Hook

Hook (1991) ⭐️⭐️⭐️ if you’re a kid ⭐️⭐️

Director: Steven Spielberg Cast: Dustin HoffmanRobin WilliamsJulia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, Charlie Korsmo

You know what I am like. Even under torture I will not say anything bad about Spielberg, but we’ve got to be honest about it: “Hook” is not very good and it is certainly one of the misfires in his filmography. I even had the guts to joke with him about it when I met him back in 2015 and I told him that I was bias I was about his films and that “I even liked Hook” , which made the whole auditorium witnessing our conversation )and Tom Hanks) break into a big laugh… Clearly I wasn’t alone in thinking that this was pretty weak film.

It is one of those examples where everything is so over-produced and turned up to 11 that it just overwhelmed everything else. And so, despite the huge sets, the stellar cast, the massive budget somehow Spielberg forgot how to make it feel magical. Even the flying sequence to Neverland and the transformation into Peter Pan felt flat to me, and that’s despite John Williams’ rousing score (though even the good old Williams has one of his worst cues in this film: that terrible 80s/early 90s track over the scenes with Robin WIlliams as a businessman in the beginning).

Hook is chaotic, loud, not funny enough or slapstick enough to be a good comedy, not adventurous enough to be a good action flick. It’s a puerile film where adults roll their eyes… Spielberg himself always lamented that it should have made it into a musical, he didn’t have confidence in the script and the more insecure he felt about it, the bigger and more colourful the sets became, which probably explains why the film feels so bloated in every way (even in its running time: an interminable 144 minutes).

One of the many problems of the film is (bizarrely) its cast: Dustin Hoffman looks like he’s in a school pantomime, overacting his socks off but never really bringing any sense of menace to the part. Also for a film called “Hook” he’s actually very little on screen too (that is clearly a problem with the script).Julia Roberts seems to belong to another film altogether and clearly acting alone in front of blue screens made her feel even more of an outcast. But the biggest mistake of all for me was to cast Robin Williams and not let him go wild as Robin Williams used to do and not use any of his comedic skills and timings. In fact here Spielberg actually uses him just as he would use any other actor: a complete waste of his talent.

Luckily there are some Spielbergian touches here and there which eventually make it all just about worthwhile: the mystery of the kidnapping of the kids at the start is well played, all kids are all particularly good (confirming Spielberg as one of the best at casting and directing children), some of the camera movements and the blocking of the actors are obviously beautifully choreographed as you would expect.

All the money spent is certainly on the screen and the sets and special effects are quite something…. so much so that it all went out control. Having said all that, I don’t think I know a single child under 12 who doesn’t love this movie.

My 8 years old son seemed to enjoy it, if his loud comments and shouts at the screen are anything to go by.

Hard to believe that only 2 years after this both Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List would come and the director’s reputation as one of the best at his game would be restored and this would be slowly brushed under the carpet.

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