Review of 'Hook'

hook.jpg An interesting take on the story of Peter Pan sees a grown-up Peter (Robin Williams) having forgotten his time in Neverland and now a high profile executive who has little time for his family. It is Christmas and the family take a trip to visit Wendy (Maggie Smith) in London to attend a ceremony at Great Ormand Street Children's hospital where she is being honoured for her work with children (including Peter who she taught to read). A much older Wendy is dismayed at what Peter has become (“Peter you have become a pirate!”). Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps Peter's children but Peter denies what has happened until he is attacked by an aggressive Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts) who bundles Peter up into a carpet and dumps him in the middle of Neverland. Returning the island of Lost Boys Peter must find a way to remember who he was to rescue his children and save his family from himself…

When released in 1991 Hook caused quite a stir as it put a modern edge on the familiar and much-loved Peter Pan story, introducing contemporary problems and sensibilities into the classic tale. Williams is brilliant as the older Peter who has lost his way bringing his trademark exuberance to the role when finally returning to his childhood roots while Hoffman is a deliciously silly and over the top Captain Hook stumbling his way around trying to convince Peter's child Jack (Charlie Korsmo) to forget his uncaring father. It is twists like this that racket up the tension and engage us with the story which could just have easily been a simple story of rescue and redemption.

The sets are incredible and elaborate with Spielberg only seldom falling back on digital or photographic effects - The sheer physicality lends a veracity the film that is hard to duplicate digitally. Spielberg's fun and creative cinematography is accompanied by a tremendous score by John Williams that lifts the film to tremendous heights. The dialog is sharp and witty but at the same time losing none of the humanity that makes this film so much more than it might have been. This is a star-studded affair not only in the principle cast but also with cameos by Bob Hoskins as “Smee” (Hook's “right hand” man) and an extremely understated Phil Collins as Inspector “Good” – These are enthusiastic and perfectly pitched performances that show a real love for the material.

A fun and touching film from the master of big screen family entertainment. Inspired writing, tremendous sets, and a big-name cast put together into an amazing whole.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2019-08-11

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Studio: Amblin Entertrainment

Year: 1991

Length: 142 minutes

Genre: Fantasy

Other reviewed films by Steven Spielberg: