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PAN soars through skies, whisks through fairy dust, and skips in-and-over time through the wonderous dimensions of Neverland. In this interpretation, occurring before the adventures of Peter Pan and Wendy Darling, Peter Pan (Levi Miller), Captain Hook (Garrett Hedlund), and Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) unexpectedly come together to embark on an adventure to seek the roots of Peter’s past and fulfill his destiny.
Peter knew nearly nothing of his own beginnings as he lived as an orphan in the Lambert Home for Boys of London in the 1940’s. His dauntless qualities however, were inherited from his mother, Mary (Amanda Seyfried), who was recognized as a warrior by the people of Neverland. The only record of his mother, other than the necklace of a pan flute, is a letter. In this letter, Mary verifies her love for Peter and her belief that the two will reunite, even if in another world- talk about foreshadowing. From this moment, Peter’s sole objective is to find his mother. He got his chance to do just that when pirates kidnapped the boys from the home. However, these pirates paralleled figures from the infamous Cirque du Soleil. Their exaggerated makeup and elaborate garb made them ironically scarier than the pirate archetype. The eccentric pirates crudely forced the captured boys into an eerily-enchanting, levitating pirate ship that took off into the sky with a jolt, headed for Neverland. PAN submerges you into the domain of a captivating nightmare, animated without animation.
Taken away from the only home they’ve known, the boys arrive at Blackbeard’s (Hugh Jackman) quarry. Though one might be skeptical about Hugh Jackman’s casting as Blackbeard, he portrays the egotistical, flamboyant, dictator quite well. PAN reveals that Blackbeard is really an old man well past his time, who relies on the fairy dust mined by the kidnapped boys to bring him immortality. Here, we are also introduced to the infamous Hook. His callous and cynical manner is familiar as he easily dismisses Peter’s presence. On Peter’s first day, a mishap lands him in hot water; but, of course, Peter manages to escape – by flying. It was the reveal of this ability that sparked a flame in Hook to befriend him, becoming Peter’s only way home. Hook’s re-characterization in PAN provides an alternative perspective of the villainous figure. In the end, however, Hook was an enemy.
Peter Pan and Hook also take a dip from their magical boat ride and land right on the coast where the “Natives” live. Before the two are nearly sacrificed, Tiger Lily intervenes after she recognizes the pan flute charm necklace around Peter’s neck. The first thing one might take notice of would be the outlandish abundance of vivid colors. This interpretation of a Native tribe may be considered festive to some, but exaggerated to others. A controversy sparked over the casting of actress Rooney Mara, who “lacked the diverse nature” required to play a Native American, as the animated Peter Pan’s Tiger Lily was depicted to be.
PAN depicts Peter as our heroic protagonist who has a prophecy he needs to fulfill: to revolt against Blackbeard to protect the fairy nation. There are a few hiccups in the production itself though. Tinkerbell fans would have been disappointed by her singular appearance, a mere fifteen-seconds of fame and without a speaking part. Another downside of the movie was the forced flirtation of Hook upon Tiger Lily. Nonetheless, Peter represented courage as he continued the legacy of his war hero mother, protecting the rights of all inhabitants of Neverland. With extraordinary graphics that delve into the mystical nooks and coves of Neverland, PAN transports you to another dimension with an apparent “happily ever after.”