Friday, 23 October 2015

Film: 'Pan'

 I'd have by-passed this were it not that I've got the hots for the HUGE Jackman. It unexpectedly turned out to be a veritable visual feast, and I'm not only referring to the aforementioned star. Director Joe Wright ('Atonement', 'Anna Karenina') proves without doubt that he has a remarkable flair for visual imagination - and he's still only in his early 40s. This is an almost non-stop extravaganza for the eyes, reminding me frequently of the fertile mind of Terry Gilliam, and 'Baron Munchausen' in particular.

It's been noted that the chronology is all to pot, this story being a prequel to that of the Peter Pan novel which the whole world knows, yet the framing story-device of the baby growing up to be a boy (abandoned by his mother, in an orphanage run by hideous tyrant-nun Kathy Burke) is set in WWII London, i.e. several decades after the original tale. Okay, as the entire saga is a flight of fantasy I suppose we can go along without thinking too much about it.
The story here is 12-year-old Peter (Levi Miller, rather colourless, if you ask me) and other boys in the establishment are abducted by the crew of a flying pirate ship captained by the villainous Blackbeard. Jackman, even when playing evil can't but help charisma oozing from his every pore. (It got me wondering what a terrific Satan he'd be in, say, 'Jerry Springer - the Opera'!). Peter discovers his talent for flying which he has to practice at in order to perfect it, meanwhile striking up a friendship with one James Hook, (the future 'Captain H.') in the person of Scandinavian-American actor, Garrett Hedlund, at this stage still possessing both his hands (strange that his name should be so prescient of his hook-wearing future), he being a 'goody' character, sympathetic right to the film's end. There's also Amanda Seyfried and Rooney Mara providing some feminine allure to what otherwise would have been a heavily male 'boy's own adventure' (There's no Wendy here!).
Peter's main driving force is to find out who is mother was who'd given him up and what had become of her. (Blackbeard is involved, if it's not giving too much away).

The special-effect pyrotechnics throughout this extremely busy film are jaw-droppingly good - probably the best I've seen in any film to date - and I saw it in only the 2D version, wishing I'd gone for the other. Otherwise the story is not very substantial though it's largely aimed at a kids audience, so that won't matter too much. I wasn't actually bored at any time despite it's nearly two hours length.

A pleasant surprise, then, though it really does need to be seen on the big screen. Other than the presence of our Hugh - who, I know, isn't appreciated by everyone - its saving grace is those most astonishingly impressive CGI effects........................6.


  1. This one doesn't so anything for me, well, except for Huge Ackman, of course!

    1. Apart from the one we'd both like to rub up against, Bob, I do think that you'd be admiring of the effects. They really are probably quite the best I've ever seen on screen and I don't know where they can go from here..

  2. oh what a let down
    I love the story of Peter Pan, and usually I can't get enough of it, but I will pass on this one. alas.

    1. The story in this film is an attempt to squeeze more from the original novel than there is there in the first place - hence it misfires. Good for only the remarkable effects and for you-know-who.