Pan (2015) – The Magical Island Where Time Stands Still

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Peter Pan; the boy who wouldn’t grow up. Most of us will know the story of the little boy who could fly and lived on the small island of Neverland, but the story of everything that happened before is yet to be told. Pan is a prequel to the well known story Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. It is an awe-inspiring and astonishing tale, filled with laughter as well as tears. Pan can since October ninth be seen in theatres, and despite its underperformance at the box office, it is definitely worth the trip.

The film features the always adaptable Hugh Jackman in the role of Blackbeard, who appears to have undergone quite the transformation, alongside 13-year-old Levi Miller portraying Peter for his first major film debut as a leading actor. The movie also stars Rooney Mara as the Neverland native Tiger Lily and Garrett Hedlund as the rebellious yet friendly cowboy, James Hook. On this Peter Pan twist, the characters do not quite follow the rules written by J.M. Barrie: we get an appearance from Blackbeard, an innocent and morally correct Peter (remember that in the original story he “thinned out” the Lost Boys when they grew up), a Caucasian Tiger Lily and a lovable (and slightly pretentious) Captain Hook.

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Although the characters are well played, the casting has sparked some controversy: why was Rooney Mara cast as Tiger Lily instead of a Native American actress? Peter Pan has always received criticism on the portrayal of the Natives, generally for their stereotypical depiction both in the book and in the 1953 Disney animated movie (“what made the red man red?”). It is a tricky situation to escape from, now that the use of a Native American actress could be seen as enforcing stereotypes and the use of an actress of a different ethnic group could be perceived as cultural appropriation. Nonetheless, the actors playing Natives of Neverland appear to be from various ethnicities, which is a rather decent approach to the situation.

The film features terrifying and yet comical scenes, it is action-packed and will seem as if you are experiencing these wonderful events yourself; yes, this film can be seen in 3D! On top of that, there is an amazing film score composed by the fantastic John Powell, with an opening overture that will shake the auditorium. His music will have you sit up straight when Peter takes to the air and will make you take out your tissues when he finally confronts his mother. The CGI is incredibly well done and it will appear as if the Jolly Roger can really fly. The scenes are filled with dashing colours, a genuine feast before your eyes. The wild costumes of the natives will make you want to join their frolicsome dance. Joe Wright has done a marvellous job capturing the essence of believing in yourself, as well as magic.

Although cliché and slightly unfitting to its sequels, Pan is nonetheless worth the watch, especially for those who like fairy tales and fantasy worlds – prepare yourself to travel to a whole new world and be blown away by the special effects and moving scenes.

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– Catalina & Femke

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