The boy who wasn't supposed to grow up—Peter Pan—did just that, becoming a soulless corporate lawyer whose workaholism could cost him his wife and kids. But a trip to see Granny Wendy in London, where the vengeful Capt. Hook kidnaps Peter's kids and forces Peter to return to Neverland, could lead to a chance at redemption, in this family-oriented fantasy from director Steven Spielberg.
What if Peter Pan grew up and forgot who he was? What if he returned to Neverland? RELEASED IN 1991 and directed by Steven Spielberg, "Hook" stars Robin Williams as a corporate American Lawyer who must go to the island of Neverland after his two kids are kidnapped in London by Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman). He has misadventures with the fairy Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts), pirates and a group of ragtag lost boys led by Rufio (Dante Basco); meanwhile hook tries to win the affections of his kids. Maggie Smith and Gwyneth Paltrow are on hand as older and younger versions of Wendy respectively. This is a family-oriented adventure/fantasy/comedy cut from the same cloth as "The Wizard of Oz" (1939), "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (1968), "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" (1971), "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (2004) and "Into the Woods" (2014); it’s just not a musical like some of those flicks even though a song or two are featured. Depending on your tastes, “Hook” is no better or worse than any of these movies (although “The Wizard of Oz” is in a league of its own, of course). While I love serious swashbuckling, Peter Pan was always too kiddie/fantasy-based for my tastes. This is ironic since I have Peter Pan Syndrome, which Spielberg also admitted to; and my wife has The Wendy Dilemma (look ’em up). Fans of Peter Pan will favor this flick more than me. Nevertheless, it was made by scores of talented people and contains some genuinely amusing moments (I busted out laughing at least four times). Hoffman’s titular character is iconic. And Roberts works surprisingly well as Tinkerbell, but they should’ve accented her beauty further. Speaking of which, the film needs more feminine sex appeal. Even the makers of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” knew enough to include a little bit. Both Spielberg and Williams liked the two bookend sequences, but have reservations about the long Neverland middle-piece, which is the bulk of the picture. Williams admitted he felt lost in Neverland, probably because he was thrust from one misadventure to another so briskly. But the pre-CGI sets are colorful and imaginative; it’s a fun movie with a lot of energy. Peter Pan just ain’t my thang. THE MOVIE RUNS 2 hour, 22 minutes (overlong). WRITERS: James V. Hart, Nick Castle and Malia Scotch Marmo wrote the script based on concepts from the works of J.M. Barrie, particular “Peter and Wendy” (1911). BOX OFFICE: The movie cost $70 million (not including marketing) and made $301 million worldwide with $120 million of that domestically. While it was the fourth highest-grossing movie worldwide in 1991, it was still considered a disappointment by producers, the greedy bastages. GRADE: B-/C+