REVIEW: PAN

CAST

Levi Miller (Jasper Jones)
Hugh Jackman (Logan)
Garrett Hedlund (Tron: LEgacy)
Rooney Mara (Side Effects)
Adeel Akhtar (The Dictator)
Nonso Anozie (Dracula)
Amanda Seyfried (Jennifer’s Body)
Kathy Burke (Flushed Away)
Lewis MacDougall (A Monster Calls)
Jack Charles (Tom White)
Cara Delevingne (Sucide Squad)
Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones)

Newborn Peter (Levi Miller) is left by his mother Mary (Amanda Seyfried) on the steps of an orphanage in London, an establishment under the care of Mother Barnabas (Kathy Burke). Several years later, during World War II, upon learning that Mother Barnabas is hoarding food for herself, Peter and his best friend Nibs (Lewis MacDougall) try to steal it to distribute amongst themselves and the other orphans but they are caught. In the process, Peter finds a letter written by his mother, declaring her love and assuring Peter they will meet again “in this world or another”.In retaliation for the boys’ mischief, Mother Barnabas summons pirates who kidnap Peter, Nibs and several others. Nibs manages to escape but Peter does not. He is captured and taken aboard a flying pirate ship. Following an aerial battle with several Spitfires the ship takes Peter to Neverland, a magical realm beyond space and time, where he is forced to become a slave laborer and mine for Pixum (crystallized Fairy Dust) on behalf of the terrible pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) who uses it to prevent himself from aging. Peter befriends another miner, named James Hook (Garrett Hedlund). After insulting Blackbeard’s men, Peter is forced to walk the plank over the deep mine, but survives by flying. Blackbeard then tells Peter about an old prophecy that a boy who could fly would one day kill him, but Peter refuses to believe he is that boy.Peter joins Hook and his accomplice, Sam “Smee” Smiegel (Adeel Akhtar), stealing one of Blackbeard’s flying ships and escaping into the forest. There they are found by the native chief’s daughter Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and nearly executed but when the natives Chief Great Little Panther (Jack Charles) notices Peter’s pan flute pendant, left to him by Mary, and said to belong to their people’s greatest hero, the legendary Pan. With the Memory Tree, Tiger Lily tells Peter that many years ago when the natives and the fairies united to fight together against the pirates, the Fairy Prince and the love of Blackbeard’s life, Mary fell in love but when Blackbeard discovered them, the Prince took human form to rescue Mary. But as fairies could only live in the form of a human for one day, the Prince sacrificed his life for Mary. Mary was then forced to hide their newborn son Peter in the other world and seek shelter in the Fairy Kingdom when she and the fairies had to retreat. As part of his heritage, Peter has the ability to fly, but is unable to do so because of his lack of faith.Fearful of Blackbeard’s punishment, Smee betrays the natives’ location to him, and in the ensuing battle, Chief Great Little Panther is murdered by Blackbeard, who also reveals that he killed Peter’s mother. Peter is hurt to learn that Tiger Lily had lied to Peter, telling him his mother is alive but she explains that he would have walked away from his destiny if he knew the truth.Peter, Hook, and Tiger Lily escape in a raft and head to the Fairy Kingdom to enlist their help in defeating the pirates. Along the way, Peter falls into the river and is nearly eaten by giant crocodiles before being rescued by the mermaids, after which he has a vision of Blackbeard accidentally killing Mary as she defended the Fairy Kingdom from his offensive. Despondent over their chances, Hook leaves while Peter and Tiger Lily arrive at the Fairy Kingdom only to be ambushed by Blackbeard who plans to use the fairies vast amount of Pixum to live forever. Blackbeard takes Peter’s pan flute pendant, which is the key to the fairy kingdom, opens their gates and launches an attack.Peter escapes and befriends one of the fairies, named Tinker Bell. Together, they rally the rest of the Neverland fairies to fight the pirates while Tiger Lily duels Blackbeard. Hook returns on the stolen ship and fights Blackbeard’s right-hand man Bishop (Nonso Anozie) until the ship tips over, sending both falling to their deaths. Peter conquers his fears and flies to save Hook, while Blackbeard and his men are overpowered by the fairies. Forced into an abyss, they subsequently fall to their deaths. Smee is the sole survivor having fled during the battle. Peter then sees a vision of Mary, who reaffirms him to be Neverland’s savior: Peter Pan. Shortly afterwards, Peter and Hook, now the captain of the Jolly Roger, return to London to rescue Nibs and the other orphans, who become part of Peter’s crew, the Lost Boys. In the final scene, Peter and Hook reaffirm their friendship, certain that nothing will ever go wrong between them.A totally different side of the Peter Pan story. Unique and imaginative. Non stop action packed and Hugh Jackman like you’ve never seen him before. A talented cast and brilliant production.

