When Robin Williams died, it felt like he took my childhood away. He’s played a few of the most loved characters in cinematic history such as Genie in Aladdin, Alan Parrish in Jumanji, and Theodore Roosevelt in Nightmare of the Museum. However, there is one character he played in one particular movie that I really just wanted to forget.
That character was Peter Pan from the movie Hook – directed by Steven Spielberg, who perfectly stands between the line of critically-acclaimed and commercial movies. Hook, however, falls on the latter.
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The Movie Review
Neverland is the island where all the lost boys, mermaids, and pirates live, and it’s also the place where nobody grows up. But Peter Pan did – whose name is now Peter Banning, a middle-aged workaholic who barely spends time with his wife Moira, and their two kids.
Much to his dismay, they travel to England to visit Moira’s grandmother Wendy Darling, to honor her charitable work. But one night their children get kidnapped by the evil Captain Hook! With the help of Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys, Peter must remember his past in order to save his children and fight Captain Hook once again.
Director Steven Spielberg teamed up with writers James Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo to create a sequel to the popular J.M. Barrie novel. The film received mixed reviews and a large advertising campaign that featured video games and other tie-ins when it was released. And although the film grossed $300 million, it was nevertheless deemed a flop and even Spielberg admitted to not being happy with the film.
Despite that, it was nominated for a bunch of Academy Awards including Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Makeup, and Best Original Song.
When you think about the concept of Hook, it’s no doubt interesting. It breaks the one important premise of Peter Pan as a character and it’s the fact that he never grows up. While it’s completely uncharacteristic of itself, there’s still a feeling of relief you get once you find that the old characters are still there. Of course, there’s Peter Pan, and Wendy (who unfortunately is too old for him), the Lost Boys, Captain Hook, and Tinker Bell.
At the most, this is still a Peter Pan story. It also has its fair share of spectacle and fantasy especially during the moment Peter finally relearns how to fly, and it was made more magical with Dean Cundey’s cinematography and John Williams’ score. But what really made this film memorable was its performances.
Dustin Hoffman as the villainous Captain Hook is funny and lovable, while Robin Williams always manages to bring a fun childlike twist on his performances. On the other side, Bob Hoskins, who plays Smee, gives the best performance here.
That being said, the ideas in Hook are far more interesting than the film itself, despite having some unforgettable moments. The script is unsure whether it is a family movie aimed towards children or a message for adults, with weird sexual jokes scattered throughout.
What’s worse is that the story spends too much time setting up its concept with overly dull and cliché scenes of a burnt-out adult tired of his daily routine, and the entire movie is basically a sentimental trip to the past without offering much to the plot.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Steven Spielberg’s Hook is a perfect representation of its own protagonist, it’s a movie that forgets itself and loses its own magic. While it isn’t a terrible film, I’ve seen better movies about escapism and rediscovering childhood from the director. It also doesn’t help that we already know how the movie ends: Peter Banning was always going to eventually go back to Neverland and realize he was Peter Pan, and that everyone else around him was right.
This isn’t a reality-bending experience as the film’s premise suggests, and that alone is the biggest reason I wouldn’t recommend it.