Steven Spielberg's deeply flawed but sporadically fun and moving update of the Peter Pan legend stars Robin Williams as the grown-up Pan, a corporate-takeover type who must embrace his old identity in order to save his kid... more »s from Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman). The stars put on a good show, including Hoffman's read of Hook's hysterical personality, Julia Roberts mini-turn as a tiny Tinker Bell, and Maggie Smith's touching performance as the aged Wendy. The visual contrast between the adult Pan's bustling outside world and the insulated fantasy of Neverland is striking, but Spielberg's ideas about the Lost Boys--politically correct in their ethnic diversity, energetic on skateboards--are contrived and cheapening. On the plus side, the story's theme about adults finding their innocence again through their children is very touching (though some people have found it cloying). If you can look beyond the glaring problems, there's plenty to like here. --Tom Keogh« less
"The subtitle to the play "Peter Pan" is "The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up". Spielberg's sequel could well be called "The Man Who Grew Up Too Much". The story of Peter Pan is reversed, as are many roles. Robin Williams has the easy task of playing the thoughtless parent, the moderate task of playing the grownup Peter Pan, and the incredibly difficult task of making the transition between the two believable.Dustin's Hoffman's Capt. Hook knows, as do all of us who remember his soliloquy, that no little children love him. His concern with how he will be remembered, and with Good Form, ring quite true to the original. The character is suave, urbane, vicious, captivating, and ultimately tragic. At first I was annoyed at the modern elements in Never-Never-Land, but I soon realized that they had to be there, as Never-Never-Land was always a compilation of everything Lost Boys found exciting. In the twenties, that included Red Indians, but if they were lost in the 1980s, well then, baseball and skateboards should be included. The original play was Edwardian, but the movie makes no sense unless it's updated.The role-reversal and eventual re-reversal is fascinating. In the play, the same actor always plays both Hook and the thoughtless and cruel father, Mr. Darling. But here, Peter is the uncaring father and a corporate pirate, while Hook takes the children to Never-Never-Land. The lost boys are, at first, quarrelsome and threatening, while the pirates are a happy adventuresome lot, even sentimental in the lullaby sequence. But while the Lost Boys help Peter recover himself (and to recover their own innocence), Hook's attempt to win over Peter's kids is, in the end, a failure, and we are brought full circle. The final scene of the helpless Hook surrounded by Peter and his boys parallels the earlier scene of the helpless Peter Banning surrounded by Hook and his pirates. ("Somebody lend me a hand." "I already have.")The movie has one major flaw - most people don't know the Peter Pan legend well enough to really understand it. Seeing the play "Peter Pan" won't help much, either, because there's a lot in the storybook "Peter and Wendy", and in the play's stage directions, that enhances the understanding of the movie Hook. In a scene usually cut from the play, Peter sacrifices himself for Wendy, and thinks he is about to drown. His line is "To die will be an awfully big adventure." Later, when Wendy and the Lost Boys are leaving Never-Land, Peter is left alone, slumped in his chair. The stage directions state that at this point, if Peter only understood a little more, he would say, "To live would be an awfully big adventure." Hook is the story of how Peter finally learns that to live is, indeed, an awfully big adventure. Along the way, he must also discover what a Happy Thought for a grown-up is, and that a man with no childhood is as incomplete as a boy who would not grow up.The pretend-food that was always Peter's favorite kind of meal is used to excellent effect. I found the first moment when Peter's adult façade started to break down surprisingly believable. He is in an insult contest, and losing badly, until he finds the intersection between his grownup life and the childish contest. He wins with the biggest, most impressive insult, ending with "... don't mess with me, man, I'm a lawyer."Maggie Smith's Wendy fills in the roles of both Wendy and Mrs. Darling from the play. Her concern with the night-lights is especially fulfilling. We are also re-introduced to Tootles, who was the Lost Boy who always missed the adventure, and so he does again. Several times in the movie, the first time I saw it, I mouthed the dialogue along with the actors, because I knew that after Hook said, "Prepare to die", Peter had to reply, "Dark and sinister man, have at thee." There's a brief appearance of Michael's bear and John's top hat, which they took with them to Never-Never-Land so many years ago. Lisa and Nana return (Nana IX, really), and many other details make it a wonderful reunion. Bob Hoskins's Smee and Julia Roberts's Tinkerbell are true to the original, and yes, she says The Line She Had to Say.Yes, Peter Pan grew up. But he didn't do it when he became a lawyer; he did it in Hook."
