Out of the f ly­ing Pan

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

PAN (PG)

Di­rec­tor: Joe Wright (Atone­ment) Star­ring: Hugh Jack­man, Levi Miller, Gar­rett Hed­lund, Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried

IT wasn’t as if any sec­tion of the gen­eral public wished they knew what Peter Pan was do­ing be­fore au­thor J.M. Bar­rie dreamt him up as the eter­nally youth­ful fly­ing mas­cot of Nev­er­land.

There­fore Pan’s newly imag­ined take on Peter’s early days rarely achieves lift-off, for­ever an­chored by its own ir­rel­e­vance.

In short, the beloved Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up gets slapped with an Ori­gin Story That Doesn’t Stack Up. It must be said, how­ever, Pan does take a while to show its (pro­nounced lack of) true colours.

A de­cep­tively vi­brant open­ing act prom­ises a youth­ful hero who will be well worth cheer­ing for against all odds.

When we first meet Peter (an as­sured lead de­but from young Aus­tralian ac­tor Levi Miller), he is just another or­phan do­ing it tough in WWII-era Lon­don.

Then all of a sud­den, Peter and his fel­low urchins are au­da­ciously ab­ducted as they sleep.

By the time the cap­tive kids are wide awake, they re­alise they are now aboard a fly­ing pi­rate ship head­ing out of the Bri­tish cap­i­tal at a blaz­ing rate of knots. To fur­ther up the stakes, the Al­lies and the Ger­mans are also con­duct­ing a fe­ro­cious aerial fire­fight all around them.

The ar­chi­tect of this mass theft of or­phans? That would be the dreaded pi­rate Black­beard (a hammy Hugh Jack­man, not his best work).

He’s head hon­cho of Nev­er­land, where the pop­u­la­tion work as slaves to mine a mys­tery sub­stance keep­ing the cen­turies-old Black­beard look­ing fight­ing fit and fortysome­thing.

Black­beard and his minions also love a mass sin­ga­long to their favourite tracks by Nir­vana and The Ra­mones. Why? Can’t ex­actly tell you. Nei­ther can the mak­ers of Pan. Fun while it lasts, though.

And all fun soon dis­ap­pears once lit­tle Pete bud­dies up with a nice bloke named Hook (yes, he’s that Hook, but no, he’s not yet the vil­lain he will one day be­come) and the pair go on the run from Black­beard and as­sorted blag­gards.

From here, Pan shrinks rapidly down to a dull chase pic, punc­tu­ated by lav­ish fan­tasy in­ter­ludes that merely com­pound the bore­dom.

A sub-plot look­ing to slide a lit­tle ro­mance into the mix be­tween Hook and an alarm­ingly non­de­script Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) is a to­tal bust.

So too is the fi­nal act’s failed push to re-po­si­tion Peter Pan as a hard-nut Harry Pot­ter type wor­thy of fur­ther fran­chised ad­ven­tures.

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