Cinematic Adventures: Hook

I was going to talk about the Tokyo Game Show today, but today is a very special holiday and I thought it would be bett-arr to get in the spirit. Septemb-arr the 19th ev-arry year marks International Talk Like a Pirate Day (as I can assume some of you may have guessed by the “arr”), so we’re going to stumble upon a chest of nostalgia today.

Peter Pan is a very fun property (and is one that I based my central philosophy of life on), but beyond the original stories, there isn’t that much in the series that is particularly good besides the original stories by J.M. Barrie and a surprisingly large amount of mediocre adaptations of said original stories. This spotty track record would lead you to assume that there would be even less watchable sequels based off of the material (you would be right), but there is definitely one good sequel, and it is actually the only sequel that I view as being worthy of that status, and that is Steven Spielberg’s Hook.

Hook follows a now adult Peter Pan (now named Peter Banning) (Robin Williams) who has completely forgotten about Neverland and works so hard that he neglects his family, all of this changes when he returns to England with his family for the dedication of a new wing of a hospital being named after Granny Wendy (Maggie Smith) and Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) and Mr. Smee (Bob Hoskins) kidnaps his children in order to get revenge on Pan. The problem is that Peter has completely forgotten about Neverland and being Peter Pan, this all changes when Tinker Bell (Julia Roberts) takes him back and gets the Lost Boys, now led by Rufio (Dante Basco, you may also recognize his voice as being Zuko from Avatar: the Last Airbender) to teach him how to be Pan again in order to end the battle with Hook and save his children.

The story can be very sappy at times (which can easily be said about almost every Steven Spielberg after he had kids and he started making films he can watch with his family), but it is a very fun story that manages to stay true to the original stories while otherwise being completely new.

Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman really bring their A-games here. Williams is genuinely hilarious at times and does a very good job of being a serious dad and kind of a dick. I actually did not realize that Hook was played by Dustin Hoffman for the longest time as he isn’t playing any semblance of a role he has played before. He is actually rather imposing and menacing, which is rather amazing considering how short Hoffman is normally. What makes Hoffman’s acting so great in this film is his mouth movements, all of his smiles and grimaces are amplified to comical levels (I think part of the reason that this happens is because of the moustache). The real star of the show, though, is Bob Hoskins as Mr. Smee. In Hook, Smee is a very sarcastic character that will turn tail and run at the slightest notice. Hoskins brings this grizzled sliminess to the role that makes him very fun to watch. Who I do not like in the film is Julia Roberts, but that is probably more that I have never liked her than she is bad in the film.

The best thing in the film is the set design. Everything is obscenely detailed and distinctive, the architecture of the Pirate village and ship is much more “normal” (and I use that term as loosely as possible to refer to a place where there are railings that have busts of Captain Hook built into the support rails) as opposed to the heavily natural and cobbled together Lost Boy treehouse. This is the kind of film where every time you watch the film, you see new things. Also, I want the little island in the Captain’s Quarters along with his bed that lowers from the ceiling. Actually, scratch that, I want his entire quarters. The costumes are just as impressive to look at as the scenery is. I love that the Lost Boys look like they got all of their clothes from a Goodwill in the middle of the jungle. The pirates look like, well, pirates. No surprise there, but there is a very large amount of variety in the materials and colours found in their costumes and no pirate is exactly the same as any other one. It’s actually rather impressive considering the large number of pirates that populate Hook’s crew.

John Williams did the score for the film and the score was surprisingly low key compared to his other well known pieces. That’s not to say that there aren’t bombastic themes in the film, but they are fewer and farther between.

Hook is not the best movie out there, but it’s a very entertaining one. It can be sappy and overly silly (I’m looking right at you Final Battle Scene) and has some very mediocre sword choreography, but the performances by Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, and Bob Hoskins along with the amusing story and amazing costumes and sets make Hook a highly watchable (and re-watchable) film.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I pretty much agree! It’s a fun movie with some great elements, but also fails to reach greatness as a whole. Williams, Hoffman, and Hoskins are all splendid, but Julia Roberts was horribly miscast. I don’t think they should have made Tinkerbell talk at all — the 2003 version did her much better. The Lost Boys, while very much dated to the early ’90s, are nonetheless a lot of fun. The silliness is too much at times, but also kind of fun if you just roll with it. All in all, good fun fantasy film.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Chris on 29/02/2012 at 1:13 pm

    Great adventure..

    Reply

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