We went to see the newest Peter Pan prequel movie this past weekend because, well, Cupcake and I like Peter Pan, we both appreciate the often ridiculed Hook, and found Finding Neverland to be quite enjoyable. This newest movie, Pan (directed by Joe Wright, who gave us the fun 2012 movie Hanna, but who will unfortunately not be giving us any more movies after this box office poison POS), was a mess, from start to finish. There is nothing about its story, production, sets, costumes, casting, acting, and special effects that can save it. It is a giant turd in the faces of its unsuspecting audience.
"Wait," you sputter in utter disbelief, as you choke on your 18th Hostess Ding Dong for the day, "Are you saying that there is NO redeemable aspect of this movie at all. AT ALL?!?!" Yes. Yes I am. I am saying that Pan is one of the worst movies ever made, and it blows my mind that they spent upwards of $150 million on this toilet cake of a production. I don't even know where that money went. The 2011 Sy-Fy Channel mini series Neverland had better production values (and plot, and acting, and everything else [along with getting Bob Hoskins back as Mr. Smee]) than Wright's Pan. Let your mind wrap itself around that.
First of all, let me tell you about Pan's ridiculous plot.
Things start off with Amanda Seyfried jumping over a 12-foot fence and dropping her dumpster baby (Peter) off at the door of a shitty London orphanage. We then immediately leap 12 years forward ourselves to the middle of WWII, when London is getting destroyed by the Blitz, and our orphaned Peter is living in the shittiest of oppressed youths I've ever seen, being treated like slime by the evil as all fuck nuns who run the place... Let me just cut in here and state that this time period is close to 40 years after the time of the original JM Barrie Peter Pan story, where Peter is already well established as the boy who never grew up, who fights pirates and leads the Lost Boys on endless adventures in Neverland... But I digress. There are so many inaccuracies with the original base text that to cover them all in my synopsis would just be too much of an inconvenience. I'll save the bulk of them for after the story coverage.
Back to the story!
So, these evil fucking fat nuns are hoarding all of the children's food, and selling their charges to pirates who fly into town on magical floating pirate ships. Peter figures this out too late, and he is abducted too. Then the really lousy pirates fly through an aerial battle between the British RAF and the German Luftwaffe for ten minutes of screen time for no reason, before then teleporting away to Neverland.
Pan's Neverland is boring as all hell. Forget the Disney cartoon version of this otherworldly realm, or even the extremely imaginative Neverland of the 2003 Peter Pan flick; Pan's Neverland is bleak, rocky, and really, really not fun. It is not a place that children would want to run away to, it's a place that most sane people would want to run away from. Yet for the first 40-some odd minutes that we're in Neverland, we hang out exclusively in a giant rock quarry... I'm not making that up. We watch children and pirates digging in tunnels and hanging out in a large rock pit. Even when Captain Blackbeard arrives on the scene (an unrecognizable Hugh Jackman, not giving two shits about the terrible movie he got slapped with cash to star in), he can't spice things up. Though the director thinks Jackman's making an interesting entrance while guiding his pirate minions in singing Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." No, that wasn't a joke (even though everything about this motion picture is one). Blackbeard first appears on screen while mumbling his way through that 1991 grunge rock anthem. No explanation given as to WHY.
Anyway, Peter is thrown into the quarry, and told to dig for Fairy dust crack rocks that are for some reason buried a mile underground (no reason given as to why Fairy dust would congeal to form rocks, let alone why it would be underground when Fairies fly and don't dig tunnels).
Our pint-sized protagonist soon meets and befriends an American Old West adventurer with a godawful "Oh, shucks, ma'am" accent named James Hook, and a goofy looking "yes man" in modern plastic glasses named Smeagol, whom everybody just calls "Smee," because the writer thought that was clever. Soon Peter is thrown into an easily break-outable pirate prison when he accidentally flies (for a total of 3 seconds) in front of Blackbeard, and apparently shows signs of fulfilling a prophecy that will lead to the pirate lord's death. I asked why Blackbeard didn't just kill the boy then and there, but was told to "SHHHHHHHH!" by the other 3 theater goers who were (for some reason) trying to watch, and actually get into this garbage with us.
