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Pan: a movie review

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.

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Pan movie poster, with Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Garrett Hedlund as Hook, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily and Levi Miller as Peter Pan (Credit: Dune Entertainment)

{source}<iframe style=”float: left; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #c0c0c0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”400″ height=”225″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/Y1wRv8vTpxo?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>{/source}Pan is a new take on Peter Pan’s origin story. The film opens with a young mother (Amanda Seyfried) leaping over gates and rushing through the night to leave her infant child at the front door of an orphanage in London. As she kisses the boy goodbye and tells him that he is loved, she tucks a small note into his bassinet, in which she promises that they will one day be reunited. That note and the pan flute at the end of a small necklace are the only traces Peter (Levi Miller) has of his mother when the action picks up eleven years later.

At this point we learn of the recent disappearance of several children. England is in the midst of World War II and the assumption is that the children were taken out of the city for their own safety. That assumption is proven wrong when we learn that the mistresses in charge of the orphanage have been selling the children to pirates, led by Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), from Neverland who take the boys at night in order to mine for Pixium. Pixium is a calcified form of pixie dust that grants Blackbeard immortality so long as he has a steady supply of it.

While in the mines, Peter learns that he can fly when he is forced to walk the plank of Blackbeard’s barge as it is suspended over a deep chasm. This ability, as well as the pan flute necklace he still wears, reveal him to be the child spoken of in a native prophecy. The prophecy claims that he will lead the natives to victory in their war against Blackbeard, killing the pirate leader in the process. As this is clearly an undesirable outcome for Jackman’s character, he locks Peter away in a cell. Peter will go on to escape with the help of James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and meet up with the natives who hope he will lead them in their struggle against the pirates.

For his part, Peter doubts that he is capable of being the savior the natives so earnestly desire and cares far more about finding his mother who is said to be waiting for him somewhere on the island. Much of the movie is focused on whether or not Peter will be able to live up to the prophetic expectations placed on him by the other characters in the film. He knows who he is supposed to be but is unsure of the degree to which he is capable of being that person (or even if he wants to be that person). In that respect, he is someone with whom many of us find it easy to identify.

You see, we face a similar problem in our walk with Christ. We know the kind of Christians that we are supposed to be but doubt our ability to live like the new creations we are (Romans 7:19). Moreover, there are many times where we are unsure just how much we even want to live that kind of life. Giving up the last vestiges of our old lives of sin can be a difficult process, often lacking the kind of immediate gratification that we so often prefer.

The key for us, as it was for Peter in the movie, is in making peace with who we truly are. If you have placed your faith in Christ, you are an adopted son or daughter of a holy and perfect God. You have been made righteous by your association with Christ and, when God looks at you, he doesn’t see the mistakes of your past but rather the perfection of his son.

Never again will you face a situation in which you are consigned to sin. Never again will you be incapable of living the kind of life to which you are called. The only question left for you to answer is whether or not you will choose to embrace that new life in Christ or hang on to the one that you are called to leave behind. Scripture is clear that you can’t do both, and you will not know true peace until you decide. So which will you choose today?