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Pan | Bigger on the Inside

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Pan is a cute movie version of the Peter Pan backstory. It had beautiful costumes, good acting and a decent plot. This PG rated movie was family-friendly and could make for some intersting discussion.

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

My family, being on Easter Break together, decided, after much of our vacation had gone wrong, to have a family movie night. I wish I was writing about Batman Vs. Superman, but even when I’m on vacation, I don’t get out much. Going through the “on demand” section, we came across Pan, a movie that most of us had wanted to see when it came out last year. So, we hunkered down, settled in a gave it a go.  The movie diverted us from our troubles for a while, so it served its purpose.  It also gave my kids a couple of opportunities to make fun of me for crying “over every little thing.”

Pan is a pretty cute retelling of the story of Peter Pan which included/hinted at some backstory (which I always love).  It began with Peter being left at an orphanage during WWII by his mother. He is left in the hands of some horrible, thieving nuns who sell kids to pirates (while I’ve heard stories about the nuns of the olden days, selling kids to pirates was never among them) and is ultimately stolen, too. The pirates work for Blackbeard, who puts the kids into mines where they seek the faerie dust that Blackbeard uses for breathing treatments that keep him young. Through a series of adventures, it becomes apparent that Peter is the prophesied “messiah” who will defeat Blackbeard and free the Faeries who have been in hiding.



The costumes were great, the storyline was entertaining enough, it had some decent fighting scenes and the acting was good. However, my family and I were left with some questions, including:

  • Why, by the Hammer of Grabthar, would you have Hugh Jackman in a movie and not take advantage of his God-given gift of good-lookingness?
  • Why was everybody in Neverland singing Nirvana?
  • Why didn’t Blackbeard just kill Peter instead of letting him fulfill the prophecy (and for that matter, why do all villains do that?!)?
  • Why didn’t the Faeries just rise up and defeat Blackbeard themselves? They did all the work in the battle, anyway…

Captain Hook is introduced as a sort of Han Solo/Indiana Jones hybrid who starts off as a goodish guy, but whose future in piracy is hinted at throughout. There were some puppet birds who appeared to be the grandchildren of the freaky muppets from Labyrinth (the Fireys). Tigerlilly was fierce and beautiful. I really appreciated her character.

This movie is worth the $4 and change that we spent to watch in the comfort of our home while blowing off a little steam. They certainly left things open to be answered in a sequel—how Hook and Peter became enemies, how Hook went bad altogether—stuff like that. I would watch the next movie to have that closure.

Conversation Themes

If you decide to watch this movie with your kids, there is opportunity for conversation. There was a nice inclusion of what could be used for a discussion on the Communion of Saints in that Peter’s mother had been killed by Blackbeard but she was still able to express her love for him from beyond, and assured him that she was always with him. There were themes of bravery, betrayal, freedom, difficult choices (having to give up a child when you really can’t take care of them—how parents sometimes have to make choices that break their hearts), and maybe even how we can respond when we see people that we should be able to trust don’t behave worthily of it (the bad nuns).

Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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