PAN – Review by Susan Granger

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When an origin story, conceived as a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s beloved “Peter Pan,” fails miserably, becoming a maudlin mess, it’s kind of ghoulishly fascinating to try to figure out what went wrong. Read on…

It begins as a distraught young mother (Amanda Seyfried) places a basket containing her infant son in front of a Dickensian-like London orphanage. His name is Peter and around his neck is a pendant, a tiny pan flute.

Bright-eyed Peter (Levi Miller) grows into a rambunctious lad who, during a W.W. II bombing raid, is sold off with other boys and loaded aboard a flying pirate ship that manages to evade both the German Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force’s Spitfires.

Under the command of ferocious Captain Blackbeard (hideously costumed/made-up Hugh Jackman), they sail off into an alternate universe, known as Neverland, where Peter hopes he can find his mother.

Landing in huge, open mining pit, Peter’s forced to dig for Pixite – a.k.a. crystalized fairy dust, which Blackbeard uses to fight old age – while his filthy slaves sing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Befriended by a grown-up miner, James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), wearing an Indiana Jones’ish fedora, Peter is soon forced to walk the plank. Instead of falling – EGAD! – he flies!

Peter and Hook are then captured by Princess Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and her band of Indians. (Ms. Mara appears to be the only Caucasian in her brightly bedecked Asian tribe.)

While Hook flirts with Tiger Lily, Peter’s intent on finding his mother, as Tinkerbell leads them into a crystal cave where Blackbeard attacks fluttering fairies with a blowtorch!

Amid an armada of flying frigates, there’s also a huge crocodile and a trio of identical mermaids (Cara Delevingnes).

Hampered with a ludicrous script by Jason Fuchs (“Ice Age: Continental Drift”), director Joe Wright (“Anna Karenina,” “Atonement”) fills the screen with swashbuckling sound and campy, chaotic CGI fury. None of it makes much sense, except for heavy-handed Chosen One and Believing in Yourself lessons.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Pan” is grotesque 2, a fantasy-adventure flop

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.