What can we learn from Pan?

Pan, a late runner for the biggest bomb of 2015 is a failure on pretty much every level. The plot makes no sense the characters change at the drop of a hat, the CGI is bad, the actors are either over or under acting and Rooney Mara is wearing a very stupid hat

But, unlike, say… Terminator Genysis, this isn’t something that should be thrown into deep dark places and never spoken of again. There is a kind of lunatic brilliance to their rendition of “smells like teen spirit” and when the film does remember that stunts can be done by actual people, then they can be quite good. But this is still a pointless waste of hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been spent on a Dredd sequel, or- and here be controversies- something new!

But surely we can learn something from this debacle and maybe use it to create better, more involving movies.

Do People Want This? There is a kind of logic to releasing Fantastic 4 and Terminator as there is a big demand for these characters to return to the screen. But no-one asked for Pan’s origin story. He has been animated, shot in real life and re-interpreted dozens of times. And despite being really heavily advertised no-one had any desire to go and see it before the critics got our grubby little paws on it and damned it to hell.

Budget Matters- I love low budget films, they tend to involve more interesting plots, characters and situations (seriously, check out The Lobster for the barmiest plot you’ll see all year) and, as there is less money riding on the film, the studio backs off leaving the directer to make their version of their world. Not so for big budget blockbusters which are legendary for having the studios demand re-shoots and plot alterations.

Make It Real A lot of Pan’s effects look worse than the effects in Hook, which isn’t a good thing to say. Make an effect practical unless there is no way to do it without killing or wounding an actor. CGI dates very quickly and NEVER looks as good as an actual stunt

Script Script Script- Does your plot make sense? Does the characters motivations change in a heartbeat? Do they react to situations in a way that makes sense? All the special effects and A-listers in the world won’t make up for a bad script. When you think it’s perfect, read it over one more time just to make sure.

Don’t give critics easy targets- The only moment of Pan that sticks in my mind is all of the slave children and Blackbeard singing ‘smells like teen spirit’ which includes the line “Here we are now, entertain us” at which point I looked around the cinema, saw a lot of people nodding and decided to include it in my review. Don’t do my job for me!

 Ban Prophecies, destinies and Chosen ones- The second someone becomes the ‘chosen one’ who is destined to do the ‘thing’ that will make the movie end, we are no longer able to insert ourselves into the character and Peter Pan is a big audience wish-fulfillment character, similar to James Bond. Put in a prophecy and lot of engagement goes out the window.

By fixing these (and many other issues) Pan could have been a good movie instead of a waste of time effort, money and Hugh Jackman.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comment section below.


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