by Heinrich Domingo
Pan banks on nostalgia as its sole hope in engaging an audience too familiar with a storyline. It brings back to the crowd the beautiful young boy who taught the world that believing can be everything. Being a prequel, the film has the tendency to hold firm in the original story and supplement the much needed background. But in the process, an important element has been left out. The filmmakers who focus so much in the original form have forgotten the nature of film audience – that moviegoers are dynamic. In the end, the crowd has outgrown the boy who wouldn’t grow up.
The film is a back story of the classic Peter Pan. It is supposed to deepen the magical character and make the audience fall in love with him once more. Yet, the film fails to fulfill both of these intentions. What it does is a mere story-telling of a cliché plot – an orphan’s adventures towards unraveling the mystery of his family and consequently discovering that he is special. It is bland as it gets sometimes added with minute twists that are barely recognizable.
It starts off with an image of the World War II when the whole of London is bombed down into ashes. From there, the mischievous orphan boy is kidnapped by pirates riding a flying ship. This is magical realism at its finest. The audience is caught in the midair between rationalizing the sequence of events and simply accepting that the story needs not to be reasonable. It was a good start and anyone who craves for new perspective in the story of Peter Pan will surely have a pang of excitement.
Yet, once the journey began, the film offered no twist. What came next are flashes of predictable scenarios that leave the audience waiting for a climax. The mining work for Blackbeard, the stay at an American Indian hideout, and the battle in a fairyland are failed attempts to make the plot interesting. It is a movie which the audience always felt that the fight scenes are unexciting and drama parts are unsympathetic.
Moreover, the newly introduced characters offer no help in the development of Pan’s persona. With this, the film falls short in its claim of giving a different view on the boy who wouldn’t grow up. Missing out on this basic premise says a lot about the film’s ineffectiveness and inevitable doom.
As Pan played safe in its narrative, it cannot provide an image that can linger long in the audience’s mind. It has to recognize that the crowd it targets to please needs a new, innovative, and remarkable version of the Peter Pan they have loved and known.