In Praise of Hook, A Flawed Classic

“All this has happened before and it will all happen again.” There’s a thought I’ve been returning to as I’ve become increasingly fatigued by the endless remakes of Disney properties that have clogged up the box office over the past few years. Remakes that are almost entirely unimaginative and devoid of the courage to strike out into new ground but instead merely evoke the imagery of the classic animated films in an effort to exploit the nostalgia that millions of people have for those properties simply because that strategy is provably more lucrative than taking any kind of creative risk and will be more successful at further cementing Disney’s oncoming monopoly of the entertainment industry and that thought is… Remember a Hook? Hook was great! That John Williams score still holds up. But the people who only know this movie as a thing that flashes on screen for a few seconds of Captain Marvel, Hook is a classic 1991 film starring Robin Williams and directed by Steven Spielberg. It tells the story of an older version of Peter Pan who has grown up to be a workaholic lawyer and who struggles with being present with his children. But after a trip back to Neverland, a food fight and a battle with the evil Dustin Hoffman, he learns how to be a dad again. Ahh! While the development of the movie began at Disney, it is not a Disney film, at least technically. It was made by Spielberg’s company Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Tristar but it certainly feels like it could be a modern Disney live-action remake because in a lot of ways it evokes the 1953 Disney incarnation of the character. It’s deliberately reminding you of the Disney version specifically but also brings a lot new to the table. The movie is brimming with creativity, both in its premise and in its set design. It’s exactly the kind of movie I wish Disney would make instead of the two faithful live-action adaptations they are currently making. As the opening to one of Disney’s more original adaptations puts it “Let us tell an old story anew.” And is that really too much to ask for? Maleficent was an interesting spin on its source material, so was Christopher Robin and so was Hook, it was the fourth most successful movie of 1991. It was well-liked by audiences, went on to become a classic film for a certain generation i.e. mine. it’s actually still the most successful live-action Peter Pan film since the faithful 2003 adaptation and the 2015 prequel-type film both failed to make back their budgets. Successes aside, the movie was still panned by the critics, but looking back on the film now in an era flooded by safe choices I wanted to try and take my nostalgia goggles off and see whether or not the critics were right. So, welcome to my video where I argue with Siskel and Ebert thirty years after the fact and also try to convince Patrick (H) Willems that it’s better than he thinks because we disagreed about it on Twitter one time. Sony’s V tape packs a more picture and more sound than ever before Hoffman’s Hook doesn’t help either. The acclaimed actor seems to be trying to play a cute villain robbing Peter’s journey of any sense of real jeopardy, that’s from Gene Siskel’s review of the movie and it’s an opinion that simply cannot be allowed to exist. Hoffman’s performance is the best part of this whole mess and actually I think Hook should be the first movie you watch to learn how to introduce an antagonist. For a full 40 minutes the movie just endlessly teases us about how awesome and scary Hook is gonna be when we finally get to him. It starts with some foreshadowing with the hook that locks the window. Then there’s the visual metaphor of a ship in a bottle as Tootles mutters his name “Hook, Hook!” Yes, this character’s name is Tootles. We don’t exactly see Hook break into the house but we see the aftermath: the cut in the wallpaper, the note on the door and then this… “Have to say to Maggie, have to say to Jack…Hook is back!” When we get to Neverland we see the hook being sharpened which doubles as a memorable set up for this predicament at the climax. And it’s only after all of that that Hook is finally revealed and even here Spielberg is coy with us, revealing the villain in stages. First we see just the hook itself, then the back of his head, then his face and profile to deliver a slimy line of dialogue, “See how greatly the men favour you sir”