A magical movie to remind you of what's important
Sheri O. Zampelli | LA, CA USA | 12/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is so much more than a children's fable. It is a magical reminder of how powerful each of us really is. The movie begins with Peter Banning (Attorney at Law) who forgets the truth of who he is. He becomes obsessed with success, drinks too much and avoids his family. Through a series of events he is forced to look within for the "real" him, Peter Pan. Peter Pan knows that all he has to do is think "one happy thought" and he can fly. I think this is true of all of us. The more we remember and honor who we are and the more we focus on the positive, the better life works. Peter Banning was a miserable, "fat old grandpa man" but when he remembers who he is, he's filled with boundless joy and energy. A very spiritual message indeed."
Curmudgeons, Get a Life!
Walter P. Sheppard | Arlington, VA United States | 11/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some people think you have to be "3 years old or in a coma" to enjoy this film. Rubbish! My wife and I are well-educated and well into our "senior" years, but far from senile. We think this is one of Spielberg's very best, an unmitigated treat from beginning to end. The cast is superb from top to bottom, and we also think John Williams's score has some of his very best music. (For confirmation, listen to the series of excerpts he recorded with the Boston Pops by programing your player to skip the other tracks. Each piece stands on its own without the film's images to support it.) Finally, we think those who hate the film have the same problem Peter has when he first sits down to "eat" with the Lost Boys in Neverland: a lack of imagination and sense of fun. They need to loosen up and, as the saying goes, get a life."
A Neverending Magical Fairy Tale
Barry | 11/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Steven Spielberg's Hook is a wondrous film full of great color and fantastic visuals. It's the kind of warm and fuzzy movie to be enjoyed time and again. Robin Williams stars as a grown up Peter Pan(now named Peter Panning), who doesn't remember who he really is. While on a trip to Old Wendy's place, his two children are kidnapped by Captain Hook. With the help of Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell, Peter has to go to Never Never Land to save his kids, battle Captain Hook, and realize that he is the one and only Peter Pan. The costumes are great, the sets are awe inducing, and the actors are all game. People, I ask you, who is better at playing at a person who refuses to grow up than Robin Williams?. I don't think the part could of been better cast. Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook is an image to behold. It's a classic Hoffman performance. Keep an eye out for cameos by Phil Collins, Glenn Close, and a very young Gwynneth Paltrow. This movie should entertain kids and adults alike. Kids will cherish their youth, while adults will most definitley be transported back to a magical time to think about their own youth. This is a whimsical fairy tale that's a delight from the first to last frame. I can't believe why so many people have a deep disliking of this movie. Oh well. Their loss. Kudos to Spielberg for delivering a modern day fairy tale for viewers to cherish for years to come. I'm hooked!. Sorry."
Thats where I'll be waiting
Sir Adam of Scots | (please remember to vote!!) | 05/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Boo, says the old woman in princess bride at the Critics. Hook is in my top five favorite movies without a doubt. The ones who don't like it, don't understand the underlying thread. Peter grows up - and forgets his childhood as the flying menace. He is even afraid of heights! It doesn't matter whether you are a spielberg fan or not, if you love interesting films that hauntingly leave a mark of childishness on your heart, then this is for you. I have watched this film more than any other movie. I seriously KNOW for a fact that since I was 11 I have viewed it over a hundred times....easily! I had a copy...then I bought it on vhs...then the other day bought it on dvd and it still hasn't lost its meaning to me. I could still watch it twice in a row and not loose an ounce of attention. Maybe it's Robin Williams perfect transition from snobby business man, to the high flying , sword chopping, pirate stomping, peter pan. Or Dustin Hoffman, who endured just as many hours in make-up as he did in Tootsie, to bring to life the ultimate clock-hating villain, who despises the "L" word. Or Bob Hoskins (Who framed Rodger Rabbit), an excellent Smee, more brain than bum-fundled. Julia Roberts had me in the state-of-crush for about 3 years. Anyway, Hook is a 5 star great movie that THE People love. Forget the critics for this one. The dvd is sharp, and sounds terrific. As far as sound, check out Smee's "Good morning neverland." I would seriously enjoy ANY extra's, because the skull and crossbones on this disc represent death to extra lover's. Two-disk anyone?"