Hook is an American epic family-fantasy film directed by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, Charlies Korsmo, Amber Scott, and Dante Basco. Hook acts like a sequel to the classic Peter Pan story, focusing on a grown up Pan who has forgotten his childhood and after his children are kidnapped by Captain Hook, must journey back to Neverland. (Running Time: 144 minutes)(Rated PG)
Ah, a childhood classic on my part…
Hook is a unique portrayal of showing an adult Peter Pan–named Peter Banning–who is a lawyer and a distant father. But when he has to travel to London to visit with Wendy, his life is turned upside down when his two children are kidnapped by Captain Hook. Suddenly he is propelled into the land of Neverland and must become his old Peter Pan self he has forgotten long ago. With that premise, I think you could suck just about anybody into watching this family epic.
I guess I better go into some of the background of this instant classic.
Steven Speilberg had been trying to develop a sequel to the animated Peter Pan (1953) with Walt Disney Studios and Paramount Pictures, hearing that the novelist J. M. Barrie had strongly considered writing a story about an old Peter Pan but never got around to writing the book. Spielberg left the project a year later, directing films that he had been desiring to make his entire career like E.T. James V. Hart developed a script with Tristar Pictures before approaching Steven Spielberg in 1889 when he eventually came on board. Hook was entirely shot on sound stages in Culver City, California; a big step for a “medium-budget” Spielberg-family film.
One of the things I appreciate about this movie is the lead actors: Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman. Robin is one of my favorite actors, a lot to do with the fact that he is so versatile and you can see the emotions and thoughts through his eyes. He can achieve very powerful performances mixed with some occasional hysterical humor. Dustin Hoffman is a fantastic actor, and quite underrated. He received praise for his roles in the 70s and 80s, but his fame began to die off by the time this film was made. I personally would not have been sore if he had been nominated–and won–Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for this quirky, fun role as the evil Captain Hook.
An important trait of Steven Spielberg’s style is his very clever, childlike imagination. He is able to conjure these very–fun ideas and inventions and story twists that any kid would love. Notice in a lot of Spielberg films a lead or supporting role will be a child. Spielberg is known for working incredibly well with child actors.
Though originally given mixed reviews from critics, the film became a box office hit, grossing over $300 million on a reasonably-sized budget of $70. Its success spawned video games, toys, and other merchandise that sold well. It was nominated for five Academy Awards: Art Direction, Costume Design, Visual Effects, Makeup, and Original Song written by John Williams and Leslie Bricusse.
All in all, I think Hook deserve a low-ish 5 out of 7 stars. Every time I re-watch this, I relieve those same emotions of wonder and amazement I had when I first experienced Hook.
What it would have been like to have been a lost boy and never grow up…