“The appalling spawn. How I despise them!” Before he finally turns into a close-up and it’s glorious. Okay, so I was being a little facetious with that Siskel quote earlier because in a sense he’s right. All of this setup makes Hook feel really intimidating but that’s at odds with what Hook is actually like. He’s a buffoon through the entire middle of the movie until the final act when he zips back to feeling like a threat again Hook doesn’t feel like he’s a danger to Peter during the middle of the movie but he does have other ways of attacking Peter mainly by trying to turn his children against him So while you don’t feel like Peter is in jeopardy the emotional stakes are high and I think that compensates for the inconsistent way Hook is presented. Besides, I can’t help but love every scene that this character is in. I mean has any character ever had a better evil laugh? Okay, one has! So, the problem with Hook isn’t Hook, it’s the other half of the film that’s the trouble. For a better video recording, V is the answer. Sony the one and only. In a more positive review of the movie, Hal Hinson for the Washington Post wrote that “Spielberg and Williams – the reigning Peter Pan’s of Hollywood – would seem so ideally suited to the material; it’s a movie one would think that they were both born to make.” “Hey, is it too early to be that loud? Hey, too late! Let’s talk about Robin first who would seem to be the perfect choice for a Peter Pan movie. Robin made his career on characters that were over-the-top, childlike, funny “You can count on me Orson, DD&E… Dedicated, diligent and efficient! Nanoo, nanoo!” So playing a character that doesn’t grow up, where he can be as big and loud and charming as he wants to be sounds perfect for him. The problem is that it takes two hours to get there! Robin’s greatest talents are hamstrung by the need for him to play a lawyer for most of the movie. And yes, I know he can play dramatic roles too, but that’s not really what’s required for this role. He’s the straight man here. “I don’t think with great effort, the part of Hook, where Robin plays Peter Pan was any kind of a problem for him. He had to act his buns off to play Peter Banner.” And don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun to watch him be a terrified office worker who’s just completely out of his depth but there’s this one scene where you get a hint of what the movie would be like if he could have just let loose as Peter Pan the whole time. It’s right after he’s fully embraced his identity as Peter Pan and he’s just adorable. “Why are you in Neverland?” “Well, that’s easy! To always be a little boy and have fun. I like this game, ask me another one!” He’s so good here that I just wish there were more scenes like this in the movie. He gets to be this way for most of the third act but if I can make one screenwriting fix of this movie it’d be to have him embrace his identity sooner. As written, the character has to go through two character shifts. The whole second act is devoted to the first one where he has to relearn how to be Peter Pan but then in this scene with Tinker Bell, there’s a whole other little character arc that happens. He’s forgotten that he has a family at the beginning of the scene then he has to remember them and then go off and save them. “Moira, I love Moira…and Jack and Maggie.” But imagine if he had instead come to Neverland willingly as a way to escape his responsibilities as a father. Essentially having become Peter Pan at the beginning of the second act, then the whole middle of the movie can be him getting to this character change of re-embracing his identity as both a father and Peter Pan. On paper, this is a lateral change. Let’s say for the sake of argument that they both work as scripts but the rewrite would maximize the amount of Robin Williams hijinks that the movie has, you know, stuff like this So this puts me in an interesting contradiction… I want the Disney remakes to be more daring spins on their source material and I think Hook is a good example of that theoretically but in this specific take on Peter Pan with this specific actor, the movie would have actually benefited from a more traditional adaptation, one where Robin Williams can act like a kid for the duration of the movie. I still love Robin’s performance here but it’s a case where the actor was more suited to the idea of the part and not the actual part as written. Okay, but what about Hollywood’s other reigning Peter Pan? From the movie of the year comes the soundtrack of the year: Hook! After helming successful family films like E.T., action franchises like Indiana Jones and films that evoke pure awe like Close Encounters, Spielberg does feel like the perfect fit for Peter Pan. “I guess I’m a bit typecast to have directed this movie but sometimes it’s fun to accept the typecasting of oneself.” But since its release, the biggest critic of Steven Spielberg’s Hook is Steven Spielberg. “I felt like a fish out of water making Hook. I didn’t have confidence in the script. I had confidence in the first act and I had confidence in the epilogue. I didn’t have confidence in the body of it.” Now given the criticisms I just made about the second act you’d think that I’d be inclined to agree with this but if you break down the scenes of the second act all of them are