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REVIEW: PETER PAN (2003)

CAST

Jeremy Sumpter (Excision)
Jason Isaacs (Fury)
Rachel Hurd-Wood (Dorian Gray)
Lynn Redgrave (Kinsey)
Richard Briers (Murder She said)
Olivia Williams (An Education)
Ludivine Sagnier (The Young Pope)
Saffron Burrows (Deep Blue Sea)
Bruce Spence (Mad Max 2)

In the nursery of the Darling home located in Edwardian era London in 1904, Wendy Darling tells her younger brothers John and Michael stories about a boy called Peter Pan and his fairy friend Tinker Bell. Life is disrupted when their Aunt Millicent intervenes. Judging Wendy to be an “almost” full-grown woman, Aunt Millicent advises Mr. and Mrs. Darling to think of Wendy’s future, saying that Wendy should spend less time in the nursery, and more time with herself, to become a grown woman. The very idea terrifies the children.

Wendy daydreams about having seen Peter in the night, and along with the family’s “nurse” dog Nana, embarrasses her father in front of his superiors. As a punishment, Mr. Darling chains Nana outside and declares it time for Wendy to grow up. Peter visits the nursery again looking for his shadow, which Nana had bitten off, and introduces himself. After being acquainted, Wendy sews his shadow back on and is enchanted by Peter’s tales of his adventures in Neverland. She asks Peter if she can kiss him, but because he does not know what a kiss is, ends up giving him a thimble instead. He returns the “kiss” by plucking an acorn from his shirt and giving it to her. Peter invites her to be “mother” to his gang of Lost Boys. She asks to bring her brothers, John and Michael, to which Peter agrees. He grabs Tinker Bell and shakes fairy dust on the children and tells them to think of happy thoughts. Nana, having escaped her chain, leads Mr. and Mrs. Darling back home, but they arrive too late to stop the children.

The Children fly over London and then to Neverland. They spy on Captain Hook’s(Isaacs) ship from a cloud. The pirates spot them and attack with their cannons. One knocks Wendy far away and the other causes Michael and John to fall towards the island below. Peter tells Tinker Bell to find Wendy and take her back to the hideout while he gets the boys. But Tinker Bell reaches the hideout without Wendy and out of jealousy, tricks the Lost Boys into shooting Wendy with an arrow. The boys learn the truth and confess to Peter but Wendy is revealed not to have been killed as the arrow hit the acorn necklace hung around her neck. Angry, Peter banishes Tinker Bell and ends their friendship. When Wendy finally awakens she finds the Lost Boys on their knees begging her to be their mother, which she accepts. They blindfold her and lead her to their hideout, and she finally realizes her brothers are missing. Michael and John stumble across the crocodile that ate Hook’s hand then encounter the Native American princess Tiger Lily (Carsen Gray). All three are then captured by Hook and taken to the Black Castle to use as bait for Peter Pan. Wendy and Peter visit the mermaids’ lagoon to ask the dark and mysterious creatures to help in locating John and Michael, and learn that Hook has her brothers. Peter and Hook engage in a duel but it is stopped when the ticking crocodile arrives and tries to eat Hook, allowing the children to all escape.

That night, after a celebration at the Indians’ camp, Peter shows Wendy the fairies’ home and the two share a dance. Hook spies on the two and soon comes across Tinker Bell, who is still hurt and upset from being banished, and charms her into telling him more about Peter and Wendy. Peter becomes upset with Wendy after she tries to get him to tell her if he loves her in return and tells her to go home and grow up if she’s not happy. Wendy, hurt, leaves to be alone. Hook has the sleeping Wendy carried to his ship. There, he entices her to become a pirate but sends a spy to follow her to the Lost Boys’ underground hideout afterwards. Wendy soon comes to her senses and tells her brothers that the three of them will be going home, which upsets Peter. The Lost Boys ask if they can go too, upsetting Peter even more. Wendy tries to say goodbye to Peter but he turns away in sadness. She leaves him a cup of medicine and tells him not to forget to take it.