So yeah, Peter can fly, but he doesn't know how he did it, and he can't seem to do it again. But that doesn't matter seeing as Hook and Smee break Peter out of prison and steal a flying pirate ship (there are dozens of these things just hovering around the Fairy crack-rock quarry, simply begging to get poached), and then then FINALLY leave the boring and dull rocky terrain in order to head into the heart of Neverland so that Peter can find his mother, whom he believes is still alive and shacking up with the Fairies, who may or may not be extinct due to the youth-enizing effect of their delicious dust and crack-rocks. Oh yeah, did I mention that for some reason Fairy dust doesn't make people fly in Pan, but instead its ingesting causes people to de-age... For a very limited amount of time? Well... It does. We just have to deal with it.
Hook, Peter, and Smee almost immediately crash the ripped-off flying pirate ship, and then meet the Natives of Neverland (of whom, NONE are actual American Indians like they are in the original story, and teenaged Princess Tiger Lily is actually played by the whitest actress you've ever met — 30-year-old Rooney Mara), who capture them and make James Hook fight their version of Rufio on trampolines for some reason or another. Then they find out that Peter has a necklace of a pan flute that his mother gave him, and soon they're all like "Well, shit, boy! Why didn't you say you were Amanda Seyfried's son! Let's take you to her and her Fairy friends who number in the millions and are hiding in a large rock in the middle of the island!" Then they name Peter "Pan" (which means "greatest warrior" in their retarded Native camp).
Oh, and then Blackbeard appears with only like a dozen of his pirates and one ship (out of his armada) at his disposal, but they annihilate the Natives by shooting them and turning them into colorful clouds of dust when they die. Cupcake says that the rainbow smoke was just the gunpowder explosions from the pirates' guns, but the movie never makes it clear, and the Natives seem to just disappear completely in either a pink, purple, yellow, or green puff of vapor whenever shot, so I guess we'll never know for sure since I never plan to watch this thing again to find out (not that I'm losing ANY sleep over this).
Hook, Peter, and Tiger Lily (in her Colors of Benetton circus costume) all escape the slaughter of the indigenous population, and catch a raft to the Mermaid's Lagoon for no reason I can recall other than they needed to quickly bump into mermaids and a gigantic crocodile because they remembered that there were both in the original tale. Then Hook pisses on his travel companions' dreams of meeting long lost loved ones and saving all life from tyranny in Neverland, as he departs to find a way out of the zany pirate-laden world they're trapped in, and back to 1870s Deadwood, South Dakota.
After seeing one croc and a couple of drugged-looking CGI mermaids with electric eel tails, Tiger Lily and Peter Pan quickly and very easily find the path to the secret Fairy farm (Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh!), but it turns out that the Seattle band-loving Blackbeard followed them (some tracker and one-with-the-land spiritualist you turned out to be, Tiger Lily), and he has his crew bag the two as he takes his flying pirate ship into the Fairy hiding place.... Which is about the size of Rhode Island inside the center of Neverland. Seriously, Blackbeard's flying pirate ship is cruising at about 30-40MPH nonstop for the last 20 minutes of this
movie shitfest, and they never reach the other side of the "relative dimension in space" enormous cavern that they're in. But whatever. The important thing to take away from this scene is that Blackbeard and his men take this cruising opportunity to SET FIRE TO as many of the kajillions of Neverland Fairies flying around as they can, with multiple industrial-sized flamethrowers that the pirates have on their ship. That's disturbing in and of itself (watching innocent tiny zipping lights get napalmed like some Vietnamese children in the 1970s), but the fact that these Fairies DON'T try to get the fuck away from the flying pirate ship of flamey doom makes me wonder if they're all sick of living inside a rock, and are looking for an escape from the Hell that their Fairie lives have become.