purposeful and move the story forward. Act 2 starts with Peter arriving in Neverland and with Hook learning that he’s no longer his former self but giving him three days to train. Then the Lost Boys don’t recognize him as Pan either but they agree to help him. Hook decides to try and convert Jack and Maggie to his side. Peter trains but struggles in… gosh I’m sorry. I love this montage where there are three Robin Williams’s in one shot! Even the less good Spielberg movies are consistently remarkable! Hook then puts his plan into action, Peter learns the power of imagination, the first hint that he really is Pan and that he can actually fight where he wins a victory over his secondary opponent Rufio. He has a scene with Thud Butt, yes, that really is this character’s name… which is about him missing his mother and Peter missing his kids. At the midpoint Peter sees that he may have lost Jack to Hook which sends him to his low point and fills him with determination to become Pan again. He succeeds and then there’s that scene with Tinker Bell before they all rally for battle. In Act 3 they do a bunch of fighting, the end. There’s not a scene in here that I’d take out, except maybe the Thud Butt scene and then maybe Maggie’s song which follows after it since they’re not entirely essential and work more as an interval between two busier scenes. So if you wanted to cut them for time you could. The problem isn’t so much the structure, it’s actually the editing. When I came back to watch this movie for this video, I was shocked to see that it was two and a half hours long and I think the reason for this isn’t that it has too many scenes or that it has the wrong scenes but that each scene could be edited down a little. Like we don’t need this many reaction shots from The Lost Boys to everything that happens, but the movie just loves schmaltzy heartwarming. scenes We probably don’t need to see Thud Butt roll up into a bowling ball twice or see Smee to take his time with every pitch. “And Bob Hoskins is just very, very funny! I mean, I mean my biggest childhood Bob Hoskins with the stuff that I couldn’t use in the movie because he gave me so much wonderful stuff and if I’d use it all it would have been called a smear for the book.” Yeah, Bob Hoskins really is great in this! I mean some of his dialogue is just… “Or I’ve got a dead man’s dingly!” “Or I’ve got a dead man’s dingly!” Priceless! Anyway, point being this is not a very complicated movie and there’s a punch here in 90-minute to two-hour film in here that’s buried under a lot of indulgences. Which hey, is another thing it has in common with the new Disney remakes since they’re all a half-hour too long! In that interview quoted earlier Spielberg continues “I didn’t quite know what I was doing and I tried to paint over my insecurities with production value. The more insecure I felt about it, the bigger and more colorful the sets became” And boy oh boy, did the sets become big and colorful! We’ve got penguins running around and animatronic flowers and a hundred extras all in one shot and holy moly the swords light up with sparks when they collide! Why? Because it’s awesome! For a lot of people I understand that the production design is off-putting. Siskel called them artificial looking and I think he’s right, I just don’t think it’s a bad thing. Everything filmed in Neverland feels like it’s being shot in a studio, which it was. More than that, the sets feel like they are sets. One of the reasons the movie might look like this is because Spielberg hired John Napier to be the visual consultant on the film. Napier is a legendary costume and set designer for a bunch of musicals and Spielberg hired him after he was impressed with his work on Cats?! Cats! Oh my god, Cats! “You know and thanks to you know to John Napier and Norm Garrwood and their brilliant team of artisans and you know their sets were spectacular.” Okay, okay, why am I freaking out? Well, because Hook essentially has the set design of a musical, it just isn’t one even though it was initially envisioned as one early on in development. But once you start looking at the movie through this lens, a whole lot starts to make sense. The multi-level design of the port feels artificial and overindulgent for a regular movie but you can picture a dance number breaking out at any moment. Rufio’s hair is ridiculous for a place with no hairspray but he looks like he just finished acting in a production of Cats. A lot of the action at the climax is somewhat pantomimed. The bad guys have swords, but are somehow defeated by children with paint and mirrors. But the over-exaggeratedness of their reactions would fit better on stage. Now I don’t want to make too much of this because it’s guesswork to figure out who was responsible for what on any given film and there are many, many other people responsible for the visuals of