The reviews for “Pan” haven’t been kind. The fantasy film by “Atonement” and “Anna Karenina” director Joe Wright is a prequel to J.M. Barrie‘s classic “Peter Pan” story and comes with a $150 million price tag. It stars 13-year-old Levi Miller as the title character, along with Garrett Hedlund as a young Hook and Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard. Rooney Mara is featured as Tiger Lily, a character originally written as Native American, which drew even more criticism. Will this turn out to be a Razzie favorite? And could it contend for Oscars too? Let’s consider the reviews.
Peter Debruge (Variety) says, “At no point in the entire film is any character allowed to have any fun at all, which is a rather devastating flaw for a movie that’s supposed to be set in an eternal wonderland of play and arrested childhood innocence.”
Todd McCarthy (Hollywood Reporter) disliked the film, but appreciated the lead performance: “What fun there is falls to Jackman, who gives the grand old man of pirate characters plenty of fresh and unusual wrinkles and emerges better than the others … After a certain point, one is thankful for small favors in such a bloated affair.”
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) doesn’t mince words: “Joe Wright’s origin story of Peter and the lost boys has to be the dimmest, deadliest take ever on J.M. Barrie’s Pan myth.” And Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune) adds that it’s “the most joyless revisionism since Disney’s ‘The Lone Ranger.'”
Some critics are kinder, though, including Tom Russo (Boston Globe), who calls it a “passable adventure that offers the occasional flash of real cleverness.” And Bill Zwecker (Chicago Sun-Times) calls it “one heck of a charming romp.”
The good news for the film is that even if it does emerge as a contender at the Razzies, it could still be a player at the Oscars – just like “The Lone Ranger.” That widely derided update of the classic TV series was nominated at the Razzies for Worst Picture and Worst Director in 2013, but it also contended for two Oscars: Best Makeup/Hairstyling and Best Visual Effects. Given the lavish production values and fantasy details of “Pan,” it could still make a strong impact with the academy.
What do you think of “Pan’s” pans? Does it deserve its harsh criticisms? Could it win Oscars anyway?
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Photo: Hugh Jackman in “Pan.” Credit: Moviestore/REX