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Hook (1991)

Cover of "Hook"

Hook is just one of those movies that seems to be universally loved.  At least, for those of us young enough not to question Mork as the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up it is.  This is just one of those movies that when it comes on TBS, you stop and watch, and for good reason too.

First, J.V. Hart just came up with an ingenious screenplay.  Taking the Peter Pan story and asking the big “what if” question of Peter’s adulthood was good, but it’s the depth of thought he put into that makes it great.   By making The Pan an emotionally constipated, imagination-free grown-up, Hart gets to play with the every character’s disappointment in Peter’s stuffy outlook on life.  Wendy, Moira, Tink, and even Captain Hook are emotionally hurt by Pan’s transformation into what would have been his worst nightmare.  It’s a wonderful angle because you are rooting to get Peter back, not just to fight Hook, (which is reason enough) but because everyone in the movie needs him to be more like the boy he was.  He doesn’t need to fly just to get his kids out of that net, but for himself and all of Never Land (including of course, the Never Bugs)!

Another thing you just love about this movie is its ability to transcend its really bizarre casting.  Now, honestly, who freaked out when they realized Dustin Hoffman played Hook?  I know I did.  I remember I was thirteen in middle school and it blew my mind.  This was probably one of the strangest assemblages of actors ever and for an even stranger movie.   Robin Williams as Peter Pan?  Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell?   What?!  But because we were children when Hook came out, we didn’t bat an eyelash.  Hell yes, Adrian Cronauer is having a food fight with twelve year olds!  And the Pretty Woman has straight up fairy wings!  There is nothing wrong with that to me.  Our youth shielded us from the truly weird that this movie was, and thank God for that.

Finally, I just love how fully realized the world of Hook is.  Being filmed pre-massive computer generated effects, the sets and costumes of this movie are beautiful.  Want mermaids?  Strap some plastic on an actress and throw her in a tank, thank you.  Build all that Lost Boy armor that looks like it was made out of bamboo, coconuts, and spider webs.  Do that.  Make that.  Make your audience want to live in that tree house apartment complex or walk along that pirate pier.  It’s one of fantasy film’s most imaginative sets and it’s still impressive today because it created a complete world that you still want to get lost in.

Well, that’s my take on Hook.  Yes, it’s a little strange, but it’s also freaking awesome.  Over twenty years later (yeah), I still say, “Bangarang, Peter”!

  • For my inner child, for Hook I have to say “The Force is strong with this one”


Don’t know what The Force has to do with Hook? Head over to RAMARS!! to get wise!


4 responses

  1. The only one that still doesn’t work for me is Julia Roberts. She’s too modern, too “adult,” for the childishly petulant Tink. Even as a kid, I didn’t care for her portrayal, and preferred Disney’s. But the rest of the movie? Still flawed, but still magical. I like your comment that even Hook is hurt by Peter’s transformation into a stuffy adult lawyer. Funny to think about, but true! After all, what Hook really wants is a “worthy opponent.” What would he do with himself if he actually killed Peter?

    The sets are also great fun; I only wish they could have shown us more of Neverland! We really only see a few places: the tree house complex, the pirate docks, the ship. The majestic wide shots show us snow-capped mountains and towering waterfalls and palm-treed sandy beaches, but those sadly we never visit. Still, the sets are vast and packed with fun detail. It was totally a place I wanted to live as a kid—heck, I still want to live there!

    Have you seen the 2003 version of Peter Pan? What’d you think of it?

    14/04/2012 at 02:09

    • aquisha

      I can totally see where you’re coming from about Julia Roberts. There is always a strange disconnect between her and Tinker Bell, but as we’ve both said, it’s just one of those funny quirks about this movie that you recognize but decide to pass over.

      I have seen the 2003 Peter Pan and I absolutely adore it! You and I seem to like it for many of the same reasons, too. At some point, I’ll get to writing a review of that one myself, but until then, I have to say one of my favorite parts about it is how well it deals with Wendy’s growing up. Like you said, it keeps the innocence of her feelings without taking away their validity. And, unlike other Peter Pan stories, we get to see that Peter does in fact struggle with those feelings as well. In short, it’s beautifully done.

      16/04/2012 at 19:08

      • Aye, it is! And true about Hook — even Robin Williams is a highly questionable choice as Peter Pan, even an older Peter Pan, but within the context of the movie he’s quite good. It’s probably my favorite role of his, outside of the Genie. And definitely my favorite role of Dustin Hoffman’s! (Though I also really liked him in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.)

        16/04/2012 at 20:37

  2. Pingback: Thanksblogging « The Warden's Walk

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