In Hook, the trailer poses the question, "what if Peter Pan....grew up!" Well, Hollywood’s answer is that he’d be Robin Williams
In the past decade, Hollywood has revisited the legends of our culture and given them a modern twist, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and Hook (all three share the same screenwriter, Jim V. Hart, who paid great attention to detail in researching all three legends).
In Hook, the trailer poses the question, "what if Peter Pan....grew up!" Well, Hollywood’s answer is that he’d be Robin Williams! In Hook, Peter had no memory of his past. Steven Speilberg’s modern spin on the legend is a story of family, fatherhood and the importance of play! Peter has grown up to be the all-work-and-no-play absentee father of a young boy and girl, and has become a wealthy lawyer (specializing in mergers and acquisitions).
As "grandmother" Wendy (played by Maggie Smith) points out when he visits her in London, "Peter! You’ve become a *Pirate*!" This is in keeping with J.M. Barrie’s books, since in Never-never-land, all the all adults grow up to be pirates. Unfortunately, Peter has the bad habit of putting business (or is it play?) before family, and his neglect is on the verge of alienating both his children and his wife. The action kicks into high gear when Peter’s children are kidnapped, and a strange note is left behind, "Dear Peter, your presence is required at the request of your children, kindest personal regards, J.S. Hook, Captain!" Talk about irony! Wendy tries to explain to a modern, adult Peter who he is and that the stories are true, and fails. Then *Tinkerbelle* shows up (played with wonderful innocence and boundless energy by Julia Roberts) and when he denies her as "the firefly from hell," she *kidnaps* Peter to Never-neverland, and like it or not, the adventure has begun!
Speilberg’s Neverland is an explosion of color, animation, sound (another great sound track by John Williams), and light (with Speilberg’s trademark use of bright light) that ought to be listed as a supporting player in the credits! Tinkerbelle takes Peter first to Hook (Dustin Hoffman chews the scenery), but when its clear he’s not he Pan he was (he doesn’t know how to play anymore—he can’t even fly), Tinkerbelle promises Hook she’ll whip Peter into shape in three days for a good old-fashioned war! Peter then meets the 90’s crop of racially diverse Lost Boys with their skateboards, break dancing and rap songs to go along with the traditional sabres and ragged clothing, who don’t have a much higher opinion of him than Hook, but once again Tinkerbelle comes to the rescue and the training begins!
Meanwhile, Hook hatches a plan of his own to prepare for the coming war, by lavishing his attention on Peter’s children and winning their affection away from their father! Robin Williams keeps us entertained with lots of slapstick and sight gags as Peter learning to play again, while Dustin Hoffman is a wonderful mixture of affection and nastyness dealing with the children, at one point telling them "your parents were *happier* before you were born!" Peter’s first breakthrough comes when he learns to see neverfood, for in neverland you need your *imagination* in order to survive (message here?)!
Hook’s breakthrough comes with Peter’s son Jack, getting him to vent his anger against his father and helping Jack to be the baseball star he always wanted to be (playing for the *Pirates,* of course)! But both Peter and Jack fall under the spell of Neverland as they get caught up in the games...Jack’s sister Maggie warns him, "Neverland makes you *forget* home...never forget, Jack, *never* forget!" Peter learns to fly again when he finds his happy thought—his *children*! Tinkerbelle helps Peter break Neverland’s spell of forgetting, and the war is *on*! Its sheer joy when the Lost Boys and the Pirates go to war, and as much fun for us as it is a shock for Jack and Maggie to see their dad in action as the one and only—Peter Pan!
The DVD is remastered Dolby 5.1 (or 2.0 for the less fortunate) with Anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1 and a few special features, such as production notes, cast/crew info, trailers and scene selection. Over all, if you’re looking for a good fantasy movie, especially one that’s fun for the whole family, Hook is a *great* adventure!Review by Ed Bishop, in association with, hometheaterinfo.com
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