There are films you love on sight, there are films you grow to admire, and there are films which, the more you think about them, the worse they get. Sadly, Pan falls into the latter category.
With Jason Fuchs’ laboured, clunky script, admittedly there is not a lot for the actors to work with, but still… there are no excuses for whatever the hell Garrett Hedlund is doing during this movie! Seriously, what direction could he have been given to create that performance? The one positive thing we can say about it is that he is certainly committed, and by the end of the film you actually start feeling a little sorry for the guy, but it is a huge, in your face, disappointing aspect of the film.
Hugh Jackman, on the other hand, is clearly having the time of his life while at the same time succeeding in fully inhabiting his character. It’s actually one of his better performances of recent years which it has no right to be. Rooney Mara does her utmost to bring some class, subtlety, and realism to this mess of fantasy but her efforts are curtailed by the fact that she has to share most of her scenes with Hedlund’s Hook, while Levi Miller is a very photogenic actor but when he is tasked with delivering the big emotional moments he does fall short. On a much more positive note Adeel Akhtar’s Sam Smiegel is an absolutely wonderful creation and the film lifts every time he is on screen.
Working in a world that we will recognise from the book, the Disney film, Hook etc. There are still some wonderful new concepts in the production design – particularly in the battle between the pirates and the natives where the violence is kept cleverly child-friendly. Admittedly there is a little too much CGI (and much of it is not brilliant), but the animated story-telling elements are absolutely gorgeous – really the best part of the film.
Essentially, Pan fails to convince as a good family film as the elements don’t really gel. For example, the use of ‘contemporary’ songs is rather an oddity as they are not immediately recognisable and, particularly in the case of Smells Like Teen Spirit, seem to have been put in for the older factions in the audience with little context for the younger folk. It all just feels a little thrown-together and ill-considered. Joe Wright can and has done better.
Pan is out in the UK now.
Read Steve Clarke’s film review of Sicario here>