Hook (1991)
January 1, 2015 11:40 AM - Subscribe

Grown-up Peter Pan (Robin Williams) learns what's REALLY important in life when Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps his children.

Namely, food fights. Just kidding. TCM has a nice summary of the movie.

This 1991 classic, directed by Steven Spielberg, has a thirty percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and Roger Ebert gave it two stars, saying, "The sad thing about the screenplay for 'Hook' is that it’s so correctly titled: This whole construction is really nothing more than a hook on which to hang a new version of the Peter Pan story." Vincent Canby of the New York Times liked it more, but admits "Hook' is overwhelmed by a screenplay heavy with complicated exposition, by what are, in effect, big busy nonsinging, nondancing production numbers and some contemporary cant about rearing children and the high price paid for success."

The movie has a great cast (including Glenn Close, perhaps rehearsing for Albert Nobbs, as a pirate, and 50-something Maggie Smith as 90-something Granny Wendy). Rumors persist that Dustin Hoffman and Bob Hoskins (Hook and Smee, respectively) played their roles as a gay couple.

Here's a fascinating (and inadvertently hilarious) puff piece about the making of the movie from People Magazine.

If you were twelve when this movie came out, OBVIOUSLY the (surprisingly diverse) lost boys were the best part. Here's a Reddit AMA with the guy who played Too Small (the tiny cute one!) and one with Dante Basco (Rufio). And here are the Hook kids, then and now.

Remembering Robin Williams: Dante Basco wrote a heartfelt piece on his blog.

Available for streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
posted by leesh (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I actually rewatched this today while putting all my links together--it's definitely too long, but there are so many great moments! Of course, that could just be the nostalgia talking, along with having seen this like a hundred times on cable. And I love that "Thud Butt" gets to be the leader at the end, what a sweetie.
posted by leesh at 4:38 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's been many years since I've seen this, but I remember liking it quite a bit. There may be some extraneous scenes, but that's made up for by the sheer goodness of many scenes. Although I think Dustin Hoffman steals the show as Hook, and when you're stealing the show from Robin Williams you know it's got to be good.

I did not realize until just now, clicking on the "here are the Hook kids, then and now" link that young Wendy was played by Gwyneth Paltrow.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:18 PM on January 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

It's always bugged me that, when tasked to invent food, everyone goes for brightly coloured goop. Not one roast chicken? Or at least some chocolate cake?
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:02 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was 13 when it came out and I saw it in the theater, I guess I just missed the cutoff...

I think I could have given in a bit more to the overly saccharine spirit of the movie if the world had felt larger, rather than entirely enclosed on little sets like tableaus in a Disney dark ride.

I haven't watched the movie in several years, but selections from the score remain on my ipod playlist consistently...And Hoffman's performance, and somehow the "There you are, Peter!" moment, still work on me in spite of me disliking the movie as a whole.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:56 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I hadn't heard that scuttlebutt about Hoskins and Hoffman. I had heard that Julia Roberts was so frequently drunk and/or stoned during production that it was a frequent delay. She was having a rough year and had what she calls her "Fellini summer," IIRC.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:57 AM on January 2, 2015

Gosh, I generally enjoyed this movie when it came out and I still get a kick out of watching it. One of my favorite lines is Maggie Smith's, "So Peter....you've become a pirate?" Kapow! Awesome line.

I love the nostalgic throwbacks to the Pan who was and the efforts to rediscover him within the Pan of now. The Tinkerbell, "Look at me, marry me now that you're an adult!" was kind of awkward, since she knew Peter was married. What gives, Tinks, trying to destroy a family?!

There's a lot of things I feel that I should hate or at least find entirely frustrating, but...I don't. The score by John Williams is one of the big points for me as it wonderfully characterized the various scenes and characters, be it Hoffman's Hook or Peter's flying.

I would like to think baseball continued on in Never Never Land after it's introduction, but obviously, in some kind of weird form. (Speaking of which, that game displayed one of the nice touches of dark humor that accompanied a number of the pirate scenes).

Dante Bosco, of course, went on to do the voice of Zuko, in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
posted by Atreides at 9:23 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I had heard that Julia Roberts was so frequently drunk and/or stoned during production that it was a frequent delay.

MULTIPLE articles I read referred to her as "Tinkerhell," but it seemed so mean to me when she was clearly going through a really hard time.

What gives, Tinks, trying to destroy a family?!

This also bugs me much more watching as an adult. I really wish Moira (and even Maggie Smith) had gotten much more to do. But the movie seems much more focused on the guy, father/son stuff.
posted by leesh at 11:03 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

The movie just seemed really dusty and dirty to me, when I wanted lush and green. Smee was my favorite!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:27 PM on January 2, 2015

And I think this was the time when Julia Roberts split with Kiefer Sutherland (almost at the altar) so there was Much Personal Drama going on.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:29 PM on January 2, 2015

And I love that "Thud Butt" gets to be the leader at the end, what a sweetie.

I just searched for the kid who played Thud Butt. Seeing a picture of him all grown up is like seeing an old elementary-school classmate after 20 years -- he's almost unrecognizable except for the smile.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:41 PM on January 2, 2015

Oh god. I just absolutely unabashedly love this movie and I'm not even sure I could tell you why. I saw it as a kid and I rewatch it regularly as an adult when I'm in a bad mood. No other Peter Pan adaptation or derivative has made me want to be Peter Pan so much as this movie. It was only on a recent re-watch that I realized how focused on father/son relationships it is, but somehow, even for me as a little girl, I was 100% into every bit of life in Neverland. I wonder if that's because without Wendy as the primary female presence in Neverland, sewing and mothering, I was more free to identify with the male characters? I don't know.

That's fascinating about Hoffman and Hoskins playing the roles as a gay couple. I can totally see that. They're tremendous interpretations of the characters.

Dante Basco was also in another of my favorite movies, But I'm a Cheerleader.
posted by olinerd at 1:59 PM on January 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

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