The story of how Peter Pan came to be has been reimagined countless times, with writers trying to put a new spin on that one character from everyone’s childhood who has no story. Walt Disney made the name Peter more famous that it has ever been. In Disney’s version of Peter Pan released Feb. 1953, Peter Pan is known as the flying boy in green tights who goes on adventures with Wendy and the lost boys, while fighting Captain Hook. On Oct. 9, 2015, Joe Wright created a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s classic “Peter Pan” published in 1906, with the movie he so creatively titled, “Pan”. Wright portrays Peter as a 12-year-old orphan boy, who has been sold off to pirate Blackbeard, where Peter goes on adventures with Hook and the infamous Tiger Lilly.
The creators of “Pan” did not impress with their visuals. Their so called “creative” costumes and makeup made Blackbeard look closer to a drag queen than a pirate, while Tiger Lilly resembled a child who discovered her mother’s makeup for the first time. Unfortunately, the extreme costumes didn’t mesh well with the green-screen looking backgrounds. Rather than a childhood paradise, Neverland was a colorful yet lifeless land. While, Disney animated his version of Peter Pan to bring his entire story to life, depicting Neverland as every child’s dream.
In Wright’s version, Peter is portrayed as a cross between a young free boy and a try-hard hero, resulting in what feels like a diluted version of Disney’s energetic Peter Pan. However, adding an interesting twist to the story by mirroring Barrie’s original story, Wright introduces Hook as a mentor to Peter, and a possible love interest to the Native American, Tiger Lilly. This aspect of “Pan” differs from Disney’s version of “Peter Pan”, which portrays Hook as a middle-aged, one-handed man, and an enemy to Peter.
Wright makes a questionable decision by casting the Native American Princess, Tiger Lily, as Rooney Mara who couldn’t be less Native American looking. This brings up the point that Warner Bros’ casts mostly white people to play non-white roles, as if they are insinuating that white people will somehow make the movie better. If “Pan” is supposed to be a children’s movie, how are children supposed to grow up with movies like this that insist that all role models must be white? At least Disney had a Native American portrayal of the princess. Disney’s imitation was a bit over the top, but it was way more accurate than that of Wright’s.
Overall, “Pan” is a hollow prequel to Barrie’s novel about the boy who never grew up, with amature costumes and unremarkable visuals, “Pan” is a movie that could be more pleasing to younger viewers.