Hook, but the thrust of what I’m saying is that the aesthetics, while off-putting to some audiences, don’t just come from nowhere but could be influenced by the sensibilities of stage productions and we tend to give musicals more leeway here. They’re allowed to be more whimsical. We’ve already suspended our disbelief enough to accept that people are singing so why not a world that looks like this? The making of Hook is proudly duplicated on Sony blank tape So when I was researching this video I found this making of documentary for Hook on YouTube. That’s where all these advertisements came from. And the top comment on that video is “I loved the advert stuff at the beginning. It really took me back to my childhood. It’s funny. That’s an annoying advertisement can be nostalgic.” It’s like the purest form of nostalgia because you only like it because it’s recognizable. The clips themselves are ultimately just a bunch of random images and sounds but the memories they evoke are powerful and real. And it’s how I feel about a lot of the things in this movie, things I like but I can’t craft an argument around. I like when they say bangarang, “Bangarang!” I like how Jack reacts to Smee bashing a clock. I like the way they chant Rufio. Rufio! Rufio! Rufio! I liked all the stuff as a kid and I like it more now and that’s why our whole entertainment industry is tilted toward exploiting nostalgia and Hook itself is no different in that regard. It also exists to capture the nostalgia people had for Peter Pan but as a film, it’s also suspicious of nostalgia. It’s the villain of the movie that wants to keep reliving the past again and again. “I vow there will always be daggers bearing notes I’m James Hook, they will be flung at the doors of your children’s children’s children. Do you hear me? Meanwhile the hero has to return to a childhood memory but only long enough to revitalize his adult life and then he has to close the book and move on. That theme extends to the set design too which doesn’t just feel like Neverland but sort of feels like Disneyland, as well. The port scenes feel like a theme park complete with cute little gift shops and there’s even a literal roller coaster in The Lost Boys hideout. Roger Ebert criticized the movie’s take on the material saying that it had nothing urgent to say but retroactively Hook feels more urgent than ever. In the age of remakes, Hook tells us to move on from the past and the fantasies that defined us as children. It’s impossible for me to completely unspool my own nostalgia from this movie when looking back on it. I can’t stand back far enough from it to see it the way the critics at the time did, not fully anyway. But looking at it now as an adult, I do see the flaws. I can say yeah if you wanted to have an imposing villain then maybe he shouldn’t be joking around through the whole second act after such an effective set up. And yeah, if you wanted to watch Robin Williams have fun as Peter Pan, then the story maybe shouldn’t have forced him to be a lawyer for two hours and while Spielberg’s direction is just as impressive as it always is, yeah, the film could definitely be more tightly edited. And if they were going to hire the set designer from a musical then maybe the whole thing would have been more fun and less jarring if they’ve just gone ahead and made it a musical. But even recognizing all of that, I still love it, warts and all. It was the same safe bet mentality that led to Hook being made back then as it is for all the Disney remakes being made now. But at least Hook took something old and made it new again and well, it’s worth remembering It’s the dream of every writer to create a character as timeless as Peter Pan or Captain Hook. So, if you’re struggling with crafting characters then I recommend checking out Sabaa Tahir’s course on Skillshare, the sponsor of this video. The course is called Writing Authentic Fiction: How to Build a Believable Character and will walk you through the steps of what kinds of questions you should be asking about your characters to figure out what makes them unique and how they fit into the story. One exercise I really like from this is the idea of interviewing your character. She’s also the author of several best-selling novels So she knows what she’s talking about. That class is one of over 25,000 classes you’ll find on Skillshare about writing filmmaking and more. If you want to give it a try, then click on the link in the description of this video to get two months of Skillshare for free including access to all of their classes! Thanks for watching everyone and a big thank you to my patrons for supporting this channel on Patreon and as well as to all of you for subscribing to this channel. This channel just passed 500,000 subscribers this week, which is just incredible! Thank you so much! More videos on the way! Keep writing everyone!

