I was excited for this movie since Neverland is one of my ultimate favorite places. Each time a small piece of this movie was released I was feeling a rush, I just couldn’t wait for opening night (mind you I dressed up as a pirate to go watch it). Even though I was rather skeptical of Tiger Lilly having a caucasian actress (Rooney Mara) and a bit insulted since there are many beautiful native american actors. In the end I was pleasantly surprised on how the natives were depicted this time around compared to Disney’s version. Since this time around Neverland is portrayed a lot differently than what we are used too. This was a huge gamble for Warner Bros, and as many other critics sliced and diced this movie. I came to see this movie as a completely new experience, expecting it to change the story of Peter Pan.
First, I must cover the visual eye candy that the film gave from start to finish. From the costume design of Black Beard to the glimmering lights of the Faeries this film is filled with wonder. Cara Delevingne, a famous model, actress and sing, was portrayed as beautiful mermaids. Which was a rather short lived scene that I really wish was a bit longer. The only party of the movie I didn’t like visually were the “Neverbirds”. I highly recommend going for anyone who likes to see beautiful images, yet if you want to be picky about storylines you may want to steer clear.
Second, I’d like to address how Pan did a WONDERFUL job on their portrayal of what was considered the Neverland Natives. In the past we would known the Natives as “savages” or Native Americans with many underlying racist notions. Yet, in Pan the Natives were all multicultural with a rainbow of skin color and backgrounds. With crazy pom pom and yarn headdresses, the image of the natives show off a pure childlike vibe.
During the fight scene between the Pirate and the Natives, the Natives turned into color smoke puffs and the Pirates seemed to just vanish. This really helps give the movie a fantasy like feel and is a clever way to keep gore out of a children’s film.
Lastly, this movie had an epic take on Nirvana. As adults you will first sit there in complete disbelief and a sigh of annoyance. Yet, I promise you, you will be singing along under your breathe. Overall, most of the characters are easy to fall in love with. Even though James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) does sound like he is from a western film, I honestly could not get past that.
Overall this movie gets a 3 out of 5. It’s innovative and visually beautiful and does a great job avoiding offensive racists tunes…yet, Cara’s short lived scene and James Hook’s western voice really didn’t sit well with me. The movie almost made it seem that the mermaids would be an epic part of the movie, and I can honestly say I went to go see Cara on the big screen (I’m a huge fan). The movie gave too much hope in the previews that once you stepped into the theaters you were filled with disappointment. I do wish that the movie did better due to it’s new take on the Peter Pan story and and interesting version of Neverland. In fact, it’s probably the best Neverland I have seen.