faces also include, Nonso Anozie as Blackbeard’s comrade Bishop, and Amanda Seyfried as Mary, Peter’s mother.
Rooney Mara personified another great character, Tiger Lily. At one point I thought, finally a heroine to look up to. I enjoyed all her sequences, I loved the costuming, and makeup, both really contributed to the overall sensory experience. The music throughout the film also played on this idea, working well from start to finish. Tiger Lily’s headdress was incredible, I left the cinema thinking it created such an astonishing visual. To be honest the colours in the tribe scenes were breathtaking, so vibrant and it created a feeling of joy and happiness, something that made you feel warm and for some reason, fulfilling. All these elements combined to create a really cohesive world that you could just get lost in. Fantastic work.
Other aspects of creative storytelling techniques within the film, were the use of shadows and lighting. I noticed in the tent scenes the use of shadows were employed to help misdirect characters, and assist in the telling of certain parts within the story. Most notably when Blackbeard and his accomplice are positioned behind a map, creating a silhouette, planning their next devious move. It says a lot about their characters and their agendas. Another storytelling technique I loved was, when Tiger Lily was explaining what happened to Neverland in the past, known as the ‘Tree of Memories’ sequence. It reminded me so much of the scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1, ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’. I loved it!
Mr. Smee portrayed by Adeel Akhtar, offered some comedic lightness to the film. Some of the lines he uttered had me chuckling. In the face of a negative situation he always finds a positive. With gems like, “…Shot at, Pirates searching for us and you see something like that and you think, worth it.” And “Their faces are terrible, but their feathers are quite lovely.” The scene with the mermaids played by Cara Delevingne was a lovely sequence, especially after the chilling crocodile scene we experienced seconds before. Staring at the mermaids Hook says, “What the heck are those?” and Peter replies with great wit, “I don’t know, but I know you’re going to like them.”
I loved the relationship between Hook and Peter. It was so sweet to see how Peter looked up to Hook in almost a big brother type of way, and throughout the movie you can’t help but think, what happens to destroy this? It’s somewhat referenced towards the end with the characters saying “We’ll always be friends, good friends won’t we?” With Hook responding, “Always, what could possibly go wrong?” For some reason I found Garrett Hedlund as Hook, a little over the top. Especially his character voice, a real negative. I felt like it was incredibly forced. For some reason it reminded me of someone. Maybe he was trying to emulate a classic Hollywood golden era voice, it didn’t work. I can’t help but think perhaps his voice was like that, so he could possibly segue into Captain Hook’s voice in potential upcoming films.
I absolutely adored the ending. It was brilliant! Peter elegantly jumping off the side of the ship, to fly, and then lead the fairies against Blackbeard. I was borderline about to start clapping and yelling I do believe in fairies, I do, I do! It made me so happy. Yes this is coming from someone who had several fairy birthday parties, but it’s escapism. Entering a world that’s magical, and creative, and extraordinary. Absolutely sensational. Followed by a beautiful heartwarming scene between Peter and Mary, it was absolutely touching. Connections between family and friends, are ultimately something you experience when you watch films. I’m looking forward to the next adventure, second star to the right and straight on ‘till morning.
Image courtesy of Roadshow Films