Pan 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Joe Wright is one of the more creative directors working today and has directed a handful of very good films over the last several years. ATONEMENT is one of my favorite films of the last ten years and even though I didn’t love it, it was hard not to respect the originality of ANNA KARENINA. So whenever Wright signs on for another film, I get excited to see what he’s going to do with it. But when he signed up for PAN, I just couldn’t bring myself to muster any excitement, even with Hugh Jackman in the lead and a slew of talented actors in supporting roles. No matter how great a director is, sometimes it’s impossible to overcome the subject matter.
Fans of the classic Disney animated film won’t find much to cling to in this live action retelling, likewise for fans of the original book. This is a compilation of sorts from various sources, sprinkled with several new ideas and themes. When PAN works, it works because of Wright’s direction, particularly during scenes outside of Neverland. When it doesn’t work, it gets lost in the layering of themes. It oftentimes feels like Wright doesn’t know if he wants to make a film for adults or a film for children. There’s a movie here that is clearly for adults and geared towards the fears and naiveté found in everyone’s inner child. Then there’s a film that’s geared towards actual children; a film that’s silly at times while forcing some lighthearted moments to keep the kids from hiding under the couch.
Every Joe Wright film features great performances, but PAN was lacking a bit in this department, probably because of the CGI. Hugh Jackman’s Blackbeard received most of the attention and was featured prominently in all of the trailers and he does a fine job even if his costumes and makeup is a little distracting. Newcomer Levi Miller was off-putting at times as Pan, but not to the point that it distracted from the film. The issues with the tone had more of an impact on the performances than anything the actors did or didn’t do.
A PAN review this long after its release would be remiss without addressing some of the controversy surrounding the film. People were upset with the way Hook was treated in the film and later, more people became angry that Rooney Mara was cast as a “native” (Mara herself spoke out against it). Hook is probably the most important character in the PAN story outside of Pan himself, and Hedlund’s portrayal of Hook in PAN didn’t make much sense. But we’re in a world where traditional villain stories are being retold to make them heroes, so I’m not going to draw the line at Hook. It worked for what Wright was trying to do. As for the Mara casting controversy; if that’s what you want to complain about, feel free. I’ll stay out of it.
The problem is that the story of Peter Pan has been beaten to death, either with direct telling or subtle variations, so much so that there’s not much left to do with the story. If anyone could have made the story interesting, it’s Joe Wright, but he trapped himself in a world that couldn’t hold anyone’s interest and even though the special effects were beautiful, they ultimately weren’t enough to carry the film.
4K ULTRA HD REVIEW
Video: Of the three Warner Bros. releases, this was the one I was most excited about. Sure, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was by far and away the best movie, but PAN featured bright colors, huge special effects and plenty of moments where HDR would come into play. Unfortunately, this was a very disappointing UHD, especially when compared to the 3D version of the film. If you place the Blu-ray and the UHD side by side, you’ll see a difference, but even PAN-obsessed fans would be hard pressed to justify an upgrade. And if you already own the 3D version, then holding onto that is a no-brainer.
Audio: The audio was fine.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does come with a Blu-ray of the film.
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