Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Movie Review: Hook

Title: Hook
Author: Steven Spielberg, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts
Release Date: 1991
Genre: Adventure, Peter Pan, fantasy, pirates, family
My Rating: *
Official Rating: PG
Age Group: 10+

Wendy Darling took the Lost Boys back with her and found them homes. That was once upon a time, long long ago. Peter Pan came back for Wendy, his "mother", only to find her all grown up with a daughter, Jane. So he took her to Neverland instead. That lasted about as long as Wendy's adventure did.
Then Peter Pan came to Wendy once more, only to find her an old woman. And in the little bed, her granddaugther Moria. Peter Pan fell in love--and decided to stay and grow up.
Now, Peter is a successful businessman in the US with two children (whom he never seems to have enough time for) and a beautiful wife. Off they go to visit Great Grandma Wendy and Tootles (who seems to live with her).
But when Hook kidnaps Peter's young children to take revenge on his arch enemy, Peter is confused. There is no Neverland, no Hook, no Tinker Bell. The police will find his children. Wendy's a sweet (but entirely crazy) little old lady.

Word of Warning
  • This is more explicitly dark than the original Peter Pan stories. Hook is clearly evil and spiteful.
  • The grown up Peter is focused entirely on his career and not on his family. This is often painful to watch.
  • A character (appears to be in his teens) is stabbed in the back and killed.
  • Mermaids are barely dressed, shells acting as bikinis.
  • People are killed, some shot and some stabbed, and much of it is for comic relief.
  • Language: ass, hell, damn, and God's name is used in vain a few times as well.
  • Being Lost Boys with no guidance, the boys throw some pretty Dahl-esque insults at each other (think rude, potty humor, and just mean).
  • In passing, someone says "I didn't do drugs. I missed the sixties. I was an accountant." This isn't dwelt upon.
  • There is a suggested romance between Peter and Tinker Bell. Which is all fine and rather accurate to the original (though it was very one-sided, as were all girls' crushes on Peter, for interesting reasons I won't go into here), but Peter at this point is married. Eventually Peter does refuse her offer of a kiss, but it still feels very unfaithful.
  • Women wear dresses that are a bit low in the front (this isn't counting the mermaids, mentioned above).
  • A grown man because disturbingly childish.

My Thoughts
Me while I'm watching, "That isn't right. That's not how it goes. That's completely contradictory to the original! Why are they doing that? It goes against the original intention" and so on. My siblings, who were watching over my shoulder, rightfully hushed me with a, "Just enjoy the movie."
In my defense, I was actually watching it for a research project I am doing for a class. So it was my job to analyze it properly.
Still, they had a point. The movie on its own wasn't all that bad. Probably not interesting for kids, because an adult is the main character, and it's much darker (explicitly) than the other Peter Pan stories. And maybe not for people who are very familiar with the Peter Pan stories (because yes, there were many, even by Barrie himself).
It wasn't a bad movie. It wasn't a great movie either. And it doesn't capture the spirit of the original Peter Pan or any of his stories.

1 comment:

grandma jane said...

I'm in agreement that "Hook" did little to capture the spirit of the original story, though I had not given much thought to how "dark" some of it was until now.

I was drawn to see the film years ago for the same reason many did. Being somewhat familiar with the original story, I wanted to see it's sequel come alive on screen, maybe share it with the younger generation, and I respected the director and the talented actors. But in the end I felt it was simply another Hollywood moneymaker, done at the whim of the now-parents-of-their-own-children actors.

We see a lot of these kinds of films being made or re-made, sequel after sequel, marketed to adults and their children. Makes me wonder if many of these so-so movies are unintentionally end up stealing children's imaginations...?

Thanks for always presenting an honest and thorough review. It must certainly help parents with media decisions.