The pirates capture the boys outside and Hook goes down into the tree and puts a drop of poison in Peter’s medicine. He is about to drink the medicine, but Tinker Bell stops him and drinks the poison herself. Peter telepathically reaches out to children sleeping around the world, the Darlings, Aunt Millicent, the Lost Boys, and even the pirates to assert their belief in fairies, which brings Tinker Bell back to life. Peter and Tinker Bell save Wendy and the boys from walking the plank by making the pirates think the crocodile is on board, and a battle soon breaks out. Hook sprinkles himself with Tinker Bell’s fairy dust and fights Peter in a duel while flying. Hook taunts him about Wendy abandoning him and forgetting all about him when she grows up. Weakened by those thoughts and unable to fight, Peter gives in to his inevitable death. Seeing this as goodbye, Wendy gives Peter her hidden kiss, which gives him the strength to recover. Peter re-engages Hook, who loses his confidence and falls into the waiting jaws of the crocodile.

With the ship covered in fairy dust, Peter flies Wendy and the boys back to London. Mr. and Mrs. Darling are overjoyed at the return of their children, and adopt the Lost Boys. Slightly, who got lost on the way to London and arrives at the house too late, is adopted by the lonely Aunt Millicent. Peter promises never to forget Wendy and to return someday before heading back to Neverland with Tinker Bell. According to the adult Wendy, she never saw Peter again, but she continues to tell his story to her own children and grandchildren so that his legacy will last forever.

Hogan and company have brought the Barrie work to the screen and have rightly restored to it a child’s sense of awe and wonder, of both beauty and terror co-existing side by side and for this reason alone it is the definitive film version of Peter Pan

REVIEW: SHREK

 

 

CAST

Mike Myers (Austin Powers)
Eddie Murphy (Dr. Dolittle)
Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Vincent Cassel (Ocean’s Thirteen)
Conrad Vernon (Bee Movie)
Chris Miller (Turbo)
Cody Cameron (Open Season)

 

Shrek, a green ogre who loves the solitude in his swamp, finds his life interrupted when many fairytale characters are exiled there by order of the fairytale-hating Lord Farquaad. Shrek tells them that he will go ask Farquaad to send them back. He brings along a talking Donkey who is the only fairytale creature who knows the way to Duloc.

Meanwhile, Farquaad tortures the Gingerbread Man into giving the location of the remaining fairytale creatures until his guards rush in with something he has been searching for: the Magic Mirror. He asks The Mirror if his kingdom is the fairest of them all but is told that he is not even a king. To be a king he must marry a princess and is given three options, from which he chooses Princess Fiona, who is locked in a castle tower guarded by lava and a dragon. The Mirror tries to mention “the little thing that happens at night” but is unsuccessful.

Shrek and Donkey arrive at Farquaad’s palace in Duloc, where they end up in a tournament. The winner gets the “privilege” of rescuing Fiona so that Farquaad may marry her. Shrek and Donkey easily defeat the other knights in wrestling-match fashion, and Farquaad accepts his offer to move the fairytale creatures from his swamp if Shrek rescues Fiona.

Shrek and Donkey travel to the castle and split up to find Fiona. Donkey encounters the dragon and sweet-talks the beast before learning that it is female. Dragon takes a liking to him and carries him to her chambers. Shrek finds Fiona, who is appalled at his lack of romanticism. As they leave, Shrek saves Donkey, caught in Dragon’s tender clutches, and forces her to chase them out of the castle. At first, Fiona is thrilled to be rescued but is quickly disappointed when Shrek reveals he is an ogre.

As the three journey to Duloc, Fiona urges the two to camp out for the night while she sleeps in a cave. Shrek and Donkey stargaze while Shrek tells stories about great ogres and says that he will build a wall around his swamp when he returns. When Donkey persistently asks why, he says that everyone judges him before knowing him; therefore, he feels he is better off alone, despite Donkey’s admission that he did not immediately judge him when they met.

Along the way, Shrek and Fiona find they have more in common and fall in love. The trio is almost at Duloc, and that night Fiona shelters in a windmill. When Donkey hears strange noises coming from it, he finds Fiona turned into an ogre. She explains her childhood curse and transforms each night, which is why she was locked away, and that only her true love’s kiss will return her to her “love’s true form”. Shrek, about to confess his feelings for Fiona with a sunflower, partly overhears them, and is heartbroken as he mistakes her disgust with her transformation to an “ugly beast” as disgust with him. Fiona makes Donkey promise not to tell Shrek, vowing to do it herself. The next morning, Shrek has brought Lord Farquaad to Fiona. The couple return to Duloc, while a hurt Shrek angrily leaves his friendship with Donkey and returns to his now-vacated swamp, remembering what Fiona “said” about him.

