Film review: Pan (PG)

Undated Film Still Handout from Pan. Pictured: Blackbeard (HUGH JACKMAN). See PA Feature FILM Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Laurie Sparham/Warner Bros. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Reviews. FILM_Reviews_115498.JPG
Undated Film Still Handout from Pan. Pictured: Blackbeard (HUGH JACKMAN). See PA Feature FILM Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Laurie Sparham/Warner Bros. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Reviews. FILM_Reviews_115498.JPG

SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, FROM FRIDAY

CAST: LEVI MILLER, HUGH JACKMAN, GARRETT HEDLUND, ROONEY MARA, ADEEL AKHTAR, NONSO ANOZIE, KATHY BURKE, LEWIS MACDOUGALL, AMANDA SEYFRIED & CARA DELEVINGNE

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 51 MINS

DIRECTOR: JOE WRIGHT

Even with an engaging performance from young star Levi Miller – this latest big screen attempt on the story of Peter Pan never takes flight.

Sadly this joins the likes of Tomorrowland, Jupiter Ascending, Fantastic Four and Terminator: Genisys as 2015’s biggest flops – which were all undoubtedly trying to start new franchises if successful – despite the A-list presence of Hugh Jackman on bad guy duties, and the direction of acclaimed Atonement helmer Joe Wright.

Despite an encouraging trailer, there’s obviously been too many movie attempts with this fantasy-adventure material, and even though this tries to freshen things up with a new take on the legend – it ends up being a Jack of all trades but the master of none.

Through some luscious computer-generated special effects, orphan Peter (Miller) – who was abandoned by his young mother Mary (Amanda Seyfried) – is whisked away to Neverland where a rebellious tribe think he’s the ‘chosen one’ with the ability to fly, and will help rid the kingdom of pirate Blackbeard’s (Hugh Jackman) tyranny.

A curveball is thrown by story-tellers with James Hook (Tron: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund) actually aiding him in the quest – obviously setting this up for a later nemesis turn in future instalments which will now never happen – along with tribal warrior Tiger Lily (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Rooney Mara).

But despite a few bursts of magic – a couple of decent action scenes (including an impressive croc) and notable attempts to ‘mix it up’ – the story seems so wafer-thin, and ultimately rushed, that it never comes together in a coherent fashion.

Jackman is simply relegated to a pantomime villain and Hedlund doesn’t really cut it as a future Captain Hook – and it’s left to young Miller’s charm to make this watchable.

Which as family entertainment it just about is – but just don’t expect a lot more than that.

Rating: 2/5 Gavin Miller