It’s quite refreshing to finally get an origin story off the back of J M Barrie’s Classic Peter Pan story and not just another boring take to the endless amounts of Peter Pan films we have been constantly endured to.
What makes this film even more compelling is the fact it’s a story that stands all on its own, apart from referencing only a limited amount of the story from Barrie’s own Peter Pan or the Disney-esque fluff we are used to seeing.
Beginning our story, we are transported back to a Dickensian London, Peter (Levi Miller) being abandoned at an orphanage by his mother when just a baby (for what reason we do not know at this point). Fast forward a few years, Peter is a cheeky kid with suspicions that the evil Mother Barnabus (Kathy Burke) has been hoarding all the food. To add to his suspicions, when waking up in the mornings, a number of boys have disappeared. Turns out Mother Barnabus, with her witch-like features, has been selling them off to a bunch of Pirates from Neverland so they can be used as cheap labour.
Dropping through the skylights at night on what seems like bungee ropes; the pirates take Peter and a few of his fellow orphans during an acrobatic circus act and house them safely on flying ships. To the older audience it may seem confusing at this point as the flying ships travel across the London skies the endure a battle with a bunch of spitfires combining two different time periods of history, but maybe we just aren’t meant to think about that.
Once arriving at the mining camp the boys are set to work to find the fairy dust or ‘Pixum’ for the evil pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), who for once in a role is completely recognisable if you didn’t know it was him. Peter subsequently makes friends with the most unlikely of people in the form James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) who, in his arrogance, stature and appearance has a massive resemblance to Indiana Jones, oh and still has both hands. Hedlund’s Hook is almost likable with his fedora and womanising ways; could we see a sequel to this prequel detailing what exactly happened to turn Hook against Peter?
It comes to light there is a prophecy, and Peter is that prophecy. Stemming from his parentage, he is the chosen one who is to lead the children to freedom, defeat Blackbeard and save the vibrantly colourful Piccaninny tribe, who are led by Princess Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara). Finding out about his parents and their history, Peter is obviously daunted by the fact he is this special boy sent to save their world and struggles to convince himself as he leads his people to freedom.
Fresh and at times a little modern when the cast break out into song with Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, Pan has that panto style performance. Vibrant, with a script to match Pan, will be a firm family favourite.
Pan is out in UK cinemas on the 16th of October.