100 thoughts on “In Praise of Hook, A Flawed Classic

  • Yep. The set design, similar to Popeye but nowhere near as well-loved, is one of the key reasons the film is a classic. It looks old Hollywood, theatrical and creates a vibrant, if artificial, world that has a striking look.

  • It was a PG movie. Spielberg has always had a playful aesthetic to all his children movies. When I saw this movie, and I've seen it several times, it does not feel any different than any of his other PG movies. It was what I expected it to be for Speilberg movie at that rating level. But a darker tone of Peter Pan should go James Cameron. I always wanted him to do Peter Pan.

  • I like the film as is. I don’t think peter banning needed to be rewritten as a lot of the adult humor and essential heart of the character would’ve been lost in kiddie jokes. I mean 2 hours of the scene with tinker bell where he’s forgotten himself would’ve been too much. Like beetle juice the animated series on steroids too much. It would’ve been fart jokes screaming and like what? No. This is not about a man being Peter Pan the child. It’s about a man learning to be a father and finding that playful side is a part of the whole package. That’s why I say it’s fine the way it is.

  • Hook isn't supposed to be American Beauty. The worst version of everything, the post 70s era version of intellectualism, is faker than never-never-land could ever be. Field of Dreams isn't about ticks and lime disease.

  • The kids being the main thing that forces him to go back to his childhood and to learn to go forward with a bit of childhood wonder still in adulthood and responsibility makes more thematic sense than him going back to neverland intentionally tho

  • Honestly…. I wouldnt change a thing from Hook. I get that it looks more like a set for a musical. But that's sort of what Neverland is supposed to be. It IS whimsy. It's impossible, but it IS. And I cant imagine it better. I wouldnt change Peter's journey one step. I wouldnt change Captain Hook either. Because hes a sad old man now. And THATS THE POINT. He has all the pageantry, he has all the setup to make you think hes the intimidating pirate captain who fought Pan to the death, but lime Peter says "I remember you being a lot bigger", time has made him smaller. Hes old and no longer intimidating. Hes an old man clinging to what made him feel younger and that's fighting Peter Pan.

  • I'm just a little lost because we got an amazingly conflicted performance from Robin Williams where there doesn't appear to be a way for him to "go back" to what was before. Having a child and falling in love changed him all the way down to his core, and severed something that he only got back after having been threatened to lose the very thing he gave everything up for! If you change that premise for "hijinks" (which, holy shit, this movie already has so many it barely walks the line between serious and a cartoon kids show) then you're not challenging anyone. The story is simple, Hook wouldn't be fighting a psychological war but another swashbuckling one, and then you wouldn't have Hoffman and Williams acting their goddamn asses off! Honestly this is both of their best performances, and it is because there is no other movie you can map this story onto. And yes, I've watched it recently (last 2 years).

  • Peter was in danger of losing his children. Hook took his children, it wasn't as if they traveled to Never Never Land with Peter. A grown man took his children during the night and then tried to manipulate them into loving him more than their own father. Jack even emulates Hook and I wonder if he felt even more resentment that Peter was spending time with all the Lost Boys instead of him.

    Hook may appear goofy and non-threatening but that's what makes him more terrifying. Hook is fun, he plays baseball with me, he listens to me unlike my real dad. This is what Jack sees, the attention he's finally receiving. It isn't until Jack sees Hook kill Rufio, another child, that he finally leaves with his father.

    I always thought, even as a kid, that this was the scariest part of the movie. That a father could have his kids taken, but the real "taking" happens when your child doesn't want you anymore, especially since Peter is the hero. Why can't Jack see that Hook is evil? That's what I thought as a kid, but now it's even sadder because Jack was becoming another Lost Boy who only wanted to be loved.

    Also, I disagree about Robin William's performance. If Peter were simply trying to escape responsibility as a father by going to Neverland, he would have been too childish to begin with. The stark contrast between the boy Peter was and the man he became makes his arc much more satisfying. It's a lesson for the adults in the audience about how they treat their children.

    It also wouldn't have been as heartfelt. The Lost Boys don't see Peter Pan, they see a man. They don't recognize him at all until Tink says something. Then, in one of the most beautiful scenes in the film with that glorious John Williams score, Pockets goes to him, takes off his glasses, and twists his face into different shapes, even a smile. Then it happens.

    They see the child inside of the man. Their leader, their brother, and oddly enough, probably the only father figure the Lost Boys ever had aside from Rufio. And as an adult, he becomes more of a father to them than ever before. Rufio's last words are him wishing he had a dad like Peter, and this includes the responsible Peter. The Lost Boys' long gazes of pride and joy are also reminiscent of a child's affection for their father. They want to be like Peter, they emulate him long after he's disappeared from their lives. While seeing a hyperactive, child-like Robin Williams is wonderful, I don't believe the film would have benefited from it, and I don't think any other actor could capture the nuances Robin did, the lawyer man discovering his inner child, who he had buried for so long. The responsible man who realizes by being so controlled he may lose his children. It's a rather beautiful story.

    Also, the sets are badass and made me want to go build a million forts in my living room.

  • Hook (1991) is not a perfect film, but its a good film that has great elements. Robin Williams performance and John Williams score are wonderful.

  • Hey nice to see you point out that flaws are a thing that exists and that movies can demonstrably be better or worse than one another. Good stuff.
    You might wanna try to define "classic", though. As far as I know, in academia the term refers to works that are studied as a normal part of the cursus because they're supposed to have timeless features that anybody can learn from no matter when they were born. I don't see how "this film was beloved by one specific generation and is relevant to the current state of disney movies " fits that definition.

  • 04:49 The bearded pirate who gets put in the BooBox is Glenn Close. Also another Hook prescreen teaser is when the airliner is in turbulence. The captain on the intercom is Capitan Hook. Loved to watch this with my kids. "Fresh fish! But keep the eyes in so they'll seeya thru the week!"

