The writing is on the wall: the $150 million “Pan” is gearing up to be colossal flop at the box office this weekend, with tracking predicting a paltry $21 million opening. Certainly, the reviews have been largely scathing, including our own, but I have a bit of a softer take on the movie. While I can’t argue that “Pan” doesn’t come together at all, and has some serious tonal issues, Joe Wright‘s vision is pretty bold for the material, and there are some fascinating ideas in the movie, and even some winning sequences. It may not be a good movie, but it’s never dull or insulting, and it’s definitely a more engaging and fascinating watch than something like The Wachowskis‘ “Jupiter Ascending” (Warner Bros.‘ other big flop this year).
However, one of the most consistent points of criticism across almost every review I’ve seen has been Wright’s seemingly bonkers decision to have the residents of Neverland sing Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and The Ramones‘ “Blitzkrieg Bop.” It might seem like a weird, anachronistic decision (though, there is some dialogue before the songs appear which might explain how Hugh Jackman‘s Blackbeard, who lords over Neverland, came to learn these tunes) but it worked for me. It fits with Wright’s movie where pixie dust aka pixum is essentially a drug like cocaine, and Garrett Hedlund does his best Indiana Jones impression as a young James Hook. So some grunge and punk classics tossed into the mix should hardly be a dealbreaker.
Below, you can check out both songs from the soundtrack, along with John Powell‘s full score. “Pan” opens on Friday, and if you’re curious don’t be afraid, there is some fun to be found in the picture.