From the Disney animated classic to the 1991 Steven Spielberg version “Hook,” Peter Pan has gone through a series of reinventions and reinterpretations on screen. Now, it has been brought to life once again in “Pan,” and the big question is this: Did we really need another take on Pan?
It stars Levi Miller as the titular character, who is left in the hands of a cruel orphanage after his mother abandons him at birth. Peter desperately wants to run away from the orphanage, which is guarded by a series of sadistic nuns. After Peter and his friends commit mischief in the orphanage, the head Mother calls on a group of pirates, who kidnap the kids and take them to Neverland.
Here, Neverland is typical of every other version of that fantastical realm, but none of them had the likes of Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, who looks like he just participated in a drag-queen parade. Oh, and let’s not forget his pirates, who welcome Peter to Neverland with a campy rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Somehow, I think this scene is one of the most unintentionally funny and creepy in contemporary cinema.
Peter is put to work mining fairy dust and eventually meets up with James Hook (Garrett Hedlund). Together, the two hatch a plan to escape after a prophecy is made that a young boy would defeat Blackbeard. Pan is believed to be that boy.
This is a very silly movie, filled with too many special effects and a story so boring and unoriginal, it begs to be asked again: Did we really need another take on Pan? Jackman is buried beneath too much makeup to be either menacing or charismatic. Instead, he just comes off as campy throughout. I also detected no real chemistry between Miller and Hedlund in order for me to believe that they would inevitably become enemies.
“Pan” is odd, busy and instantly forgettable. Ten years from now, kids will probably pick either version of the Pan legend I previously named over this one on a rainy day.
(Rated PG for fantasy action violence, language and some thematic material.)
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.