“Have you come to kill me, Peter?
I don’t believe in bedtime stories.”
Occasionally I don’t mind watching a film adaptation of a fairy tale. I liked the movie “Hook” with Robin Williams in the role of an adult Peter Pan who forgot what it was like in his childhood, a lot. An original alternative to the classic tale of Peter Pan, the boy who never wants to grow up and has exciting adventures on the island of Neverland. “Pan” approaches the story of Peter in a different perspective. It’s more about the pre-Peter Pan era where we see him at first as a newborn little baby, abandoned at an orphanage, guided by a gang of nuns who clearly skipped the chapters about charity and compassion in the Bible. The orphanage looks more like a concentration camp where all those little fellows have to live by strict rules and are treated like slaves. The comparison with “Oliver Twist” is inevitable. And to be honest this was the most magical part of the whole movie for me. What follows is a rather bombastic and chaotic story.
As soon as Peter (Levi Miller) is lifted out of his bed, by some pirates hanging on elastics, and he’s being hoisted aboard a pirate ship sailing through the air, the film turns into a higher gear. Admittedly, the scene with that ship floating through the air and being chased by fighter planes, looked absolutely stunning. And the unrecognizable Hugh Jackman as Captain Blackbeard is magnificent. A magisterial role and probably the most eccentric character that Jackman has ever played. But unfortunately, the special effects and computer-animated images are so dominant during the film.The magic of the original story gradually disappears and is being replaced by what the current magicians in the special effects department can make up nowadays.
At one point, I looked totally flabbergasted at the screen. Not because of the stunning images and swirling action scenes, but because a crowd of pirates and kidnapped children loudly sang “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Nirvana. I didn’t recognize it immediately. But then I couldn’t believe my ears. I never thought that this masterpiece would be used in a fairy tale. And why the hell this song? Was it because”Nevermind” sounds like “Neverland”? Or because Cobain is seen as someone who never wanted to grow up either? I thought and still think it’s a bizarre choice of music and I’m sure Cobain will turn over in his grave after hearing the news that one of his songs was used in a fairytale movie. In my view inappropriate and irrelevant.
And you can expect a hodgepodge of mixed rarities. An Indiana Jones kind of inmate called Hook (Garrett Hedlund), who of course in a later stage will be the archenemy of Peter, and some beautiful mermaids. And lets not forget the fearsome crocodile. And a native village with residents turning into colorful clouds as soon as they are killed. Also impressive images of ports floating in the air and pirate boats sailing in the air through water bubbles (made me think of a Dali artwork). There’s even a moment with Peter Pan orbiting Saturn. So fairly abstract and bizarre at times. But it wasn’t real magic. Peter showing of his flying skills is rather limited. Tinkerbell has only a small part in the complete movie. The only thing remaining is a lot of stunt work full of chases and skirmishes.
It’s a bit exaggerated. What remains are the excellent performances of Miller and especially Jackman. Not to mention the rather funny contribution by Sam Smiegel (Adeel Akhtar). But despite the superb acting and the successful decors, the end result is still weak. I’m sure there are already plans for a sequel. Something I’m not enthusiastically waiting for. Hello, hello, hello, how low. Oh well, whatever, never mind.