If Pan's screenplay is a lesson in anything, it's that most beloved stories don't require a whole cinematic universe to go along with them.
The most cheering surprise of the season is "Pan."
The film fulfills its limited mandate of providing fast-paced adventure and some nice eye candy without adding anything memorable to the tale of The Boy Who Can Fly.
The very idea behind Pan is ill-conceived. Who wants a prequel to Peter Pan?
Tasked to come up with any sort of backstory to get us to the flying and the crowing and the Lost Boys and the never growing up, Pan goes with what has become default fantasy template No. 1.
This joyless, juiceless Pan is a theme-park ride from hell.
For all the eye-popping effects and hyperkinetic action, there's no joyful innocence here. There's no sense of childlike wonder. Just a lifeless machine, dully ticking away like a clock in a crocodile's belly.
In fashioning a creation myth for Peter Pan, director Joe Wright and writer Jason Fuchs have produced such a thin story that they reduce, rather than amplify, J.M. Barrie's famous characters.
A hectic and labored attempt to supply the boy who never grew up with an origin story.