In Edwardian England, three children Wendy, Michael and John Darling receive a visit from Peter Pan, a boy who refuses to grow up. He takes them to the magical realm of Neverland, where an ongoing war with the evil pirate captain Hook is taking place.
Discount Steven Spielberg's much-maligned Hook and this is the first official live-action adaptation of J. M. Barrie's children's classic since the silent days. However, while kids will love it, for the rest of us the wait for a truly great Pan goes on.
There are lovely touches (the early transcendent flight to Neverland) and noble attempts to weave weighty themes (fear of ageing) into a child-friendly framework of swordfights, comedic slapstick sequences and mostly dazzling storybook visuals. However, tonally the film is never more than the sum of its parts, while Sumpter, although physically perfect, just isn't charismatic enough as Peter.
The last 30 minutes are wonderful, though, culminating in a cracking and imaginative aerial duel between Pan and Isaacs' excellent Hook. The genuinely emotional send-off soars to magical heights that the first two largely mundane acts fail to reach.
It won't give Harry Potter a run for his money, but it beats the hell out of a Cannon & Ball panto in Skegness.