The new trailer for Joe Wright’s Pan proves that the director hasn’t lost the penchant for visual majesty that he exhibited in movies like Atonement and Anna Karenina. Wright’s version of Neverland boats several intricate sets that appear to be digitally extended to the horizon so that every locale seems as endless as a universe. There are also strange touches to this bizzaro reality, like giant balls of water floating in the atmosphere and a version of Saturn small enough for Peter to bat away like a tennis ball. These details all help create the feeling of a world just barely held together by imagination—and they might make audiences wish that the story was anywhere near as inventive.
Early in the trailer, we meet Peter Pan (Levi Miller), an orphan at the center of a prophecy suggesting he will return to Neverland to defeat the evil pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Meanwhile, Garrett Hedlund plays the young, dashing James T. Hook, who looks after the burgeoning hero. With his booming voice and charming overconfidence, Hedlund certainly appears more comfortable in the role than the last guy to play the character. Then there’s Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, who looks more like a white girl at Coachella than an Indian princess. But at least she’s committed to a mystical bug-eyed stare.
Then, of course, there’s the requirement that Peter be able to fly, though why the characters place such a premium on this when their pirate ships could outmaneuver an X-wing isn’t really clear. Peter is shown standing on the edge of a precipice and saying, “I believe,” but the trailer cuts to the title card before we see what he can really do. That cliffhanger comes at just the right time, since the doldrums of the Peter Pan legend prove a bit exhausting even over the course of a two-minute trailer. Wright would be wise to turn his camera away from the well-trodden mythos and toward those beguiling horizons as often as he can.