Monday, June 27, 2016

Movie Review: "Hook" (1991)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Year: 1991
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2 hours, 22 minutes

After his children are kidnapped by Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), Peter Banning (Robin Williams) is taken to Neverland by a fairy named Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts). Peter is informed that he is actually Peter Pan, and now he must remember all of the skills that he has forgotten in order to combat Hook and rescue his kids.

The 30%  Rotten Tomatoes rating for this movie is sheer and utter blasphemy.

Steven Spielberg's "Hook" is a fantasy adventure film that re-imagines the "Peter Pan" story. This is really more of a sequel that tells the story of what happened to Peter Pan after the events of J.M. Barrie's famous play. In the world of "Hook," the Barrie plays and books exist, they just approach it from a different angle. According to this film, these were true stories, and J.M. Barrie was actually Wendy's neighbor and simply recorded her experiences to put in his works. Peter Pan, now all grown up, has kids of his own and goes by the name Peter Banning, played by the incomparable Robin Williams. Peter is an extremely busy business attorney who often ignores his family because he has so much going on at once. While visiting England to honor Wendy, played by Maggie Smith, Captain Hook, played by Dustin Hoffman, kidnaps Peter's kids and takes them to Neverland. Tinkerbell, played by Julia Roberts, brings the now grown-up Peter back to Neverland and teaches him to "Be the Pan" so he can fight Hook and get his children back.

Steven Spielberg delivers a very playful, often extremely silly film in "Hook," one that is undoubtedly made for children rather than adults. It is exceedingly busy and colorful with solid visuals that are expertly directed by Spielberg. We have a hunch that if you didn't grow up with this movie, you might not appreciate it to its full potential like we do. The movie has a very 90's feel to it, especially the camp of the Lost Boys, which we'd imagine would have been the dream for some adolescent children way back when. Spielberg has put his Lost Boys in a place where they are free to ride skateboards on half pipes and shoot basketball while they chase down Peter, mixing modern and commonplace occurrences with the vintage sea attire and mannerisms of the pirates. Some viewers might find scenes like this, as well as dialogue full of nonsensical catch phrases like "bangerang" a little too goofy, especially when viewed through a modern lens. Like we said, since we grew up with this film coursing through our veins and have basically turned into childlike adults, we don't mind it at all.

We really appreciate the comedic sensibility "Hook" offers to go along with its fun, heartfelt adventure. We wholeheartedly enjoy this movie and think it is great. Dustin Hoffman does an excellent job as Hook, such a great job, in fact, that he is almost unrecognizable, and we say this knowing I didn't even realize it was him until about 10 years ago. Hook and Smee, played perfectly by Bob Hoskins, have a great dynamic with each other and we find them quite humorous when they are together. Hoffman as Hook often outshines Hoskins as Smee, but we think he gives a fantastic performance as well. Of course, the real star of the show is the late, great Robin Williams as Peter Banning/Pan. In the beginning, he is the distracted, serious, and meek Peter Banning, but slowly but surely grows into the confident, outrageous, childlike Pan. Watching his performance here for the first time since his passing brought me to tears. We just cannot believe such a wonderful actor has come and gone. At least his performance will live on forever. There is also a very hard-to-spot cameo from Glenn Close, which can be extremely surprising when you finally realize who she plays.

We always have a good time watching "Hook," though we may be a little biased considering we already knew we loved it going into it. We know it appeals to us on a nostalgic level, but there's no way this film should be as low as it is on any review site. The most shocking thing about this movie is that it's now 25 years old. Just like Peter Pan, how time flies.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 30%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "Inside Out"

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