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036: Hook

Maximilian Rivera November 29, 2016
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By Max Rivera | @MaxRiveraFilm

Premise: After Captain Hook kidnaps adult Peter Pan’s children, Peter must return to Neverland and reclaim his youthful spirit in order to challenge his old enemy.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 30%

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What does Peter Pan do once he gets tired of flying through the skies of Neverland whilst fighting pirates every day? He settles down with a cute English girl, fathers a few kids, and dedicates his life to mergers and acquisitions. At least if he’s the Peter in Hook (1991), he does.

As a beloved family film, Hook explores what happens AFTER Peter grows up, asking what it means to be a father and how you can rediscover your lost inner child. Of course, most of us would probably swap with Peter stay in this magical world, but that’s mostly because it has mermaids.

Hook stars Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, and Dame Maggie Smith. This film had the unique honor of being an old favorite of both of ours. However, we did look at the picture without our rose-tinted glasses, and discuss what works and what falls short.

When you get right down to it, Hook is a creative, family film that puts the best of Williams on display front and center as Peter Banning (Pan’s adopted last name). Williams shines throughout, but hokey graphics and an overly simplistic plot keeps Hook as a fun, yet shallow, kid-friendly movie, rather than cinematic greatness.

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Unfortunately, most of this film has aged — the cell phones, the jokes, the camcorders, the fashion — they all stand out as very nineties. However, it also adds charm and timelessness in some moments. Skateboarding Lost Boys fighting classic pirates with Little Rascals-esque antics makes for scrappy, good fun.

Yet when you drop the nostalgia, Hook leaves you wondering how much more could have been done with the subject matter. Williams is warm, inspiring, and endlessly fun as Peter, but his character could use more depth, as could his family, his relationship with the Lost Boys, and all of Neverland.

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It’s worth mentioning that Dustin Hoffman is the quintessential villain, and honestly anytime he’s on screen, the film is better. Same for Bob Hoskins as Smee. 

There are plenty of fun cameos, and there are some key moments (the food fight, sword fights, emotional beats) that hit home. But if your nostalgia doesn’t kick in, you’ll probably find yourself on your own cell phone, just like Peter Banning.

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However, there are worse Peter Pan films out there — like Pan (2015), which has a magical trailer, but somehow manages to be the worst movie we’ve seen since Master of Disguise. We actually ended up fast-forwarding through the second half to see if there is a Peter-Hook falling out and a hand-losing scene, but found ourselves disappointed as there was neither! 

Our final assessment? After all the negatives we can find, we still both just love Hook. It’s not perfect, but it takes us to our own internal Neverland, where we can be kids again. Oh, and we want more Rufio!

Max is a marketing copywriter by day, filmmaker and screenwriter by night. He resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves his dogs, watching movies, building LEGO sets, and eating food. Lots of food.You can find Max at his personal website and twitter.

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