  • I had forgotten how epic Hook's introduction was in this film until you laid it all out there. As it was happening it all came back. Spectacular.

  • 11:37 I am pretty sure he is saying "I've got a dead man's dinghy." That is, a dead man's boat. Fitting with the pirate theme.

  • I liker Hook as a kid, and I do agree with a lot of your points. But, I don't agree that Peter should have fleed to Neverland and never have grown up, as that defies the main thesis of the story of balance. Rather the change into over childish Peter should have happened at the end of act 1, then at the end of act 2 Tink and Peter have the scene in the clock. In act 2 through in scenes of his children thinking this is a better version of him, but also seeing what happens when no-one takes responsibility.

  • it always makes me sad when people criticise fun and whimsical art direction for being exactly that. id rather it look fake than to look uninteresting, a realistic port would have been boring. people also forget that stories need balance between dark and lighthearted moments for either to work. something entirely lighthearted has no stakes and something entirely dark is exhausting. when you have both, they both are more impactful because of it

  • Always felt this film was another victim of "all characters need an arc." Which I've always felt was a toxic stagnating mentality. It often gets protagonists to be a- holes in the first half and never recover from that: groundhog day, hook, other "redemption" stories. Glad you found Paddington to talk about.

  • I think when remakes aims for realism, they tend to miss out on the magic that fairytales originally consists of. At least visually. I feel like Wes Anderson movies are more fairytale-esque and magical than Disney today. There has to be a sense of wonder and awe, and to me the set in Hook actually feel dreamy and maybe how a child would envision a pirate port. But maybe I'm biased since I grew up with this movie!

  • The other great thing about Hook is how much it harkens back to the books as well as previous films. You can tell that they actually read the books and a lot of the more confusing and weird stuff that's in the movie actually came from the books themselves and not Disney's film.

  • I was a little bit interested to see this, but when 80% of the movie was Robin Williams' character being made to remember he was Peter Pan, it got boring fast. If he was Peter Pan for 80% of the movie, that would have been fun.

  • Thanks for bringing up this movie that I loved as a kid. I wish Disney remakes were as novel in premise or extending the universe too.

  • Wow…. in those days people had natural teeth rather than these white bleached, clamp straightened jaw breaking monstrosities we have now. They add character.

  • I've wanted to do a blog post about this movie for so long. I love Hook and it is one of my favorite movies despite its flaws

  • Hook was a "very, very" fun film. Robin was very good, and Dustin was superb, as was Bob Hoskins. In fact, everyone on screen was good, Phil Collins included. Fuck the critics (current channel excluded).
    Also, I heard "dead man's dinghy". "A dinghy is a type of small boat, often carried or towed for use as a lifeboat or tender by a larger vessel." Of course the reference to a penis remains.

  • I like most of your commentary. It was very well researched, and must have taken a long time.

    I must strongly disagree with your analysis of Panning's character transitions, from workaholic father, to Pan, and back to father, but with a greater understanding of what that means, and how important both his role, and his children are.

    Specifically, I disagree with your comment( perhaps it was offhand, as an example of how Panning could have transitioned to Pan earlier in the movie) that the character arc might be changed to Panning escaping his life to relive his childhood. This would have fundamentally changed the character, and in my opinion this character would be much more shallow and unsatisfying.

    In the movie, Panning starts as a father who has abdicated his role in favor of his work. While this is lamentable, it is a character to which we can all relate. The journey of the hero in Hook was one in which Panning returned to his childhood( ironically, or perhaps fittingly, in order to save his children), and through experiencing his life as it was before he grew up, learned the value of being a grown up who reveres childhood, and especially his own children.

    This is a character arc to which we can all relate. It is much more difficult to empathize with a father who decides to abandon his children, and it would make it complicated to work in how this derelict dad would be motivated to save those whom he abandoned.

    If a satisfactory way of writing the character arc could be found, I agree that allowing Williams more time to exercise his childish chops would be great. He was an actor who excelled at creating amazing moments if given the leeway to throw himself into a character, and especially a slightly silly one. However, I enjoyed the struggle Panning goes through to shed his scaly hide, bit by bit, and how it remains impossible for him until he hits rock bottom, losing his own child and realizing it is at least partly his own fault. It's poignant that he both finds his inner, and learns to harness it for adult purposes, in order to save and care for his own young children.

