Posts Tagged ‘Pan’

Metro: Pan just the latest reimagining from director Joe Wright

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 5.03.14 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Director Joe Wright’s newest film is an origin story for Peter Pan and Captain Hook. A prequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, it stars Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Garrett Hedlund as James Hook, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily and Levi Miller as the title character.
It’s a new take on an old tale, something Wright specializes in.

His versions of Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina are classic yet modern takes on their source materials, as sumptuously theatrical as they are emotionally fulfilling.

Perhaps growing up with puppet theatre proprietor parents can be credited for his dramatic bent, but wherever it came from, his work is unique and eye-catching and Pan promises more of the same.

Here’s a look at the Wright Stuff from his past films:

Set in pre-Second World War England, Atonement begins as an idyll. A rich family with two daughters, the fetching and flirty Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and 13-year-old Briony (Saoirse Ronan), are vacationing at their rural country home. The handsome son of the family’s housekeeper Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) is the object of affection for both girls, but he only has eyes for Cecilia. When Briony catches the two in a passionate embrace she is overcome by jealousy. To keep the lovers apart she impulsively comes up with a childish, but devastating plan to accuse him of a crime he didn’t commit.
Best eye candy moment: An astonishing continuous fiveminute shot of the nightmarish Dunkirk evacuation, complete with 1,000 extras, livestock, and a beached boat all captured in one steady cam shot. “Basically, I just like showing off,” he jokes.

The Soloist is based on the true story of Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a musical prodigy who developed schizophrenia during his second year at Juilliard School, and wound up living on the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Robert Downey Jr. plays Steve Lopez, a disenchanted Los Angeles Times columnist who discovers Ayers and bases a series of columns on Ayers and his life. Over time they form a friendship based on the liberating power of music.

Best eye candy moment: Wright loads the screen with artful pictures such as a symphony of colour that fills the screen whenever Nathaniel listens to a live symphony orchestra.

Anna Karenina, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s classic story of love, honour and deceit in 1974 Imperialist Russia begins with a family in tatters because of marital transgression. St. Petersburg aristocrat and socialite Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) travels to Moscow to visit her womanizing brother Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen) and his wife Dolly (Kelly Macdonald). Her counsel saves their marriage but the trip proves to be the undoing of hers.

Best eye candy moment: Every frame drips with beauty, from sets to clothes to Keira Knightley’s cheekbones, but the opening is a stunner, presenting what appears to be a stage production of Anna Karenina.

PAN: 3 ½ STARS. “darkness tempered with humour and Wright’s incredible visuals.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 5.04.17 PM“Pan,” the origin story of Peter Pan from the fertile imagination of director Joe Wright, is an action-adventure movie featuring “Harry Potter” level darkness tempered with humour, slapstick and Wright’s incredible visuals.

“Sometimes to know how things end,” says the opening narration, “we have to learn how they begin.” That means taking us back to London, circa World War II when Peter (Levi Miller) was a baby, abandoned by his mother at an orphanage. Turns out the high-spirited boy was born of a fairy prince and a human girl, and when he is kidnapped by the evil pirate Blackbeard (an almost unrecognizable Hugh Jackman)—“ He’s the pirate all other pirates fear,” they say. “The original nightmare!”—he soon learns his fate is to go to Neverland—a colourful kingdom that looks like it would have pretty good tiki bars—and lead an uprising against the tyrannical pirate. With the help of Indiana Jones wannabe James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and Princess Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) Peter learns of his mother (Amanda Seyfried), his powers and his place in this magical world as the leader of the lost boys.

“Pan” is a high-tech, old-fashioned adventure that doesn’t handle kids with kid gloves. From the evil looking clowns that snatch orphans from their beds to Peter’s longing for his absent mother, the movie is unafraid to mine the nightmares and emotions that keep children up at night. It’s all in service of the story, however, and never feels gratuitous. Instead Wright fills the screen with wonder and imagination, from giant floating oceans and a chicken who lays an egg mid air to Smee’s rows of tiny teeth to the skeletal Neverbirds, all dreamlike images that should fire imaginations rather than inspire bad dreams.

Wright sneaks in a few treats for the ears as well. The Ramones’s “Blitzkrieg Bob” makes a remarkably effective pirate chant—“Hey ho, Let’s go!”—and “Smells Like Teen Spirit’s” refrain, “Here we are now, Entertain us,” becomes a catchy work song for pixie dust miners.

In every scene is newcomer Miller. As Peter he puts you in the mind of Daniel Radcliffe, a self-possessed performer who does a good job at battling the special effects and Jackman’s scene chewing. Jackman hands in a highly theatrical, but very amusing performance as the dandy but dangerous pirate.

The casting of Mara as the indigenous tribal princess Tiger Lily has been a lightening rod for controversy. She handles herself well, but it would have been nice to see an actor of Native American background take on the role.

Near the end of the movie Neverland is described as, “a dream from which you never wake up,” but by the time “Pan” gets to the climax, shot in a pixie dust vault that resembles Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, the film becomes less dreamlike. A noisy conclusion to the story allows the special effects to take over and “Pan” becomes a little less magical and a bit more mundane.