WRITTEN BY: Jason Fuchs
DIRECTED BY: Joe Wright
STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Levi Miller, Rooney Mara
RATING: 3.5 stars
Peter (Levi Miller) is living in a London orphanage during World War Two when he is kidnapped by pirates and taken by a flying ship to Neverland. There, Peter meets fellow captive James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) but soon catches the eye of the villainous Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) who worries that Peter might be the boy to fulfil the prophecy of a flying child leading a revolution against his tyranny. But Peter is more concerned about finding his mother and seeks the help of Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) in his quest.
Pan is a whimsical origins story with gorgeous sets. Unfortunately, the film is also unnecessarily long, as is typical of director Joe Wright who never quite seems to know when to yell “cut!” Jackman obviously had a lot of fun with the role but he is not in the film enough and over-acts in some scenes, no doubt under instruction from Wright. He may have top billing, but Jackman has less screen time than the rest of the principal cast. Still, watching Blackbeard make an entrance to Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit will never get old. Hedlund and Miller are the stand-out performers. Miller is a wonderful young actor, expressing a range of emotions, while Hedlund has basically provided a mesmerising two-hour audition tape to play the next Indiana Jones. The romance between Hook and Tiger Lily is also sweet and Mara is sympathetic in her role. The ending hints at the possibility of a sequel and I am sure younger audiences will especially take delight in that prospect.