Well, hello there!
It feels like a million years ago now, but back when I returned from Summer Hiatus in September, one of my first posts was a conglomerate movie review of all the new movies I had seen over the summer.
One of them was Pan, a prequel to the story of Peter Pan. Obviously. At the time, I said to be on the lookout for a review… but by now you have probably forgotten all about that promise.
I didn’t forget… I simply got caught up with other posts and my Unofficial NaNo. But today I am finally circling back to scream at you about how much I enjoyed this movie.
I thought Pan sets up the future story well, while at the same time leaving you with many questions that need either speculation or another prequel-movie. For example, we meet Hook, Peter, and Tigerlily, as well as the Lost Boys. But the story ends with Hook and Peter still friends – or, as I will later go on to tell you, kind of father-and-son duo. It ends with Hook and Tigerlily on the verge, it would seem, of a romantic relationship.
So how do Peter and Hook go from pals-or-maybe-family to mortal enemies? What could possibly have happened to make Hook want to kill his adopted son? How could Hook ever stoop to bumbling Smee’s traitorous level? How could Tigerlily not want to marry Hook in a heartbeat?
So many questions…
So few answers…
But I like that! I enjoy open endings that seem to end happily but hint at heartbreak and this ending definitely does.
The ending wasn’t the only thing I liked, either. For me, this story had everything. A strong cast of talented actors, a lovely soundtrack, gorgeous – if a wee bit weird – aesthetics, and plenty of laughter.
The only character I was disappointed in, sadly, was Peter himself. I just… didn’t care. I know. Awful of me. How could I not care about a little orphan child with watery eyes? I can’t put my finger on it, but something didn’t click with me. Maybe Peter was just a little too stereotypical to be interesting? Maybe I was bored with his hardened-orphan-boy-child ways? I don’t know. Something wasn’t quite right and Peter was not my favorite kid in the universe.
He had his moments… I enjoyed his interactions with Hook – but that might have been because of Hook, to be honest – and his relationship with Tigerlily was sweet. Otherwise… a bit dull.
I did love Peter’s mother in this version! Which is odd, I suppose, because we only see her for a few minutes in the beginning of the story and then in a sort of watery flashback. That didn’t stop me, though. Amanda Seyfried is the epitome of innocent-young-mom and I thought it was pretty cool the way she vaulted that fence. Ninja-mom…
The role Peter’s mother played in his backstory was interesting as well. I have a shocking confession to make: I haven’t read the book Peter Pan. Since that is the case, I’m unsure of the exact backstory we are given in the book? My guess is that there is little or none. Pan was forced to remedy that because if this is a prequel and Hook isn’t the villain yet… we need a villain!
That would be Blackbeard, played by Hugh Jackman of Wolverine and Valjean fame. Thankfully, he does not do any warbling solos in this movie because… no thank you. Oddly enough, there is two cast-sung songs and Jackman kind of leads them. However, I didn’t notice any warbling and so his voice didn’t sound half bad.
All that to say – Blackbeard and Peter’s mother are the main fixtures of the all-important Backstory in this movie.
It was probably all fabricated by I liked it. Peter’s mother is actually one of the fairy-folk that live in Neverland, which makes Peter half-fairy himself and explains his ability to fly and, later – I’m assuming? – the fact that he will never grow up. Though… I thought immortality meant you never died or aged once you reached maturity, not that you were stuck in young childhood? Oh, well. They tried. Peter’s father, obviously, was human. But not before Our Main Man Blackbeard fell in love with her and, um, murdered her. Ouch.
As I said. This is probably not found in the book. But I like it. It reasonably explains some of the “magic” of Peter Pan and, like I said at the beginning of this review, sets the stage for the story we all know.
Love triangles are indeed lame, but this one doesn’t count so much because Peter’s-fairy-ninja-mom wasn’t interested in Blackbeard at all. So that just leaves us with a regularly-shaped love circle with an awkward dot lingering around the edges. Lovely metaphor.
Speaking of Blackbeard…
He was awesome.
Huzzah for a compelling villain! We get enough to background to feel some sympathy for the poor dude who was rejected, but at the same time… he’s trying to kill a kid, for crying out loud. It’s kinda low.
So it’s kind of love-hate-but-mostly-pity thing going on here.
Jackman did a weirdly good job. Like, there are actual tears in his eyes when he asks Peter, “You don’t want to kill me… do you?” And his face in the flashback when he kills the woman he loved… whoa. He meant to kill her. But at the same time, there is this anguish and pain on her behalf. I almost feel bad for the guy.
Let’s talk about My Boy Hook.
If there is one reason this movie is any good at all, it’s this guy.
Firstly and definitely most importantly, he is gorgeous.
Secondly and definitely second-most importantly, he is hilarious.
His lines are great fun and he delivers them like he is having great fun. Which is nice to see! I love watching actors who love acting.
So, my only “complaint” – and it’s not actually a complaint – is that Hook is The Stereotypical Man.
As in, he is good-looking and manages to wear faded work clothes and dirtstreaks with flair and ruggedness, he is charming and has a fabulous smile, he gets all the funny lines, and he is appallingly good with the ladies and singularly focused on them and nothing else.
I only call this a complaint because if I were a guy, I might get tired of seeing myself portrayed this way. As cute and clueless and a wee bit girl-crazy.
But as a girl myself… I love this trope. So. There is that.
Hook’s job in this movie – aside from looking good and saying funny stuff – is to wave his arms in the background and try to catch Tigerlily’s eye. It doesn’t work that well?
Tigerlily is quite good in the world of Female Characters and I begin to wonder if I’m getting less judgmental of other women or if I’m just finding more of them that click with me… Either way is good, right?
Tigerlily is focused and that stood out to me for one glaring reason. Hook is a heartthrob, okay? If I were running around in the jungle with that dude, I would be trying to get his attention. If he was constantly flirting with me, even better.
In other words, I would be totally distracted.
And hey, is that so hard to understand? It’s easy to be selfish. It’s easy to think about your own problems and the drastic improvement in your love life and lose sight of what’s going on with the lonely orphanchild who everyone is trying to kill.
So pardon me for admiring Tigerlily’s singleminded focus on Peter in this movie. He is a hurting little boy and she sees that. And even though she’s trained to be a warrior, she tries to be Peter needs – a mother. She’s looking out for him and if that means that Hook-over-there has to take a backseat, then so be it.
Go you, Tigerlily. I wouldn’t be able to do it.
And so we come to my favorite thing about this movie. The family.
Peter is an orphan. He gets wet eyes when he reads the letter that his mother wrote to him before leaving him at the orphanage. He obviously craves the love and security of a mother and a father. He struggles with identity in this movie, with figuring out who he is and how that compares to what everyone thinks he should be. He explodes at Hook during one scene, declaring that he isn’t what they think he is. And even though Hook is largely a comic relief and a romantic character, he becomes what Peter needs too. He rises to the occasion to be a father-figure for Peter, who so desperately needs one.
I love that!
I love stories about people who are thrown together, splat. And they have to work with it. They have to settle into their new role and become what the other people need.
They become a family.
Not a biological family, but a sort of mish-mashed mongrel family. I’m not saying that better than a biological family – I love family stories of all kinds – but I love watching it happen. I love how they knit together out of mutual need for survival, love, caring, and protection.
Did I love this movie? Yes.
Should you watch it? Also yes.