Spielberg’s Hook. Whilst the memories of this formative experience are locked away by age, I can certainly tell you that countless times watch it, curled up against my father, and my head leaning against his chest as I comforted myself with the gurgles of his stomach and tender beating heart will always be fresh on my mind. As would the tears he’d inevitably roll as the end swooped on the big screen.
Growing up, Hook has been the frontrunner of my favourite childhood movies and no matter how many times I watched it, it would never loose it’s charm. When Robin Williams passed away, an actor dear to my heart and an Uncle to my generation, it was Hook that I went running to with bittersweet mourning, making future viewings tinged with the utmost sorrow.
However way I look at the film, there is a special entity surrounding it because it crafted, shaped, and grew me in some way or another. 25 years later, from that first screening flickering on the big screen, I sat with others like me and watched in on the big screen once more. Even more so, it was important to see that Hook had retained it’s pixie dust that made me soar when I was a child.
Hook stars Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman. It is about Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. However, he did. After falling in love with a woman, Peter Pan chose to stay on Earth. Forgetting his adventures with The Lost Boys, the now Peter Panning has become a selfish and ignorant executive, spending his life on his phone much to the despair of his wife and children. An old friend named Wendy Darling (wink wink) invites him back to London. It’s going well until his arch nemesis Hook kidnaps his kids. Peter has to travel back to Neverland to not only save his children, but remember his innocence and childhood.
I’ve already reviewed the film back in 2014 so I’m going to talk a little bit about the impact of Hook. Sadly, not every critic favoured the romp of Steven Speilberg and, even now, people role their eyes and lament about the bastardization of classic magical literature. True, Hook was never going to sell with hard fast fans of the Peter Pan narrative, particularly when they allowed the boy who could never grow up to grow up into a cynical middle-aged man.
Yet this original take on the Peter Pan folklore becomes a wild magical trip into the Speilberg’s imagination. The creator of memorable childhood favourites as The Goonies and Jurassic Park crafted such a unique re-telling of JM Barrie’s work that to dismiss it for it’s fantastical follies and twist within the story seems wildly unfair.
The iconic Williams became steadfast in childhood culture for epitomising roles such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Genie, and Jack. Throughout the nineties, he swept up our comedy in a warming way and unlike any other. For years, his work had appeased us when we discovered more series works too. In Hook, he plays the exhausted lawyer struggling to fit his family into his business life as well as the young child reborn again within Neverland. In the hands of anyone else, Hook would’ve been a pantomime but Williams grounds the silliness and green tights within this emotional core. As Peter learns more about The Lost Boys, he knows more about his children and Williams brings the stunning elements of this to brilliant life.
Hook, within the hilarity and the comedy, possesses an abundance of themes that are encompassed in the grand design of Neverland and the sweeping score of John Williams. Though the crux of the tale is a wild journey about an adult attempting to reclaim his youth to be more appreciative of his children and family, there are different threads palpable within Hook. From parental issues and the loss of responsibilities within Neverland to falling in love and growing up with it, Hook becomes the importance with this thematic resonance. But the biggest one of all comes from the titular character. After all, while we are swirling within the pure glee of Robins’ performance, Dustin Hoffman’s more chilling and unrecognisable performance as Captain Hook (with comedic moments sure) is a more adverse character struggling with time. In this role, Captain Hook’s arrival to Neverland is touched upon and his slaying of Lost Boys and fear of clocks makes sense – he fears aging and death. Something more powerfully realised decades later that Hook transcends childhood loving and transforms into an adult one, an intricate balance of stories.
Hook is a marriage of adulthood and childhood, it’s an encompassing world of dreamlike set pieces, wonderful scores, and grand performances. The movie was everything so wondrous about childhood yet touches upon the greatness of growing up too and how one shouldn’t fear it, but live the great adventure. It’s embellished so eloquently in Spielberg’s work who has masterfully brought this feeling to life so many times.
Hook is an invisible feast of colourful food and on the big screen once more, there is only one world to say:
What do you think of Hook 25 years on?