Peter Pan gets a Steampunk makeover with Pan, a boisterous but often bewildering prequel that starts off by plonking JM Barrie’s dashing young hero (Levi Miller) in a grim orphanage in Blitz-era 1940 Lambeth and then has him kidnapped by pirates and whooshed in a flying ship to Neverland.
There he enjoys a series of scrapes and adventures involving Hugh Jackman’s ruthless pirate leader Blackbeard, Rooney Mara’s tribal princess Tiger Lily and the young James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), here bearing a full complement of limbs.
Joe Wright, making quite the strangest of his literary adaptations to date following Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and Anna Karenina, directs with rambunctious vigour. An airborne pirate galleon dogfights darting WWII Spitfires in the night skies over London, Neverland’s captives let rip with a raucous chorus of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and Jackman’s preening buccaneer goes gleefully over the top, pulling off the feat of being both foppish and scary.
But the story is clunky and too many of its details jar with Barrie’s original. Didn’t Captain Hook go to Eton? How come he’s suddenly become an American cowboy? And given that he still has both hands, why on earth is he already called Hook?
Certificate PG. Runtime 111 mins. Director Joe Wright
Pan is available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.