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Pan (3D) (AF)


Stars: Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Levi Miller, Adeel Akhtar, Kathy Burke, Nonso Anozie, Amanda Seyfried, Jack Charles, Lewis MacDougall, Bronson Webb, Taejoo Na, Cara Delevingne

Director: Joe Wright

Joe Wright follows in the footsteps of another British director, The Man from UNCLE’s director Guy Ritchie and serves up another full fat Hollywood turkey with this overstuffed, overwrought, overdone and overlong fairy tale - and it’s not even Thanksgiving Day until November 26th.

On the credit side, the splendid special effects that decorate the film are Oscar-worthy.

But, as Warner Brothers’ longest-lasting star Bugs Bunny so rightly says, “That’s all, folks!”

The constant moaning sound in the background is probably Peter Pan creator J M Barrie deservedly spinning in his grave at the ludicrous screenplay conjured up writer Jason Fuchs which, apparently, was “based on characters introduced by J M Barrie”.

"Introduced?" Interesting - what happened to "created".

So let me introduce you to the preposterous tale he conjured up presumably in an attempt to create a prequel to Peter Pan and a franchise to follow.

Fortunately, thanks to Fuchs and Wright, the chances of a sequel – let along a series - must be lethally slim despite Wright pouring tsunamis of spectacle over the show in a desperate attempt to bolster his unfortunate box-office disaster.

At the start young Pan (Levi Miller, considerably better than his material deserves) is trapped in a dopily Dickensian orphanage in WW2 London until, encouraged by a Skull and Crossbones flag raised over the roof by beasty caricature nun Kathy Burke, pirate Blackbeard, played with plentiful ham and relish by Hugh Jackman, swoops down from his ancient galleon flying over London among warring WW2 spitfires and German planes and kidnaps Pan.

The luckless lad ends up in Neverland digging for fairy dust until he meets wannabe hero Garrett Hedlund and they make a break for it, ending up among the fairies who live in a cheap Tarzan-movie-style jungle village.

Pan finally flies high after discovering his true fate but not before a series of close encounters with fairies, mermaids (all unmemorably played – or rather soggily swum - by model and aspirant actress Cara Delavingne), a giant crocodile and more pirates until, too late to save the show, the end credits kick in.

So who’s to blame? The actors work hard with lousy material, the special effects are effective and the technical credits impress, notably the fine 3D cinematography (Seamus McGarvey, John Mathieson).

Well, since the very, very few opening credits inform us that Pan is “A Joe Wright Film”, it has to be the director.

Sadly, as reported, the movie has followed the German bombers featured at the beginning of the story and bombed.

Wright, whose show business career began in puppetry (does that explain the many wooden performances in his films?), allows Jackman and Company to ham it up horribly, strongly suggesting his future métier would best be corralling the overacting into provincial pantomimes.

Strictly for tolerant kids, preferably those who have no knowledge of Barrie's original - or, possibly, for parents looking to punish intolerant offspring.

Alan Frank

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

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

Review date: 17 Oct 2015