Basic Summary – Living a bleak existence at a London orphanage, 12-year-old Peter (Levi Miller) finds himself whisked away to the fantastical world of Neverland. Adventure awaits as he meets new friend James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and the warrior Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara). They must band together to save Neverland from the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Along the way, the rebellious and mischievous boy discovers his true destiny, becoming the hero forever known as Peter Pan.
Pan, the prequel to the beloved Peter Pan story, is the story of how Peter Pan became to be. Pan was released this past weekend with hopes of being a huge fall hit; however, it is currently failing in that department with a total of only $40 million worldwide with only a release in China to hopefully save the $150 million dollar budget film. With advertisements plaguing Youtube and television, why did this film turn into the flop it is?
First, this film had too many modern references tied in with the classic story. A reboot of this 1904 play giving the backstory of how Peter Pan came to be the magical being he is didn’t require the high budget quality it had. Using various techniques to try and “connect” with the viewing audience – such as using Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit – were some serious misses in this film. The director has had some great films in the past (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement), but this was the first “studio tentpole directed by Wright” (Yahoo Movies).
Second, it had some serious miscasting here. Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard – I’ll let it slide, but definitely not a great choice. But Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily…that’s not okay. Tiger Lily is Native American in the film so that was a SERIOUS miscast in the film.
Third, the release date was pushed back from the summer (the popular movie viewing season) to the fall in hopes of being able to do reshoots of the film. But none of that happened. In faced bigger competition in the release date with The Martian and Hotel Transylvania 2 both being released on the same weekend. All 3 films where arguing for the audience attention – Hotel Transylvania 2 and Pan fighting for the same demographic field. Pan had to follow the momentum of Hotel Transylvania’s success so even more a problem there.
Pan had so much riding on it and it crushed under the weight of it. Would it have been a great film – No. Would it have fared well if it fixed these errors – maybe. It is hard to figure out where this film would have gone. The audience probably didn’t want to see a prequel to Peter Pan because children prefer to live without every little thing being explained to them. If you do want to check the film out, it has been released in the United States and Europe and soon to be released in China. Make your own judgments about it, but it is one film I would recommend skipping unless you are going for the soundtrack which is beautiful.