Lucien’s Retro Review: Hook

HookThis is something that I had been pondering doing for some time, and the recent and horribly tragic death of Robin Williams has motivated me into action.  I thought it would be fun to, every once-in-a-while, do a review of an older movie that I totally loved, or got to thinking about, and get to see what you all thought about it too.  For real, let me know in the comments section what you think about the film and what your favorite Robin Williams film or role was.  For me, it was Hook.  A neat story about Peter Pan after he leaves Neverland and grows up.  With so many films in the years past 2000 that were absolute garbage, making use of none of the comedic talent Robin Williams had, it is no surprise that his career went downhill.  A pity that more directors couldn’t have used the man’s talents better.  But this is a classic film that uses all of them, and it isn’t just Williams who shines.  But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.  First things first.

The film stars Robin Williams as Peter Banning.  A man who is very business-oriented, to the point of neglecting his wife and kids (yes, this was a 90’s movie.  I realize that that trope has been beaten to death by now.  But this was one of the few films that used it right).  He has an older son and a younger daughter (who are played by the most annoying kids in all of film) who both resent him.  During a trip to England, to give an award to Wendy Darling, who he believes is the woman who ran the orphanage that he grew up in (unaware of their history together beforehand), the house is attacked and his children are kidnapped.  The only clue is a slash on the wall and a note stabbed into the door saying that James Hook is waiting for him.  Tinkerbell comes down as well and informs him that he used to be Peter Pan, and that the only way to save his children is to come with her.

I’m assuming the rest of you know the plot.  This isn’t exactly a new movie.  However, it was a film that was stunning and so much fun.  The plot of the film was cliche, even for the 90’s.  However, much like the remakes of Star Trek, it’s all in the execution.  The best element of this film was the characters.  For real, this film had some of the most memorable and awesome characters ever.  Dustin Hoffman plays the role of Captain James Hook, and his is 18 different kinds of cool!  The scene where he is wanting to kill himself makes my laugh until I cry, to this day.  Bob Hoskins plays a funny and lovable Smee, who has so much chemistry on-set with Hoffman that they captured the essence of their companionship perfectly.  For real, I can’t imagine one without the other.

Julia Roberts is fun as an older Tinkerbell, a lot more mature, but still with a sarcastic and bitchy side that isn’t above fucking with people.  However, my favorite role in the film was the one that introduced me to one of the funniest and best voice-actors of all time, who is awesome in live action too, Dante Basco.  He played Rufio, the new leader of the Lost Boys.  This guy was just so much of a dick and so proud of himself and what a boss he is that you can’t help but love him.  A lot of the Lost Boys were really fun too.

Of course, Robin Williams was in his element as both Peter Banning and Peter Pan.  He plays off his loud and energetic comedic style amazingly in this movie, using both spoken and visual humor.  Some of his smaller jokes are the best.  However, he also shows that he is able to be dramatic when he wants to be, and it is very nice that they didn’t forget to show that part of him.

Now, while I do love this film to death, it would be remiss not to point out some of the flaws.  For one, this is a much grittier version of the Peter Pan story, yet the final battle between the Lost Boys and the pirates is about as slap-stick as it gets.  You see Rufio and Hook going blade-to-blade, and then Peter Pan and Hook too, but other than that, it’s all so prat-fall centered.  The other major flaw is Pan’s kids.  For real, those two are about as annoying as it gets.  Especially the girl.  She has such a Mary Sue attitude, so innocent and cute.  It’s fun for a bit, but listening to her sing a terrible song and having all the pirates with rapt attention, it’s kind of hard to take seriously.

However, while the final battle with the rest of the Lost Boys is slap-stick as fuck, the sword-play choreography is awesome!  I could watch the battle between Rufio and Hook a dozen times and not get bored, even if the ending is kind of sad.

This isn’t an especially complicated film.  It does have some neat themes that come up at odd times.  This is my favorite Robin Williams movie, and I hope that you all loved it too.  If you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it enough.

And Robin, I hope that you can find the peace in death that you couldn’t in life.  You will be missed.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

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