YOU MIGHT HAVE already heard about Pan from the criticism of the casting of Rooney Mara, a very white woman, in the role of Indian princess Tiger Lily. So, that's one issue. There are more.
The latest unasked-for spin on a classic, Pan attempts to tell the story of Peter's life before the story we all know. It starts with baby Peter getting ditched at a London orphanage by his mom; 12 years later, during the Blitz, he and several other young orphans are stolen in the night by some scary-as-fuck pirates on bungee cords hanging off a floating ship. That Peter never stops and says, "WAIT. WHAT?" at the moment his sad, boring life becomes magical and terrifying is the first of many moments that made me go, "WAIT. WHAT?"
Peter and the other innocent little boys are promptly forced into slavery by the pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) in Neverland, a place of danger and desperation nothing like the one we're used to. (All the slaves sing Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," because why not piss on another thing you cherished?) Oh, and did I mention this is a children's film? Keep that in mind when Peter starts fighting back, murdering dozens of people while sociopathically crowing in victory. It's messed up, you guys.
Then Peter and another escapee, James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), meet up with Tiger Lily, who as I mentioned, is played by a very white woman. The filmmakers reimagined her village not as a Native American one, but more of an Anthropologie fever dream of tapestries, chalk, and yarn. It's the Ewoks' village as styled by a Free People catalog on acid. In their big party scene, all races and traditional garb seem represented, but the mishmash of non-specific "tribal" feels as culturally appropriate as any moment a white girl dons a headdress on Instagram—i.e., fucking never, people, seriously.
The cool parts of Pan are way too scary for little kids, the kid-friendly parts are boring, and it's depressing that we as a society are not better than this right now.