Have you ever been to an art gallery and seen a painting that you think you like at first but the longer you stare at it the more you start to see why it’s shoved in the dark corner beside the Janitors closet. The colours don’t match, the canvas size is irregular in an unsettling sort of way and the message is muddied by, what appears to be, a splat of paint caused by the artist sneezing and deciding to go with it. As if that wasn’t enough you can almost make out some Kanji on the right hand side of the painting that is apparently supposed to read “Faith” but actually says “Fart Giraffe”. Well now imagine that painting became a movie and you’re left with Pan.
Pan is the whimsical tale of how Peter Pan went from an orphanage in London to Neverland, seems like a pretty solid concept and upon first hearing it I was sold. I would be lying if I said I didn’t put off watching because I was immediately irked by Tiger Lily’s design but I’ll touch on that later. I had been feeling under the weather a few weeks ago and kids films always tend to cheer me up and, after burning through everything I had already seen millions of times, I decided to give the movie a shot. Maybe everything surrounding Tiger Lily would be good enough for me to ignore how terrible her casting and design ended up being.
It almost was.
The first bit of the movie, up to her introduction actually, was really entertaining. I always go into children’s movies with child like expectations. I want excitement and adventure and I want them both in large supply and for the first little while I got lots of it. They hooked me. I wanted to see more of Blackbeard, I wanted to know why Hook would eventually betray Peter, and I wanted to watch more of Levi Miller being an adorable Peter Pan. With Hook, Peter and Mr. Smee adventuring to find “the natives” it was shaping up to be a grand old-time. Then they find the natives.
Let me tell you. Nothing is more hilarious than having a white male character say “It’s a native” and having the camera pan up to a pale white girl looking like she got ready for Coachella in the craft section of a dollar store. I just couldn’t take the movie seriously from that point on. I was okay with that though seeing as I was already prepared to hate this part of the film. I went into this movie knowing that they seemed to really want to make Tiger Lily white and as offensive to any POC people out there as humanly possible. Doesn’t mean it didn’t stop me from laughing at how stupid the whole thing was.
Note: I will be using the term “Native” a lot to describe them seeing as I don’t view them as any sort of true representation of Indigenous for First Nations people of any sort. I see them as something entirely different.
As the movie continues and you’re introduced to the rest of the natives I was able to see a glimmer of what they were trying to achieve with the Neverland Natives. It’s obvious they wanted to push forward an idea of the Natives being a multi-cultural community with people from different backgrounds coming together to form a whole new culture. Neato! Except it feels like they typed “indigenous People” into google and held whatever they found together with glitter glue and pipe cleaners.
You think this is a joke?
I am not exaggerating in the least. Gatta love how the only white person there is the main character. If the Neverland “natives” are a wholly different culture and meant to just be a hodge podge then why not just keep Tiger Lily as she was? Why make her white? Don’t even get me started on aging her and making the love interest of Hook…Don’t even.
Moving right along because this “masterpiece” just goes down hill. From this point on the writers literally looked at the original Peter Pan and laughed in the face of continuity.
Spoilers below folks, warning you now.
They make Smee betray Peter and Hook (Smee is the only POC in the main cast by the way…just a fun observation) which leads to Smee no longer being loyal to Hook and going off with Blackbeard. They then further drive home Hooks boner for Tiger Lily and by this point I have almost given up on trying to enjoy this movie but I need to know what breaks Hook and Peters friendship.
The final battle arrives and I am excited to see how this turns out! Even after they plummet Smee to his death I determined to stick it till the end. They win the battle and all is well but I am no longer invested in this awkward waste of my time by this point. I wish I could give a better description other than “pretty colours” but I was glazed over. Peter, Hook and Tiger Lily then return to Peters original orphanage and take all the orphan boys and then sail aboard a newly commandeered Jolly Roger into the night joking about how they will always be friends!
That’s it. Peter and Hook are all “Oh what jolly good friends we are! Twould be a disaster if something terrible should happen to this fine friendship we have formed!”.
This is supposed to be an origin story and I am certain I was not the only person watching who wanted to see some glimmer of how James Hook would become Captain Hook. If anything he begins the movie as more of a villain than he ends it. James Hook ends up a hero, a man of honor and loyalty without a single hint of who he may become. I would have an easier time believing you if you had told me Smee would come back from the dead and become Captain Hook later on.
What started off as a movie with promise and interest quickly devolved into a messy fan fiction, the only thing missing was a fan made character featuring better writing than any of the original cast of characters.
Joe Wright should have just written an original story rather than trying to make an origin story for a character that doesn’t really need one. The original Robin Williams Hook gave us everything we already needed for Peter Pan origins.
I would say that if you are going to sit down and watch this movie to just watch it for the first little bit and for Hugh Jackman’s performance as Blackbeard. He is the only really well written character in the movie and he makes a very good villain for a children’s adventure movie.
Don’t take my word for it though. I encourage you to form your own opinion on this movie, maybe you’ll disagree with me or maybe you’ll have some insights I lack. Check it out for yourself if you want, I watched if for free on my parents Shomi so… ya know…no real loss for me.
I’ll be returning to normal blog posts soon times, I promise. These little movie reviews are just good warm ups to get me into writing again.
I have had a busy few weeks so maybe it’s time for a life update blog, we will see.
Anyway folks, till next time, stay tobly awesome.
I know I will.