PANTASTIC

I scored an invite for four to a screening of PAN on Sunday at the very comfortable Event Cinemas Bondi Junction. I am pretty sure it was a family screening with most people bringing two adults and two children but half my friends have the maturity of children and two of my guests were incredibly keen on seeing it so off we went, our motley crew of four adults. We viewed the movie in 3D, and 3/4 of our group worshiped the movie, I felt like a kid again, I was elated and caught up in the story and was blown away by the CGI heavy movie. In my puntastic words the screening and movie was PANTASTIC. PAN releases this coming Thursday 24th September in Australia from the folks at Warner Brothers and Roadshow Films, it runs for 111mins and is rated PG. It is suitable for the whole family but a few scenes will most definitely scare the youngest ankle-biters. 

 

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PAN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY JASON KING (and guests)

Sadly I keep reading a lot of negative reviews of this movie from jaded critics who really have forgotten the magic of movies, these uptight buffoons at some of the largest film and media places in the world go in reviewing every movie based on the same criteria and sometimes fail to see that different movies appeal to different ages, audiences, generations and tastes, it is a shame when they have this position of power that can ruin a movie because the sheep mentality of the majority of the public listens to them, on the Variety review posted on Facebook most of the comments are from sheep blindly throwing hate and shade to the film without basing any judgement on the film themselves, there is of course the one comment from me stating “Our group just came out of the movie and all of us loved it – your reviewer is a scrooge grumpy douche that needs to thaw his heart.” I stand by it, and hope some people in the world make up their own mind, take their kids, and let them enjoy the magic of this movie.

 

PAN MOVIE HOOK PETER IMAGE
PAN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | PETER (LEVI MILLER) AND HOOK (GARRET HEDLUND) LOOK AT THE MAP OF NETHERLAND

 

This is a very different angle to the much told story of Peter Pan, as it is a prequel written by Jason Fuchs (upcoming Wonder Woman, Ice Age: Continental Drift) based on the original characters from legendary J.M. Barrie and directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, Hanna, The Soloist). It is the origin story of Peter Pan and how he came to Neverland. It holds true to the original elements of the Peter Pan story with some assumptions based on the tone as to the causes of wonder created in a dreadful time. It starts set in the orphanage/ boy’s home that Peter and his friends lived in during the bombing of London in war time. It could be alluded to that Neverland is a fantasy place created as a heaven for all the boys who died during the bombing of the orphanage, or is Neverland the escape for one very sad and troubled boy in the same period who creates it all in his mind? I prefer to think it is all very real and just a fortunate time that the evil Blackbeard and his child smugglers appeared. Either way it is still magical from every angle and gives Peter a future and past he dearly deserves.

 

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PAN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | PETER (LEVI MILLER) IS DISCOVERED TO BE THE PAN

 

Peter is kidnapped by Blackbeard and his pirates and forced to work in the mines on Neverland, here he must mine the rock sized equivalent of fairy dust, it is the rock that keeps Blackbeard eternally young and if enough of it is mined Blackbeard can remain immortal. But a prophecy exists about a boy who will arrive in Neverland who can fly and will unite the land to salvation from evil.

Peter came to his orphanage with no knowledge of his parents but has a pan flute medallion tied around his neck, this is the symbol of the tribes of Neverland and when Peter and his somewhat odd partner, Hook, end up with the tribes it is revealed he could be the chosen one. And so begins Peter’s journey where he must first believe in himself to save Neverland. It is all very Harry Potteresque.

 

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PAN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | PETER (LEVI MILLER) TRYING TO HIDE FROM BLACKBEARD (HUGH JACKMAN)

 

I love the element of starting this movie during the war, it sets the film to start where J.M. Barrie would have been at the time and enters into the psyche of why Peter Pan is important and why he will “never grow up.” The film is not without faults though and the glaringly obvious stand out thing you will notice is this is not all about Peter being happy and never growing up, this is Peter fighting the need for him to act like a grown up and take on huge responsibilities, something that will lead to his ethos. The largest fault of the movie for me, which is what lost its one point, it completely fails to address how Hook and Peter became arch rivals, instead the nemesis is Blackbeard, and Hook, as opposed to being and looking exactly like Blackbeard does instead is Indiana Jones. And to top it off Hook is Peter’s greatest ally and Peter sees Hook as a father figure, someone he would literally die to protect. It is honorable but is never addressed. There is some funny comments about it over the start of the credits though and it is my belief they will see how this goes financially and we could see a bridging movie in the future, although this will never happen if the likes of Variety and Hollywood Reporter have anything to say about it.

 

PAN TIGER LILY IMAGE
PAN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | TIGER LILY (ROONEY MARA)

 

The acting is superb and Levi Miller is perfect casting, he more than holds his own and steals the show from all the cast, he was also recently cast as the lead in the upcoming RED DOG sequel, BLUE DOG, I would also suggest you mark that name down, the kid is going places. Garret Hedlund is OK as Hook, he just puts on a somewhat annoying accent and channels every Indiana Jones movie he has ever seen, but you gotta love him, the character is a larrikin and the guy is awesome eye candy. Tiger Lily’s Rooney Mara is very colourful and a lot of flack was copped for her casting, the character is of Native American heritage and Mara is not, but the natives in this movie do come across as incredibly multicultural, even their leader is a true bogan Aussie Aboriginal that copped a laugh from the audience. It also reflects the nature of how the lost boys ended up, a mixed bunch, well in HOOK anyway. And to be honest, of course it was adults whining, do you really think your 8yr old child will give two hoots?

Speaking of HOOK, the colourfulness of the film and the tribe is very reminiscent of the HOOK styling and is contrasted well compared to everything being grey, black and drab when in the presence of the evil and dark Blackbeard, speaking of said Blackbeard; Hugh Jackman does have a lot of fun in the role, you can see his theatre background coming to the fore although while his theatricality and character are enjoyable I did find he never quite got to the greatness of Hoffman in the HOOK role.

Special mention to the Kathy Burke as Mother Barnabas, the evil fat matron of the orphanage, she was comically awesome and everyone will love to hate her all too brief appearance.

 

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PAN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | PETER (LEVI MILLER) AT THE HELM OF THE JOLLY ROGER

 

PAN is one of a handful of films actually shot in 3D this year and the 3D is superb, the entire CGI visuals of the film really do lift it to a film of fantasy that will blow children’s (and the odd adult’s) minds. I highly recommend seeing this one on the largest screen you can find and to pay the extra few bob to see it in 3D, as the director intended. The climax of the film is well worth it, as is all the flying ships, the trip to Netherland and of course seeing a chicken lay an egg in zero gravity :).

This is a family movie, and possibly one of the best of the year, I am appalled at the online comments but 1) haters gonna hate and 2) each to their own. Out of the four of us that saw the film together our scores were: James 5/5, Steph 4.5/5, Me 4/5 and Sebby T 3/5. Averaging our scores our total is…………………….

 

4 Pops

 

 

Jason King is the owner and editor of Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Film Critics Circle of Australia and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. He loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. All the social media links to the right and up will allow you to abuse, troll or stalk him :).