Nostalgia November: Hook
by G.C. Rodriguez
Hook is easily my favorite Robin Williams movie. Is it his best? Is it his funniest? No. But it's my favorite and I remember fondly seeing this movie in the theaters with my late Grandmother. She bought it for me on VHS when it came out at Blockbuster (because I bugged her about it every day for a week when it came out). And since I got passed over to write my favorite movies list (seriously, Frank Landau? That old man gets to make picks and I get nothing...what a joke), I'll gladly take my turn with Hook.
There is so much going on in this movie that makes it terrific. We all know the story, but humor me as I give it a brief recap:
Boring, career obsessed, child neglecting Peter Banning is in England to see his wife's grandmother (Wendy) receive a life time achievement award for her work with orphans. While the adults are at the banquet, the Banning children are abducted in their sleep by an unseen force. When the parents return and are horrified to see what has happened, they see a "ransom" note penned by none other than Captain Hook. It is at this point that Grandma Wendy reveals that Peter Banning is none other than Peter Pan himself, with Grandma Wendy being the original girl he took to Neverland all those years ago. Peter refuses to believe it and does what any well adjusted adult would do, drinks himself stupid.
That night, Tinkerbell flies to London and tries to convince Peter of his identity. This fails as he thinks he's hallucinating. So Tink does what any reasonable pixie would do: she assaults Peter then knocks him out and shanghais him to Neverland.
Once Peter wakes up and realizes he is in Neverland and it's not a hangover, he finds that Captain Hook has his kids. The only way he can save them is if he fights the one handed pirate to the death in 3 days time. Tinkerbell assures Hook that she will have Peter in fighting shape as, at this point, he is paunchy and doesn't even believe he is, in fact Peter Pan. But fine-ass Julia Roberts and her band of missing children will fix that, won't she?
The movie, that got critically panned, has some truly touching and intense moments (for something that is essentially about a creepy old man and his gang of pirates trying to stab children with swords). The Lost Boys look at the 30-something, flabby Peter and insist he can't be Peter Pan. There's no way this old man is their former compatriot. But one little boy stays back. He looks at Peter, takes his glasses off, squishes his face until he gets a smile and says "Oh there you are Peter!" That never made me tear up or anything...it was dust or light in my eyes or something...SHUT UP!
Other moments of note:
- Jack, Peter's son, showing his frustration and sadness at his father never being there for him
- Peter finding the old tree house hideout and remembering everything. And when he finally gets his happy thought and goes flying through the sky (the John Williams score sells it) and crows with all of the Lost Boys. If you don't smile during this scene, you're one of them non-feeling robits from the FUTURE!
- Rufio getting baited into fighting Hook in that creepy pedo-voice("Rufio...RoooFeeOH") and then taking a blade to the heart and saying to Peter "my wish was that I had a Dad like you." Damn, Rufio...you win our hearts by being all cool and mohawk-y and sullen teenager and then you die...
- Peter's final conversation with the Lost Boys. The one kid saying "you're leaving forever, and forgetting about us all over again," and then Thud getting the Sword of Pan as the new leader of the Lost Boys.
- Toodles gets his bag of marbles in the end. The look on his face as he exclaims "Wendy, look! I didn't loose my marbles after all!" is priceless.
This movie defines nostalgia for me. Any time I think of it, I remember the movie theater trip, watching this with my little brother in our basement or hanging out with high school friends after school and enjoying this classic. We unfortunately lost Robin Williams recently but watching this movie just reminds me of how great he was. As an adult, I can see why they chose him for this role; no actor could possibly have portrayed both scary, butt-hole father and child who never grows up all in the same role. Instead of being saddened by his loss, I am just thankful for what he gave us.