Despite his privacy, Shrek is devastated and misses Fiona. Furious at Shrek, Donkey comes to the swamp where Shrek says he overheard Donkey and Fiona’s conversation. Donkey keeps his promise to Fiona and tells Shrek that she was talking about someone else. He accepts Shrek’s apology and tells him that Fiona will be getting married soon, urging Shrek into action to gain Fiona’s love. They travel to Duloc quickly, thanks to Dragon, who had escaped her confines and followed Donkey.

Shrek interrupts the wedding before Farquaad can kiss Fiona. He tells her that Farquaad is not her true love and only marrying her to become king. The sun sets, which turns Fiona into an ogre in front of everyone in the church, causing a surprised Shrek to fully understand what he overheard. Outraged by Fiona, Farquaad orders Shrek killed and Fiona detained. Shrek whistles for Dragon who bursts in along with Donkey and devours Farquaad. Shrek and Fiona profess their love and share a kiss; Fiona is bathed in light as her curse is broken but is surprised that she is still an ogre, as she thought she would become beautiful, to which Shrek replies that she is beautiful. They marry in the swamp and leave on their honeymoon while the rest celebrate by singing “I’m a Believer”.

Shrek is a sprawling surge into fairytale archetypes and stereotypes – the ogre, the noble steed, the damsel in distress, the evil lord, a fire-breathing dragon, Pinnochio, the three little pigs, the medieval tournaments and the festering forest swamp – it indulges and loses itself in the fun of these staples and it makes no pretense about it. The creators at DreamWorks Studios brush up on an old fairytale premise of a hero saving the damsel in distress from the dragon’s keep with intelligent, deft strokes. The result is a meticulously animated, hilarious, heartwarming fluff of a film.

REVIEW: FINDING NEVERLAND

CAST

Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands)
Kate Winslet (Insurgent)
Julie Christie (Troy)
Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black)
Dustin Hoffman (I Heart Huckabees)
Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)
Joe Prospero (My Uncle Silas)
Ian Hart (Enemy of The State)
Kelly Macdonald (Trainspotting)
Mackenzie Crook (Almost Human)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)

The story focuses on Scottish writer J. M. Barrie, his platonic relationship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, and his close friendship with her sons named George, Jack, Peter, and Michael, who inspire the classic play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Never Grew Up.

Following the dismal reception of his latest play, Little Mary, Barrie meets the widowed Sylvia and her four young sons in Kensington Gardens, and a strong friendship develops between them. He proves to be a great playmate and surrogate father figure for the boys, and their imaginative antics give him ideas which he incorporates into a play about boys who do not want to grow up, especially one named after troubled young Peter Llewelyn Davies. Although Barrie sees this family as wonderful and inspirational, people question his relationship with the Llewelyn Davies family. Sylvia was a widow: her husband died from cancer and left her with four boys to raise on her own. Barrie’s wife Mary, who eventually divorces him, and Sylvia’s mother Emma du Maurier, object to the amount of time Barrie spends with the Llewelyn Davies family. Emma also seeks to control her daughter and grandsons, especially as Sylvia becomes increasingly weak from an unidentified illness. Along the way, Barrie goes on these adventures with Sylvia and her boys. He too is a boy at heart and spending time with the family is special. Barrie and his wife did not have any children of their own. Barrie takes those adventures he has with the boys and sees within them and makes it into a play, Peter Pan.
Producer Charles Frohman skeptically agrees to mount Peter Pan, despite his belief that it holds no appeal for upper-class theatergoers. Barrie peppers the opening night audience with children from a nearby orphanage, and the adults present react to their infectious delight with an appreciation of their own. The play proves to be a huge success. Barrie is all set for his play, but when Peter arrives alone to the play, Barrie goes to Sylvia’s house to check up on her, and misses the show. Peter attends the play and realizes the play is about his brothers and Barrie.  Sylvia is too ill to attend the production, so Barrie arranges to have an abridged production of it performed in her home. He gets the actors, props, and musicians together in the Llewelyn Davies house. At the end of the play, Peter Pan points to the back doors and implies that Sylvia should go off to Neverland. She takes the hands of her boys and slowly walks out into Neverland. The living room and backyard transform into Neverland and Sylvia continues to walk on her own.

In the next scene everyone is at Sylvia’s funeral. Barrie discovers that her will says that he and her mother should look after the boys, an arrangement agreeable to both. The film ends with J. M. Barrie finding Peter on the bench in the park where they first met after Peter ran off from the graveyard. Peter is holding his book where he wrote the plays that he ripped apart and that his mother glued back together for him. Barrie sits down and puts his arm around Peter to comfort him. They both fade, and all that is left is the bench.

