While everyone was flipping out over the Jurassic World trailer and the new Star Wars teaser (which I’ll touch on a little at the end of this post), I’ve actually been most impressed by the trailer for Joe Wright’s upcoming film Pan, which is the origin story of Peter Pan.
Fantasy is hot right now, and we’ve seen films and novels created on the premise of updating fairy tales or turning them into epic fantasies. I think Peter Pan is an interesting choice for this treatment and an appropriate one. Off the top of my head I can’t think of too many versions of the story (especially in film) that explore the world of Neverland beyond the confines of its appearance in the original story. The only notable exception to this is Hook.
I will be very curious to see how the story for the film plays out, especially given the set up of Peter and Hook being friends. Obviously we know how things turn out, but what leads to the rivalry that we know from the original tale? As far as I know, Peter Pan’s origins haven’t been explored, so while (I’m assuming) the story will eventually turn to familiar ground, I think Wright has a lot of narrative space to play with, and turning Hook into a future fallen hero is a good example of how he’s using it.
Visually this movie also looks stunning, and not just in the CGI. I think the costuming and how strange and exotic it is, both for the pirates and the “Pan tribe”, is great and really brings the fantastical feel of the setting to life.
I don’t know much about Levi Miller, but aside from that, I think the casting choices are strong too. I will say that I do have a bit of an issue with Rooney Mara being cast as Tiger Lily. In a cast that is predominantly white, I think that was an opportunity to cast a person of color, especially because the character is often presented as Native American. In terms of acting quality, I think she’s a fine selection, and I suppose there aren’t any rules about how a fantastical character should be portrayed, but it is still somewhat disappointing.
Finally, I will be curious to see if Pan is a standalone film or whether the producers hope to create a series based on Peter Pan. Perhaps we can see Wright’s take on the original tale, which would be interesting given his film adaptations of Pride & Prejudice and Anna Karenina. His stylized approach to adaptations is very interesting, and I think it would be cool to see his take on the source material.
As promised, here are my thoughts on the Star Wars teaser trailer for Episode VII. The short version is that it’s really too early to tell much. The teaser really offers no insight into what the story is. The only thing that seems apparent is that the conflict between the Empire and the Alliance (or is it now the New Republic?) is still going on and they’re still using the same old ships, which is honestly fine by me.
That being said, these visuals do make me somewhat hopeful. Why? Well, it looks very much like Abrams is leaning away from CGI. While it’s clearly being used, the ships still look like the gritty models used in the original trilogy, and it isn’t being used for stupid things…like the Storm Trooper armor, which is actually and thankfully a real costume.
I highly doubt that the story will stick to the mythological themes that made the original trilogy so great (and the mishandling of which is a large reason the prequels were so terrible and disappointing), but I’ve mentally readied myself for that, so I don’t think I’ll be too upset on that front. At the very least, it does appear that Abrams is aiming to capture the feel of world from the original films, and I think that’s promising.