Movie review of “Pan”: This latest remake, starring newcomer Lev Miller as the boy who never wants to grow up, is uneven but full of visual razzle-dazzle and quirky riffs on familiar characters. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.
If you grew up on Steven Spielberg’s “Hook” (1991) or the Australian “Peter Pan” (2003), you may embrace this latest remake directed by Joe Wright. It’s full of visual razzle-dazzle and quirky riffs on familiar characters, even if the end result is uneven.
“Pan” is set in a London orphanage during World War II, but that doesn’t stop Wright from turning the Nirvana anthem “Smells Like Teen Spirit” into a production number starring Hugh Jackman and what looks like a million miners.
Wright made a respectable version of “Pride and Prejudice” in 2005, though it wasn’t the version with Colin Firth that is so fondly remembered. “Pan” has a heart and an interesting origin story, but like many recent multimillion-dollar productions, it’s guilty of overkill. Mayhem fills the final half-hour, which becomes a showcase for pounding music and repetitious visual effects.
Movie Review ★★½
‘Pan,’ with Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara. Directed by Joe Wright, from a screenplay by Jason Fuchs, based on J.M. Barrie’s characters. 111 minutes. Rated PG for fantasy-action violence, language and some thematic material. Several theaters.
The inventive script begins with Peter’s mother dropping off the infant to an orphanage, where he grows up hungry and rebellious (all memories of “Oliver!” are encouraged). During the Blitz, as the Nazis bomb London, he somehow winds up on a gravity-defying sailing ship headed for Neverland, where he meets campily villainous Blackbeard (Jackman), glamorous Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and uncertain Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara).
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Hook is glamorous? In this version, that’s the case, and Hedlund’s matinee-idol looks don’t hurt. He forms an instant rapport with Peter, played so well by Levi Miller, a precocious newcomer who brings a sense of mystery to the role that’s always welcome.
“Pan,” at its best, takes seriously the dilemma of a child burdened with a prophecy that makes him responsible for an impressive part of the future. At its worst, it’s just another mayhem machine.