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Hook (1991)

April. 10,1991
| Adventure Fantasy Comedy Family

The boy who wasn't supposed grow up—Peter Pan—does just that, becoming a soulless corporate lawyer whose workaholism could cost him his wife and kids. During his trip to see Granny Wendy in London, the vengeful Capt. Hook kidnaps Peter's kids and forces Peter to return to Neverland.


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To me, this movie is perfection.


Good start, but then it gets ruined


Instead, you get a movie that's enjoyable enough, but leaves you feeling like it could have been much, much more.


This is a small, humorous movie in some ways, but it has a huge heart. What a nice experience.


RELEASED IN 1991 and directed by Steven Spielberg, "Hook" stars Robin Williams as a corporate American Lawyer who must go to the island of Neverland after his two kids are kidnapped in London by Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman). He has misadventures with the fairy Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts), pirates and a group of ragtag lost boys led by Rufio (Dante Basco); meanwhile hook tries to win the affections of his kids. Maggie Smith and Gwyneth Paltrow are on hand as older and younger versions of Wendy respectively.This is a family-oriented adventure/fantasy/comedy cut from the same cloth as "The Wizard of Oz" (1939), "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (1968), "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" (1971), "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (2004) and "Into the Woods" (2014); it's just not a musical like some of those flicks even though a song or two are featured. Depending on your tastes, "Hook" is no better or worse than any of these movies (although "The Wizard of Oz" is in a league of its own, of course).While I love serious swashbuckling, Peter Pan was always too kiddie/fantasy-based for my tastes. This is ironic since I have Peter Pan Syndrome, which Spielberg also admitted to; and my wife has The Wendy Dilemma (look 'em up). Fans of Peter Pan will favor this flick more than me.Nevertheless, it was made by scores of talented people and contains some genuinely amusing moments (I busted out laughing at least four times). Hoffman's titular character is iconic. And Roberts works surprisingly well as Tinkerbell, but they should've accented her beauty further. Speaking of which, the film needs more feminine sex appeal. Even the makers of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" knew enough to include a little bit.Both Spielberg and Williams liked the two bookend sequences, but have reservations about the long Neverland middle-piece, which is the bulk of the picture. Williams admitted he felt lost in Neverland, probably because he was thrust from one misadventure to another so briskly. But the pre-CGI sets are colorful and imaginative; it's a fun movie with a lot of energy. Peter Pan just ain't my thang.THE MOVIE RUNS 2 hour, 22 minutes (overlong). WRITERS: James V. Hart, Nick Castle and Malia Scotch Marmo wrote the script based on concepts from the works of J.M. Barrie, particular "Peter and Wendy" (1911). BOX OFFICE: The movie cost $70 million (not including marketing) and made $301 million worldwide with $120 million of that domestically. While it was the fourth highest-grossing movie worldwide in 1991, it was still considered a disappointment by producers, the greedy bastages.GRADE: B-/C+

Osmosis Iron

Every time I see this movie I feel like a kid again, it has this magical sense of wonder about it. It's adventurous, warm, magical and funny. Maybe it's cause I saw it first at a young age, but I have seen many movies at a young age, only a few still hold up like this. A Neverland that is a button press away!


I have seen interviews where Spielberg looks back on this film not so enthusiastically, feeling the Neverland sequences weren't his best. Yea, not exactly perfect, but I'd have to say "Bullsh*t" if he, or anybody else, says this movie sucks. It doesn't. The positives outweigh the negatives: The fantastical music score by John Williams will pull at your heartstrings, the premise of Peter Pan leaving Neverland and growing up is an interesting one, and I'd say Dustin Hoffman (who is totally unrecognizable) and Robin Williams are outstanding as Captain Hook and Peter Pan.This was a childhood favorite of mine, I grew up with it, and even when I'm about to turn 25 in the next couple months, I STILL LOVE this movie. And it has appeared that I am not alone in this, as I've seen people come up and say how much they love it. Right now I'm watching it after so long and I had shed tears during the "There you are Peter" scene, man does time fly.But still, I say this is one of Spielberg's most underrated films, and if you need a big reason to watch it, watch it for John Williams' music score, it will take you into the film on an emotional level. I need to watch this with my nephew in the future.

Christopher Reid

I fondly remember watching and loving Hook as a kid, maybe 10 years old. But re-watching it was a more vivid experience than I expected. I FELT things I hadn't felt since seeing it so long ago. We get excited at that age, we fill in the gaps. We believe flying is possible, why not? As adults, I think we sometimes become more cynical, much like Peter Banning in the movie. That was the irony: this movie is nostalgic for me, but the way Spielberg directs it, the movie itself is clearly about those feelings of nostalgia.Peter Banning (Robin Williams) has forgotten who he is. As he discovers himself, I was realising how much this movie captured my imagination as a kid. I can now relate to Peter, perhaps more than to his children. Spielberg uses swelling music and close-ups to suggest profound things, as if we should be familiar with something - it creates this feeling of deja vu. For example, when the crazy old man says a riddle ending with "got to save Maggie, got to save Jack, Hook is back..." We feel like we should know what this means. It draws you in. The same for when Peter gets back to Neverland and everyone has sudden moments of realization when they recognize him. The filming exaggerates those emotions, paralleling my own memories coming back as I watch.I find Dustin Hoffman very funny as Hook. He openly hates the pirates who surround him, but they remain oblivious, taking his insults as merely playful. He is facing a midlife crisis. A proud, successful pirate but with no great enemy to battle. Where's the fun in that? He enjoys the sport in a good fight, which is why he seeks his old nemesis, Peter.The music by John Williams is among his best which is no small feat. It captures the feelings of loss and sadness that surround Peter's mysterious and forgotten childhood, the pure adventure of flying, fighting and crowing and other things.The child performances are of a high standard. Both Maggie and Jack come across as real, with mixed emotions. The daughter is more pure, loving her parents, wanting to be saved, being full of hope and strongly disliking Hook. Jack is more conflicted, being somewhat let down by his father being too busy for him at times. He goes through several changes of heart, many of which are quite moving. Hook can't corrupt the girl, but he comes close with the boy.Hook is more about emotions than the specifics of what happens and why. It's about rediscovering yourself and that place between dreams and reality which Tinkerbell mentions. It's about jubilation, finding your happy thoughts, reconnecting with loved ones, reassessing one's life. There are many moments of humour which I don't want to spoil. There are plenty of aspects of the plot which are silly and may not hold up to scrutiny but it doesn't matter. Hook isn't for everyone, but kids of all ages may well love it if the story suits their taste.