    This was the one point on which I really disagreed. Everything else you said was great. I have not watched a single remake of old disney movies, and don't plan on it, for the very reasons you stated time and again in this video. In contrast, the way Hook combined nostalgia with novelty is what made it a classic that will span generations.

  • I actually think its good they kept him "lawyer Pan" for so long. It helped reinforce the idea of just how deep "adulthood" had trapped Pan. How hard it really is for adults to break out of the "clog" mentality and go to embrace a more imaginative and somewhat childlike wonder towards the world.

  • I don't think the scene with Peter Pan and Thud Butt are that disposable, for two reasons: first because, from what I remember, its the first time they talk about mothers in the movie, and that comes back later when Pan is remembering his own mother, and how the windows closed, how she forgot or give up on him, and by the end of the movie we have Moira who doesnt close the window. And second, because at the end, Thud Butt becomes the new leader of the lost boys so, without that bonding moment, Peter's choice may have seemed too random.

  • Hook is almost great, but Robin Williams was miscast as Peter. You need an English lead not a very quirky American actor. Alan Rickman would have been better option to capture that arc. If it were made today Tom Hardy would crush it as the charismatic ex-lost boy.

  • This video essay is great, but I completely disagree with your complaint about Robin Williams' character being too serious, and not playing to his strengths as a comedian.

    They didn't choose to make Peter Bannon a serious character just to showcase Williams' acting ability, he is in fact written this way because it is the whole point of the movie!

  • The Tinkerbell character was extremely un-Disney like. Julia Roberts was the "It Girl" then but her hair was chopped and she was wearing a sack. Speilberg gave a lame excuse I can't remember. The Disney Tinkerbell was cute. Even the written character was described as cute. Julia wasn't cute looking like that. I believe Roger Ebert didn't like this aspect of the movie either. It was a waste of her fame and glamour and the beginning of her lackluster years.

  • I honestly love him discovering himself as Peter Pan, Like it's a large part of the movie, but It's my favorite part. It also makes sense for his character to take a long time getting in touch with his childhood, but a shorter time realizing he has to save his kids. I don't know it's just I disagree with you on that part.

  • fun fact this wasn’t meant to be a Spielberg movie. Nick Castle (played the original Michael Meyers) thought of the story and was meant to direct but Spielberg showed interest and the studio shoved castle out of the way.

    Also Terry Brooks (shanera chronicles) wrote the novelization and it’s actually pretty good and better in some moments like making hook more frightening as a villain.

  • You noted the “multiple Williams shot” in the training montage…
    I always come back to the “multiple shots and shot values in the same shot” when Williams comes back home from the benefit diner…
    AMAZING, through the glass, up the stairs, door handled, close up, light switch, etc
    Love it

  • I think the ideal Peter for this movie would have been (please don't crucify me, I ❤ Robin Williams) Kevin Kline. Hook needed a charming boyish straight man just like early 90s Kevin Kline.

  • i always felt the movie kinda went after the idea, what happens 30-40 years after a disney story?
    i mean how does it go on?

    pan was deformed into a "normal guy"

    hook is a shadow of himself and trapped in the simple paralell world of evilness

    the concept is even more clearly shown in the movie "enchanted" where the actual comic disney characters turn into real humans and after a while starting to evolve more complex feelings.

    the journey back to neverland though was to remember what he left behind, and also to celebrate the simple and childish things that exist for a reason and are important.

    i agree the first half of the movie doesnt really work.

  • Love the vid! But just a note: The static soundbite you use for the mock commercial cuts are W A Y too loud!! gave me a dang heart attack wearing headphones 😭

  • "Take my nostalgia goggles of" – half of the video is nostalgia argument
    "Argue Siskel and Ebert" – bring 1 quote and says they kinda right
    "Convinse Patrick" – confirms all criticism of film, but the themes are kinda good so no argument.
    Just say Patrick he's kinda WATCHED THAT MOVIE WRONG.

  • I loved the movie as a kid and this video's take on it. I did disagree with the criticism of the Hook as a character. Specifically his change from an unintimidating buffoon to a real threat. I thought that was a wonderful piece of writing. Hook CANT be a villain without an adversary. The croc has been put down and the lost boys are a shadow of their former selves without Pan. That's why Hook went back. He needs Peter. Without him he can't be the villain he was born to be and he isn't in the movie until Peter becomes Pan again. All in all a great critique of the movie and the current remakes. thanks for this

  • Well of course Patrick willem disagreed. That dude defended the last jedi as a good movie. Hard to take someone serious after that

  • Thanks for making this video! Right there with you, grew up with Hook and LOVE it – Understand the flaws but in my mind it is nearly ABOVE REPROACH. Well done sir! Bangarang.

