From “Peter Pan” to “Hook,” the story of the boy who never grew up and lives in Neverland has been told in many ways.
The latest is “Pan,” an origin story that never quite figures out its tone. It’s more annoying than enchanting.
In “Pan,” Peter (newcomer Levi Miller) is a 12-year-old orphan who is convinced his mother will come back for him some day.
One day he is whisked away on a pirate ship to Neverland, where he is forced to work for Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Peter quickly discovers that Neverland could be the key to finding his mother, and that it is perhaps his destiny to help end Blackbeard’s reign of tyranny.
“Pan” is aimed at the family, but doesn’t feel much like a family film.
Director Joe Wright, the man behind “Atonement,” “Hannah,” “Anna Karenina” and “Pride and Prejudice,” is an odd choice for this project, with some weirdly staged sequences, including the use of Nirvana and the Ramones in one scene.
Jason Fuchs’ story is just as uneven, with tweaks like having Hook (Garrett Hedlund trying to channel his Indiana Jones) as an ally for Peter.
Hedlund isn’t the only cast member to fail. Miller feels like he would be better suited for an “Oliver” remake, while Jackman chews up the scenery (but not in a good way).
The set designs are impressive and Rooney Mara is a welcome sight as Tiger Lily, but for the most part, “Pan” falls with a thud.
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Another big-budget release, “The Martian” (B), was much better.
It’s breezy and fun, and director Ridley Scott makes the most of his talented cast.
The premise for “The Martian” is simple – astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is assumed dead after an accident during an expedition to Mars.
Unbeknownst to his crew and the rest of NASA, Watney has survived with limited resources. Knowing time is against him, Watney attempts to find a way to contact Earth to let them know he is alive and can survive long enough for a rescue mission to get to him.
“The Martian” has been dubbed by some as “Cast Away” in space, a comparison that is both fair and unfair.
Yes, Damon’s character is the centerpiece, but “The Martian” is about more than Watney, with a cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Wiig and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Scott, who directed “Alien,” has experience with films in space but “Martian” has a much lighter tone than one might expect.
Part of the lighter tone can be attributed to Damon, who is so likable and easy to root for.
He gives “Martian” heart and soul, adding depth to a film that proved to be a lot more crowd-pleasing than I initially expected.
“The Martian” is PG-13 for some strong language, injury images and brief nudity and is now playing at the Regal Bowling Green Stadium 12 and Highland Cinemas in Glasgow.