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Movie Review: “Pan”

Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara
Joe Wright

You’d be hard pressed to find another movie released this year as unnecessary as “Pan.” Origin stories are a thing at the moment, even though they are the last refuge of the scoundrel, a telltale sign of creative bankruptcy. Interestingly, this retelling of Peter Pan is from Joe Wright, who’s delivered some good (“Hanna”) to great (“Atonement”) work of late. How did he get caught in the origin story trap? It’s unclear, but his “Pan,” despite its needlessness, is surprisingly entertaining, with a couple of moments that owe a debt of gratitude to “Moulin Rouge.” This is a good thing, in case you weren’t sure.

A newborn Peter (Levi Miller) is left at the front door of a UK orphanage by his mother (Amanda Seyfreid). Twelve years later, World War II has erupted, and Peter is still at the orphanage, hopeful that his mother will return for him, largely because the nuns who run the orphanage are awful and corrupt. One night, Peter and nearly everyone in the orphanage are kidnapped by flying pirates (you read that right) and brought to Neverland to live with Captain Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), where they’re told that they are finally free, but really they’re just a different kind of slave, and spend their days digging for a rare element with special powers. Peter finds a piece, but is ultimately forced to walk the in-air plank after someone steals the gem and accuses him of a crime that he didn’t commit. Incredibly, Peter begins to fly just before hitting the ground, and Blackbeard fears that Peter is the boy that an old legend says will be his undoing. Miner James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) takes Peter under his wing (with conditions), and the two manage to escape Blackheard’s clutches, only to discover that they have a whole new battle ahead of them, while Blackbeard’s crew is hot on their trail.

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