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Pan (3D) (DQ)


Stars: Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Kathy Burke, Adeel Akhtar, Amanda Seyfried

Director: Joe Wright

You'll believe a Pan can fly! This story of the origins of Peter Pan begins brilliantly, using its 3D cinematography to stunningly impressive advantage. Later, though, there are times when the plot practically, well, peters out. And it seems a long time before Peter (Miller) becomes SuperPan and actually flies to everyone's rescue.

The opening scenes, however, are breathtaking: orphan Peter leads a life of penury under the sadistic lash of nuns led lip-smackingly by Burke (long time, no see). One night, after raiding Burke's secret larder, Peter and most of his fellows - these include two black kids and an Indian boy, which seems a touch unlikely given that the setting is the London blitz of 1940 - are lifted bodily from their beds by a pirate ship hovering overhead.

Eluding the guns of the RAF, the ship takes them to Neverland, where Blackbeard (an unrecognisable Jackman) sets them to work in his mines, digging for fairy dust.

Escaping with his friend Hook (Hedlund), Peter becomes incolved in a bid to defend the Lost Tribe and its princess (Mara) from Blackbeard and his motley crew. And, of course, prove he is the real Pan, long-awaited saviour of the Tribe and the surrounding fairy kingdom.

Scenes of Blackbeard's massive stronghold are simply staggering, CGI helping them look like a spectacle from some silent movie. But, though the film remains awesome in parts, other scenic constructions have the whiff of painted papier-maché about them.

With background choruses here and here, the film almost has the feel of a musical and one half expects Jackman's Blackbeard to burst into a trenchant song. Miller is OK as Peter, especially considering the lengthy demands of the role, but acting and dialogue are not the things here - it's the jaw-dropping, often mid-air action that sweeps things along.

Cara Delavingne pops in as a trio of mermaids, and sharp eyes will spot Call the Midwife's Emerald Fennell, in very briefly as an RAF 'commander'.

David Quinlan

UK/USA 2015. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
111 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 11 Oct 2015