Peter and Tiger Lily find themselves at the pirates' mercy, but then they get free, and Hook comes back to save them in another flying pirate ship (which I don't even remember how he got, since the one he, Peter, and Smee originally stole was totaled when they escaped the quarry), Peter then learns to fly for realsies, and then the group murders Blackbeard and all of his crew, and then they crash both of the boats, and then Peter has a trippy vision of his mom telling him that he's special and part Fairie too, and that he's like the coolest thing to ever happen to Neverland. Then she "Peace Out"s, and Peter, Hook, and middle-aged Tiger Lily all have a goofy ending....
Oh, but then we have a final, final scene where Peter and Hook apparently stole one more Pirate Ship (that Hook, who still has all ten fingers, calls "The Jolly Roger"), and they go back to the worst Orphanarium in London and kidnap the rest of the boys away from the dickish nuns. Then Peter turns to Hook and says something ridiculously cheezy like "We're the best of friends, aren't we James HOOK... Nothing will ever, ever, EVER come between us, riiiiiiiight? *WINK, WINK!*" I think that's when I threw the last of my Coke at the screen.
Seriously, what the fuck...
So, the story and everything associated with it was utter trash. What else did I outright HATE about Pan?
I detested the script. It kept giving *winks* and *nudges* to the audience that this is a prequel to Peter Pan ("See! There are pirates! Oh, and there's a crocodile! And see! Peter himself can fly... Sort of... But don't blink or you'll miss it!"), but then it straight up shoots continuity in the foot with things like having it take place during WWII (which plays no part in its plot at all, and wasn't necessary at all), making Peter half Fairie, and making Peter and Hook best buddies who are doomed to become bitter enemies. Ugh.
I hated how nothing had any reason or rhyme for happening. For example, we're told that the only reason that Blackbeard needs to get Fairy crack-rock is to stay young, but then there is only one very quick 8 second scene where we see him with shitty old-man makeup on before snorting crushed Fairy Dust and turning into a younger version of himself again. No further explanation given as to how he got so old so fast from the last time that we saw him, how old he really is, or how Fairy Dust snorting makes one younger again. Hell, we're never even told if this Blackbeard is our world's 18th century infamous pirate Blackbeard, and if he is, why and how he found his way to Neverland, and how he got his ship to fly. Nor do they tell us how he knows late 20th century rock music, or how he gets his minions blue plastic 2010s eye glasses in 1941.
What really confused me and bummed me out the most in this production was the special effects of this thing... They were utter crap! Everything was CGI'd, and CGI'd poorly. The crocodile and mermaids looked terrible, and the short scenes of Peter flying around looked like they were animated with ancient 1990s computers and shitty physics programs. And that's my BIGGEST peeve with this Peter Pan story: they only had like a total of 30 seconds of somebody FLYING. What the hell?! Children flying is so fucking amazing and fun that they actually had an entire SONG written about the experience in the Disney version of the original tale ("You can FLY, you can FLY, you can FLYYYYYY!"). Come on, filmmakers, what the fuckity fuck?!
Throw on top of that the retarded costumes (the Natives all looked like Cirque du Soleil rejects), terrible accents (Hook sounded like a foreigner trying his best to mimic a Southwestern accent to dismal effect [which is odd since the guy who played him is American], the kid who played Peter kept slipping into his Aussie accent, and Rooney Mara just sounded like she had no frickin' clue what her Tiger Lily role was supposed to be about), and awful editing (all 2 hours of this flick) do nothing but add to the flavor of full-bodied sepsis that this production became.
.....Uh.... HUH...... *HURRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH!!!!!!!*
I love Peter Pan, and I love the story of how it came to be, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to block this Pan movie from my memory. It wounds me so.
Ahhhhhhhhh. For some reason I'm much happier than I was just 30 seconds ago. Neat-o!