Pan – Christian Movie Review
Why I Loved the Film!
“When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” – C.S. Lewis
What would you do if you didn’t have to be an adult anymore? Goodbye bills, work, responsibilities. What if you had the freedom that only comes in true childhood? The legend of Peter Pan has thrilled audiences for around 100 years now — both adults and kids. But this isn’t J.M. Barrie’s or Disney’s now-classic retelling. This is a new one — an “origin” story. Newcomer Levi Miller is a quintessential 12-year old who basically looks like the Peter Pan we always knew in our hearts. The great cast is rounded out with Hugh Jackman (“X-Men”), Rooney Mara (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”), Amanda Seyfriend (“Les Miserables”) and Garrett Hedlund (“Tron: Legacy”). Critics (wait for it…) PANNED it (sorry), but I think they are wrong and are missing out on what made this one of my favorite films of the year.
Director Joe Wright (“Pride & Prejudice”) has made his intention clear in an interview recently:
I decided to liberate myself and make a film from the point of view of an 11-year-old child so I could pluck ideas and bring them into the movie without regard for common sense. That was the kind of anarchic spirit I was aiming for. It’s a kind of tonal craziness. It’s quite an anarchic film. But that’s what makes it a kid’s film. Kids really understand anarchy. Adults don’t understand anarchy. You have to remember everything is being told from the point of view of a young boy.
So here we have, by the director’s clear statement, a film made from the point of view of a child. Meaning that for the two hours we sit and watch this film, we can journey back into that fun world of childhood. Relax, let the story come, let the scares and laughs come (there were quite a few of both) and enjoy being a child again.
And it stands to reason that I think kids who are well-versed in film (meaning they can handle a mildly scary film) will greatly enjoy this movie. Parents and fans of Peter Pan who want to escape into Neverland are welcome too.
Parental Guidance Content at a Glance for this PG rated film…
Nudity, Sexual Themes or “Bathroom” Humor: A few “gaseous” moments played for laughs between children.
Violence/Gore/Scary Content: Mildly frightening moments will definitely scare younger audiences. A bit of blood is seen after battle. Many fights take place throughout. Several characters fall off very high cliffs. Scary clowns (shown in the trailer) are throughout. An orphanage mismanaged by evil nuns a la “Oliver.”
Language: Use of mainly British mild swear words such as holy patootie, heck, darned, and bloody hell.
Alcohol/Drug/Smoking Content: Some drug use but not in the traditional sense.
(Review continues below)
Entertainment Value and Film Craft
Playing around with black and white, dark and light, stillness and clamor gives this movie a surprising depth. The soundtrack by John Powell was enjoyable and truly added to the film. CGI effects were fun and unexpected at points.
Worldviews, Subtext, Symbolism, Themes of Redemption, Social Commentary, the Question of “Spiritual Edification,” Etc.
Ahh, he is the “chosen one that the prophecy spoke of long ago.” Not only that, he’s a son of Mary. I don’t think there is anyone out there trying to make a connection to Jesus, but perhaps younger viewers would try to make some similarities. It could lead to some interesting discussions with your kids about Jesus and faith if you approach it creatively. The film’s themes of bravery, faith, family, friends and standing up for what you believe in even when it hurts are ones I can easily get behind.
Conclusion: This Marvelous Film Removes the ‘Veil of Familiarity’
For me, this was one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen. I know that can sound over-the-top. It was just so magical, funny, sweet, charming, inspiriting (yes, inspiriting, that’s a real word), and scary all in the right proportions. You may laugh, but I left that movie theater with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.
Because for two hours I was able to see through the eyes of a child and partake in the colorful telling of a great legend. It might be cliche but I laughed and cried. This is truly a gem of a film and is amazingly family friendly. I loved this film for the same reason that C.S. Lewis loved myth, as he explains here:
The value of the myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity.’ The child enjoys his cold meat, otherwise dull to him, by pretending it is buffalo, just killed with his own bow and arrow. And the child is wise. The real meat comes back to him more savory for having been dipped in a story…by putting bread, gold, horse, apple, or the very roads into a myth, we do not retreat from reality: we rediscover it.
My rating for “Pan”: [usr 9] (See our editor’s notes below on the rating scale.)
Note about my rating system for the movie’s film craft and entertainment value:
1 star = one of the worst movies ever made (the stuff of bad movie legends), and it usually (not always) has below 10% on Rotten Tomatoes
2-3 stars = a mostly bad movie that has a handful of nice moments; it usually falls between 10-30% on Rotten Tomatoes
4-6 stars = a decent movie with some flaws, overall. Four stars mean its flaws outweigh the good. Five stars mean equal good, equal bad. Six stars mean it’s a fairly good movie, with some great moments even, that outweigh a few flaws. A 4-6 star rating usually means it falls between 30-59% on Rotten Tomatoes (but not always).
7-9 stars = a rare rating reserved only for the best movies of that year; and a film must have a Fresh Tomato rating (60% or higher) on Rotten Tomatoes to be given 7 stars or higher, with a f
ew exceptions (if I strongly disagree with the critics).
10 stars = one of the best films of all time, right up there with the all-time greats (i.e. Casablanca, The African Queen, Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars Episode IV, Indiana Jones, etc.).
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