Peter Pan’s story may be told repeatedly, the process and struggles of his conception by Barrie have been done more than adequate justice by this film. It is a visual feast that will interest adults and children alike, and may be the best alternative to other failing versions of Peter Pan as it tells the story of the original boy who never grew up

 

REVIEW: HOOK

CAST
Robin Williams (Jumanji)
Julia Roberts (Mirror, Mirror)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Bob Hoskins (Snow White and The huntsman)
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Caroline Goodall (Schlinders List)
Phil Collins (Buster)
Don S. Davis (Stargate – Sg.1)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
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Peter Banning is a successful, middle-aged corporate lawyer living in San Francisco but spends more time at work in the office with his fellow coworkers than at home with his wife Moira and two young children Jack and Maggie. Although Peter is able to see Maggie’s school play production of Peter Pan, he misses Jack’s baseball game, breaking his promise. The Bannings fly to London to visit Moira’s grandmother, Wendy Darling, to celebrate her charity work for orphans, which once included Peter. During the visit, Peter is distracted by phone calls from his business partner. On one occasion, he shouts at his children when they interrupt him and in frustration, Moira throws his cellphone out a window.
Later, while Peter, Moira, and Wendy attend a banquet ceremony hosted by Great Ormond Street Hospital, a strange presence abducts Jack and Maggie from their beds in the nursery. The senile Tootles, another one of Wendy’s orphans who lives at her house, insists that Captain Hook has kidnapped the children as revenge and has taken them back to Neverland. Peter dismisses Tootles’ warning and calls the police instead. Late that night Wendy tells Peter that the stories about Neverland are all true and he is actually the real Peter Pan but has lost all his childhood memories when he decided to stay in London with her several decades ago. In a state of denial, Peter gets drunk in the nursery where Tinker Bell arrives. After failing to convince Peter about Neverland, she knocks him unconscious and carries him into the night sky and towards the second star to the right.
Confused and disoriented, Peter wakes up in Neverland with a hangover where he encounters Captain Hook and his pirates, who are holding his children hostage. Hook is disgusted by Peter’s adult self and becomes disillusioned by his foe who is no longer capable of providing a good fight. Tinker Bell and Hook make a deal to give Peter three days to be trained to his former self for a climactic battle. After a brief encounter with a group of mermaids in the lagoon, Tinker Bell takes Peter to meet the new generation of Lost Boys, led by a new leader, Rufio. Tinker Bell convinces the boys to give Peter a chance and they agree to train him. During this process Peter begins to rediscover his inner child and sense of imagination. Meanwhile, Mr. Smee suggests to Hook that he manipulate Jack and Maggie into loving him in order to break Peter’s spirit. Maggie despises Hook, but Jack begins to see Hook as a father figure.
In a disguise, Peter sadly witnesses Jack playing baseball with Hook, who treats him as a son. Knowing that he must learn how to fly again to prove himself and retrieve his children, Peter unsuccessfully tries to remember how until he encounters his own shadow, which leads him to the old tree home of the original Lost Boys. He reunites with Tinker Bell and remembers his past, recalling how he came to Neverland as an infant, how he met Wendy and how he fell in love with Wendy’s granddaughter Moira and chose to grow up. Realizing being a father is his new happy thought, Peter rises up in the sky and dons his childhood outfit. He regains leadership of the lost boys who launch an attack on Hook and the pirates on the third day. During the battle, Peter rescues Maggie and promises to be a better father to Jack.
When Hook slays Rufio, Peter and Hook face off in a final duel, ending in Peter’s victory. Refusing to leave honorably, Hook attempts to attack Peter when his back is turned, but the stuffed crocodile that once tormented him comes back to life one final time and consumes him. Peter gives the lost boy called Thud Butt his sword, asking him to look after the other boys. He then departs from Neverland with his children, waking up in Kensington Gardens, where he says a final goodbye to Tinker Bell who confesses her unrequited love for him. Returning to Wendy’s house, Peter reunites with his family and hands a bag of marbles to Tootles, who discovers they contain pixie dust and flies off out the window to return to Neverland. Wendy asks Peter if his adventures are over, but Peter replies, “To live would be an awfully big adventure.”
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This film is a true classic that everyone should have the pleaure of watching. It doesn’t take anything away from J.M Barrie, it just extends his great ideas onto a new and modern level.