  • Re: the seemingly endless remakes, it is comforting to know (and an important distinction to make, IMHO) that while Disney Studios plunders the archives of Disney Animation, the actual Disney Animation studio continues to create new IP that often include risky or bold ideas. Zootopia is the prime example of this, and the Ralph movies were also decidedly different in their approaches and subject/story matter. And while Frozen and Moana hew closer to the traditional Disney princess film they nonetheless both break the mold in key ways. So while we may (rightfully, I would say) take to task Disney Pictures for their soulless remakes, or examine Disney itself for its overall business practices, I think it important at the same time to give support and voice our appreciation to Disney Animation for venturing out and playing a much bigger game. 🙂

  • In my opinion this is Spielberg's best movie. It's like an Anime in Live Action.

    There is NOT film criticism your less likely to get me to agree with then saying a movie is too long. In my opinion Hollywood movies are usually too short.

  • 11:50 OH, IT GET IT! The flowers were sniffing him instead of the other way around!

    …Shut up, I haven't seen this movie in over a decade.

  • Maleficent sucks. If it had stuck with the 'Maleficent Origin Story' angle, it would have been fine, but then it turns into a remake that claims "that original film you love is a LIE!!!!!"

  • Hook is a Masterpiece Dustin Hoffman is the Definitive version of Captain James Hook!

    The credits who have a problem with him when he's not being evil he's just like that in the book his literally the book come to life

  • The problem with Maleficent is not that it's a reimagining.

    Its that it tell you that the original a lie

    Hook Is a sequel not a Reimagining.

  • Just FYI, there is a VERY disturbing story from a very young female cast member of Hook {I think its the little girl who plays the daughter}. A pretty horrific tale of what happened during filming of Hook and the mess that is being exposed in the media, with regards to people like Harvey Weinstein and others….

  • I would love to see you do a take on Maleficent as new story-telling, and it's strengths and weaknesses as a film.

    I've found it quite popular in feminist circles for a particular slant on the idea of retelling a story anew: that historically, women's stories are often distorted by men and/or for patriarchal norms, and this was a woman taking her story back (and with some pretty damn blatant sexual assault/rape baby metaphors to boot).

    I loved it, so I was baffled to learn so many people didn't like it or actively hated it (yet delighted to hear there's a second one anyway). I would love to see your take on its strengths and weaknesses, in so much as I hope story-tellers and movie-makers going forward can learn both from it, through you.

  • This is legitimately my favorite Robin Williams movie, one of my favorites of all time, something I can always pop on and just relax and lose myself in childhood again.

  • "Maleficent was an interesting spin on its source material" Oof… if by interesting spin you mean it leveraged tired writing cliche's and attempted to capitalize on the (then) recent success of Frozen by lifting its twist on "true love's kiss" from the animated film then sure, it was really interesting. This line alone almost undermined the authenticity of anything else you had to say in the video.

  • I really wish that this channel would do a piece on the symbolism and meaning behind "Over the Garden Wall". I mean as far as I have seen not meany people have done that, it would be cool to see there point of view. Also great video, I love this channel so much.

  • I had no idea the set designer did plays…it would be impressive onstage, but it totally makes sense why everything felt so crammed in.

  • I saw Hook in theaters when it was released waaaay back in 1991. I was only a kid but I had a blast! The film was just so much fun. And like most true 90s kids, I have very fond and nostalgic memories of this film. ❤

  • I'll never get tired of the allusions to Peter's original identity (his default hands-on-hips stance, his shadow as he fights Hook, his reflection in the water, his hook scar, even his name).

    It hit that "secret identity"/"almost Biblical-levels of destiny" spot that I've always had.

  • Look Hoffman may not be as intimidating as Isaac version of Hook from the 2003 film, but dammit he was a fun villain and sometimes you need fun and memorable villains! And his interactions with Smee were gloriously.

  • Just saying thanks again for an interesting and thought provoking channel. I always enjoy these. Also, I grew up with Hook too and always loved it.

  • Personally, I loved the lost boys reaction shots. It really brought the group to life as individuals. Made it feel like any of them could have been a core character to the story.

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