I’ve been seeing something strange on the internet lately: a lot of people are saying that the 1991 Steven Spielberg/Robin Williams movie Hook is a bad movie, and I just find that bizarre.
Because when I was growing up, no one had anything bad to say about Hook. no soul And while I didn’t see it in full when it originally came out (only snippets on TV), I’ve always had a soft spot for it, as the general energy surrounding it has always been positive.
However, perception has apparently changed dramatically. Today, when people review Steven Spielberg’s films, it’s not uncommon for some people to say that this is one of Spielberg’s worst films. Not only that, but I’ve heard that adults who still like it today just have to wear their nostalgic glasses. Well, as someone who never quite saw it as a kid, I thought I’d check it out now to see if it really is as bad as some are making it out to be, and well…
(Credit: TriStar Pictures)Hook isn’t a bad movie at all
Okay, calm down Hook fans because I’m here to say that overall this isn’t a bad movie. Would I call it one of those Robin Williams roles I’ll never forget? Well, no, not really. I really think I should have seen it as a kid to really get that impression. As an adult with two children of my own who often feels like the magic I experienced as a child is all but gone, I have to say that Hook struck me on multiple levels.
The story follows a busy lawyer named Peter Banning (Williams) who never finds the time to be with his family. When his children are kidnapped by Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), Peter learns that he is actually Peter Pan and left Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys to grow up and start a family. He must return to Neverland to save his children and rekindle his inner child.
I mean, it sounds easy on paper, and I’m sure that for a kid, a big part of the fun of seeing this movie was seeing Williams fly around and the Lost Boys yelling “Bangarang!” But as an adult, it hit me really hard at times.
When Peter’s wife says they have “a special few years” where their kids actually want to be with them, it totally shook me.
When one of the Lost Boys grabs Williams’ face and says, “Oh, there you are, Peter!” I actually got a little bleary-eyed (the wistful music definitely played a part), and when Peter finally got to see his son play baseball I thought about my own children and how much I love them. Well, for a film that touched me on such an emotional level, I don’t see how I could ever call it anything other than a good film.
(Credit: TriStar Pictures) In fact, there are things about it that I really love
A few years ago, Dustin Hoffman said he thought movies were getting worse and worse. And while I don’t know if I totally agree (I mean, hello, how could that even be possible when Jordan Peele has never made a bad movie), I will say that there is an element of wonder and magic which I feel is sorely lacking in most films these days.
Still, I felt real magic watching Hook recently. Yes, some might call it “Schmaltz”, but I have to say that I’ve seldom felt so emotionally drawn into a story and its characters. I think a lot of that depends on the performances, especially Hoffman and Williams, but also the supporting cast, Maggie Smith, Julia Roberts and Bob Hoskins, who are so totally committed to this goofy world of pirates and magic.
I also love that this film has a deeper message for adults that I think many never understood as children. I think that’s the real reason why many adults still love this movie to this day instead of just wearing their “nostalgia glasses”. I really love that this is a film that tries to warn you that life is short and that you must make every effort to seek out the magic that exists in the world as it is so easily forgotten .
Is it a Mawk message? Perhaps. But it pulls off effectively enough that I definitely didn’t find it spasmodic. It even reminded me why I love movies in general…
(Photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) That said…
Hook is way too damn long. At 142 minutes I have to admit that I had to watch it in two sittings because I started dozing off a bit towards the middle. Yes I was tired (I told you I have two kids didn’t I?) but it didn’t keep my attention the whole time as I went to my phone a few times.
Also, it has to be said that I’m still not feeling well that one of my favorite Filipino actors, Dante Basco, had to die to bring the film to its climax. Because you know what? Rufio’s death isn’t even addressed that much before Pan defeats Hook. This is a scene I had heard so much about from my friends when I was younger that when I saw the scene in context I couldn’t believe it because my friends made it seem like it was this big, heartbreaking one In reality, Spielberg didn’t even give the scene enough time to be truly heartbreaking. It feels more like a waste of what could have been a genuinely emotional moment.
The ending could have been a bit stronger too, as Peter finally reconnects with Wendy. I don’t know, for a movie that really brought me to tears at certain points, I just felt that the ending, with Peter Tootles returning his marbles, could have been a lot more effective.
(Credit: TriStar Pictures) Overall, though, I think Hook is one of Spielberg’s better films
Still, I think this is actually one of Spielberg’s better films. Sure, it’s not Jurassic Park, but I definitely think it’s better than Spielberg’s Jurassic Park: The Lost World, although I’ve seen that film ranked even higher than Hook on some professional lists. Overall, I’d rank Hook pretty high if I was personally rating Spielberg’s films, as it actually made me feel something. And apparently I’m not alone. I actually tweeted that I saw it for the first time and I asked if people still liked the film. Here’s what one person had to say about the film:
I absolutely adore this movie! It’s campy. It is fun. Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman are having so much fun in the roles I can’t help but enjoy it. Is it a cinematic masterpiece? No. Do I care? Also no.
Here’s what someone else said about adult hook hitting on another level:
It’s a great film about loneliness, the disappointments of adult life and what happens to the dreams we had as children
Some still believe the critics didn’t understand the film at all:
It is great. For a lot of people of my generation (older millennials) it’s the perfect example of a movie that critics got wrong.
So in the end I really enjoyed Hook and I don’t think for a second that it’s bad. If you’re still craving more information about the movie at the end of this article, here are 10 behind-the-scenes facts about the Robin Williams movie. Enjoy!