So I always feel obligated to preface posts with these kind of warnings. Hook is a movie from my childhood. I loved it and still do. Part of that is because it is a good movie and part of it is because Robin Williams is in it, and I love him. He’s the comic that got me into comedy, because he was in these kinds of movies. That and I have a wonderful dad who introduced me to stand-up. I also have a soft spot for this film because it was directed by Spielberg, who I’ve professed my undying love for many a time. So, you’ve been forewarned about how this review is most likely going to go. Also know that in the there are sort of spoilers below. Some people get really up tight about what you reveal. Personally it’s not like I’m telling you Dumbledore dies (sorry for anyone who isn’t aware of that.)
Hook is not really an adaptation of the Peter Pan stories. It’s basically a “what happens of the stories?” The movie starts out by introducing a grown up Peter Pan, now Peter Banning. He’s married to Moira whose the granddaughter of some chick named Wendy Darling. The coincidence’s to the J.M. Barrie story are noted and addressed by the characters. They joke that Granny Wendy is the real Wendy. The “truth” however is that Mr. Barrie knew the Darling children and simply recorded their wonderful tales. We learn that Peter is suffering through the harsh realities of growing up and having a family. He’s actually a lot like Mr. Darling in my mind. Anyways his two children (yes he has children) are kidnapped by Hook (or his cronies – this is never really explained). A note is left telling Peter to return to get his children. the catch is that Peter has no recollection of anything before he was 12, which means Neverland is just a story to him. For whatever reason though Wendy can still remember it all as does Tootles (one of the Lost Boys now old and in England). Anyways Tinkerbell (or Stinkerbell as I prefer) appears and helps Pan to Neverland. Stuff ensues as Peter has to learn to become the boy wonder he used to be to save his children from Hook. A happy ending of course.
Again, my knowledge of Peter Pan is a bit iffy. Haven’t read it in a while, but I’m fairly certain a lot of liberties were taken with what they do bring up in here. I’m fine with that. I learned to not get my panties in a bunch over the translation from book to film. The Bourne series taught me that. What they did works to me.
I guess the casting needs addressed since it is quite an impressive cast. Dustin Hoffman plays Hook. If I had never seen this movie till now I would’ve wondered why Dustin Hoffman would be cast as Hook. I just don’t see it and even having seen the film multiple times, I still don’t see it. It just doesn’t seem like him, yet he does a brilliant job. It’s actually really hard for me to even think of Hook as Hoffman when watching it. Robin Williams plays Peter Pan (the adult version). I’m sort of torn on this. I love Robin. I think he’s a great actor and I think he did a good job in the movie. I can even see why he was cast. Robin Williams defiantly has that sort of man-child vibe to an extent (minus the excess body hair). Unfortunately I think Spielberg kept him on to tight of a leash. Part of what makes Williams great is his ability to just go out and do some insane shit and I feel like you don’t see that here and that really hurts the role. That and he does look a bit odd in tights. Julia Roberts is another one who seems to get some flack for her portrayal of Tinkerbell. I’ve never been able to see that. I have to admit, I had a crush on Roberts since at some point I saw this at that lovely age when hormones begin a brewing. That, unneeded fact aside, she was still good. Sure, she might not have been great, but considering what the role was I didn’t think it was bad. I mean, most of the time she would have been in a studio alone. When she “grows up/gets big” she does a great job.
You also have Bob Hoskins appear as an amazing Smee and I thought he was great. I still say “what about Smee!” sometimes. Maggie Smith is naturally great. Great lady who is always amazing and she does a nice job as Wendy. It would’ve been cool if she had more screen time. Charlie Korsmo plays Jack, one of Peter’s children and I thought he was good. His onscreen sister, Maggie, played by Amber Scott, was better. That may be partially because she was pretty darn cute. Unfortunately she is no longer acting (at least according to IMDB). Rufio, Rufio, Rufio! Everyone remembers Rufio. I think it’s the hair. Dante Basco will forever be remember as that kid. His acting wasn’t bad, but he was fortunate to have a character that for whatever reason just stood out and was fascinating. I would’ve liked to have seen a movie about Rufio and the Lost Boys. It can still happen since Basco looks pretty young and still plays teens sometimes.
So, what’s left? Visuals? Amazing. I mean it is Spielberg. I think he did a fantastic job with his version of Neverland.
The music though. Oh, I how I love the music. I’m listening to it right now and probably will keep listening to it for a while. Why is it amazing? Guess why? Who loves working with Spielberg? That’s right John Williams. If there’s a film composer people know it’s probably him, partly because of is work with Speilberg. He composes some great pieces, but I think his forte is creating themes. He does a fantastic job of finding the sound that fits the movie and sticks with you. A theme that you can listen to over and over and just the music brings the images from the film to mind.
The movie has flaws. It’s not perfect, but I chose to stay blissfully unaware of them. Nostalgia is allowing me to treasure this movie and I’m fine with it. That and even if I try to analyze it, I still don’t think it’s a crap film. Not Spielberg best, bust hey, even when the man isn’t scoring a huge hit it’s still better than a lot fo movies.
I’m resisting the urge to watch this movie again right now, but I advise anyone who hasn’t seen it to check it out. If you have and hated it, trying giving it another shot. Open your mind up a bit and try to enjoy it.