Pan Review: A decent film about Peter Pan

 

Pan tells the story of how Peter became the boy who never grows up.  Placed at an orphanage’s doorstep when he was a baby, Peter (Levi Miller) grew up never knowing who his parents were.  Much like the other children in the orphanage, Peter longs to get out and when he starts noticing the disappearance of some children, he begins to wonder if there was a higher power at work.  One night, Peter and his friend Nibs, decide to stay up through the night to see how this children were disappearing.  They eventually got more than they bargained for when they both get caught by pirates, along with the other boys in their dormitory.  The friends however gets separated when Nibs manages to leap back onto the orphanage’s roof just before the ship they were on set sail.

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“How to make this big?” Source: Warner Bros.

Introduced to a world entirely different from the one he is living in, Peter enters Neverland when he meets the pirate king, Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman).  Peter is then put to work like the rest of the orphans, mining for pixie dust.  He befriends James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), who later helps him escape to the tribal territory where they meet Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and her tribe.  After discovering that Peter was the chosen one who has returned to help defend Neverland against Blackbeard and the pirates, Tiger Lily and James took it upon themselves to keep Peter safe.  Learning that he was the product of love between a fairy prince and his human mother (Amanda Seyfried), he realizes just how important it is for him to protect Neverland.  As Blackbeard learns of the secret fairy kingdom, Peter and his friends join forces to ensure he doesn’t succeed in destroying the kingdom.  But to do so, Peter has to fully believe that he is the hero who has returned home.

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“Dang it. I’m suppose to be the cool Captain Hook. Why am I being captured here?” Source: Warner Bros.

I wasn’t sure if this was going to come out as I expected since I had seen articles where they were saying Pan wasn’t going to be a box office hit.  I’m not one for watching the number 1 movie in the country (I still refuse to watch Avatar) but when there are many articles giving slightly negative reviews, I tend to rethink my decision.  But since this was about the origin of Peter Pan (and I love Disney characters), I said screw it, I’m going to watch it.

And I’m happy I did.

From the moment the film began, I was hooked (pun not intended).  For that whole 2 hours, I felt transported to a world where I could only imagine.  From the stunning colors down to the realistic graphics, it was literally a feast for the eyes.  I can actually imagine myself spending the rest of my life in Neverland.

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“Just think of me as an updated version of Tiger Lily.” Source: Warner Bros.

I know that the casting of the characters was one of controversy especially when Rooney was cast as Tiger Lily.  I didn’t exactly agree with her as Tiger Lily as well because we all know Tiger Lily is supposed to be Native American.  But with this being a Hollywood film, nothing’s gonna steer them towards a different direction.  I particularly like Garrett Hedlund as Captain Hook because he was behaving similarly to his cartoon counterpart (minus the hair and get-up).  I really liked the portrayal of Smee as well and was particularly surprised they went with an Ethnic actor for the role.  It breathes a breath of fresh air and got me thinking that perhaps different races playing a particular role might work.  The thing I liked best about this film is the subtle references to Peter Pan (the original story).  It just made the film so much more enjoyable!

Needless to say, I think Pan is a pretty good film.  It’s a means of escape from the day-to-day hectic life as you fully emerge in the story of the boy who can fly.  I’m still hoping to be accepted as a lost girl.  Till then, I’ll still be searching for the second star to the right.

Rating:

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Crimson Peak Review: A great homage to Gothic Horror

 

I could have sworn that this was a vampire movie but given the genius visionary that Mr Guillermo Del Toro is, I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Set in the Victorian Era, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is a young, aspiring American author that has never played by society’s rules.  Despite being good friends with Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam), she had never once foreseen herself as those of the girls her age – until she meets Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston).  Charmed by him, Edith falls in love with Thomas and after a tragedy at home, she marries Sir Thomas and is whisked away to the Gothic, dilapidated and remote home that he shares with his sister, Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain).  Having been gifted to see the spirits of the dead since she was a child, Edith begins to uncover the dark secrets that Crimson Peak holds and learns that sometimes, the things that scare you the most are not necessarily dead.

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“Here’s the Hiddleston Smoulder.” Source: Legendary Entertainment

Like I said before, I honestly thought this was a vampire movie.  Given his success with The Strain, I was almost quite certain Mr Del Toro was about to take on a Gothic vampire story.  Can you blame me?  Tom and Jessica’s Gothic dressing and incredibly snowy white skin were typical signs of a vampire… But, boy was I mistaken.  Crimson Peak wasn’t so much of a true blue horror film (with the monsters and the things that go bump at night), but a psychological horror film that messes with the mind.  Although, I’d have to admit that from the start, Thomas and Lucille seemed to be behaving like vampires that were looking for their next protege.  Mr Del Toro is skillful when it comes to delivering the punch of the story.  It was almost like a ride on the Tower of Terror.  You get the different little surprises until the final drop, or in this case, the climax of the story.

The visual effects were hauntingly stunning.  I liked how the different colors were used to represent the different sort of spirits Edith sees.  Although I can’t say for sure, I would most certainly believe that:

Black represents a melancholic spirit.
Red represents a murdered spirit.
White/off-white represents a good/pure of heart spirit.

I suppose my conclusion could also come from what I saw visually but I’d like to think that my guess is close.

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“Bish. Don’t try to steal my man-I mean brother from me.” Source: Legendary Entertainment

Jessica Chastain deserves a standing ovation for her performance as Lucille Sharpe.  Her ability to go from controlled insanity to insanity on overdrive is absolutely flawless.  I’ve always loved Jessica Chastain (because she’s my favorite actress), ever since I saw her in The Help.  This performance in Crimson Peak just made me love her even more.  She gave Lucille Sharpe vulnerability which few would agree to have seen.  The pain that Lucille must have felt after (spoiler alert!) killing Thomas was evident though her actions were the opposite.  But the bottom line is her character wasn’t mentally stable.  And to have been sheltered by someone who genuinely loved her was the only thing she had.  So when she felt like the one thing keeping her steady is about to leave her, it’s only natural to see her snap.  Her character (another spoiler alert!) dies; but to be fair, it wasn’t really much of a choice for Mia’s character; I’d like to think that her character wanted that for herself as well, since the only thing she had no longer exists.  Honestly speaking, I really think Jessica Chastain stole the show.  The rest of the cast were great in the movie too but she was brilliant. (Don’t hate me Tom Hiddleston! I still love you!)

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“Girl, you need to resist that Hiddles charm. How about some Jax charm?” Source: Legendary Entertainment

With this sort of movie, many would think that it’s the other guy who would save the damsel in distress.  But ho-ho naysayers – the damsel saves herself and the other guy!  Yes – despite having her legs injured and being poisoned, Edith manages to save herself and her supposed knight in shining armor, Alan.  I mean this lady practically saved herself from the cray-cray Lucille without anybody’s help!  She stabbed the lady in the chest area with a fountain pen even when she was weaker.  And when she was running on adrenaline, she (huge spoiler alert!) whacks her on the head with a spade.  But I would give credit to Alan’s presence.  If he hadn’t turned up, Edith would have been toast.  In my opinion, him turning up gave Thomas validation to do what was right; which was turning on his sister.

All in all, Crimson Peak is a must-watch. As another one of Guillermo Del Toro’s brilliant films, it’s practically a no-brainer!  Just go and catch it!

Rating: 

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