Review: ‘Pan’ is a colorful, strange disappointment

Andrew Shermoen

If “Pan” has anything that can be praised it is that the visual design of this film is very appealing, albeit a few visual effects that look about as poorly animated as The Scorpion King in “The Mummy Returns.” The rest of “Pan” is a jumble of poor acting, lack of logic, a boring universe, poorly written dialogue and people chanting Nirvana lyrics for some odd reason.

One night a woman named Mary (Amanda Seyfried) leaves a baby on the doorstep of an orphanage leaving a small necklace that resembles a pan flute. This boy’s name is Peter (Levi Miller), and his life in the orphanage is far from comfortable, as he is constantly mistreated by the nuns. Late one night a group of pirates comes through London on a flying ship and captures Peter and several other orphans. The ship takes him to Neverland, where he meets Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), the cruel leader of the pirates. Peter is forced to mine for fairy dust, and it is during his servitude that he meets James Hook (Garrett Hedland). With the help of Hook and his friend Smee (Adeel Akhtar), Peter escapes the mine and is taken to the natives of the island, where Princess Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) tells him of the prophecy about a boy who will fly.

Let’s get one thing straight: If your movie doesn’t have comprehensible rules, then your movie is doomed to fail. Sometimes in a film you have to suspend your disbelief to accept the rules of the world. In “Star Wars,” several masters have control over a mysterious presence known as The Force, and it is set up perfectly. We see it work within consistent rules without clunky exposition and it just makes sense. Don’t ask me to sit down in the theater after already enduring 40 minutes of drivel and terrible acting to hear Tiger Lily say “The mermaids can store memories in the water,” and expect me to accept that. The mermaids can store memories in the water because it was convenient at the moment in the story, and it didn’t feel natural at all.

On top of a lack of plausible rules, the performances are terrible, especially Levi Miller’s portrayal of Peter, which was whiney and unappealing. Garrett Hedland’s Hook was confusing, it was difficult to get a grasp on what he was trying to do with that character adaptation. Rooney Mara does a fine job with what she is given, but her character’s choices did not feel weighted and are mostly nonsensical. Hugh Jackman was surprisingly frightening as Blackbeard, but his character didn’t have nearly enough to do. Speaking of people in this movie with nothing to do, Amanda Seyfried and Cara Delevingne. Why were two well-known, high-profile actresses portraying characters that had no purpose in this film? Seyfried has a few lines, but it ultimately amounts to nothing, and Delevingne has no lines. She plays one of the mermaids whose presence in this film was ultimately useless.

Thank goodness there wasn’t a lot of dialogue, because this film’s dialogue was so basic and predictable that it was painful to listen to. The actors didn’t even have witty lines to save them from their flat, boring characters.

If I could find something positive to say, it would be that most of the visuals are quite impressive. The flying ships making sharp turns and diving amongst the environment around them is actually a very intriguing sight. However, whenever Peter flies, they simply paste his head on an animated body of the same hideous quality of “I Am Legend.”

Pan is not a good movie, in fact it’s probably the worst movie I’ve seen this year (I avoided “Fantastic Four” and “Pixels” like the plague). Do yourself a favor and skip it. The acting is weak, the dialogue even weaker and the movie makes absolutely no sense. Save your money and go see “Sicario,” “The Martian” or “The Walk” instead.