Combustible Celluloid
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With: Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, Charlie Korsmo, Amber Scott, Laurel Cronin, Phil Collins, Arthur Malet, Isaiah Robinson, Jasen Fisher, Dante Basco, Gwyneth Paltrow, David Crosby, Glenn Close
Written by: Jim V. Hart, Malia Scotch Marmo, based on a story by Nick Castle, Jim V. Hart, and on the books and play by J.M. Barrie
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 144
Date: 12/08/1991

Hook (1991)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Game Pan

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This Steven Spielberg fantasy feels like it's about half magic and wonder and half money and hubris. Many moments are wonderfully touching and heartfelt, but then many other moments feel as if the filmmakers were simply tossing money up in the air to see what happens. (Case in point: the lost boys on skateboards.) It's very long and expensive-looking, in a garish way. Though Robin Williams gets in some lovely moments, he seems a bit lost in the massive set design, which, oddly, looks more like a massive set design than it does an actual place. Julia Roberts was never quite right as Tinker Bell -- she's not "pixieish" enough -- no doubt cast because of her top spot on the "A" list than any other kind of qualifications. But somehow Dustin Hoffman landed in the role of Captain Hook and seems right at home there. The plot has Peter Pan (Williams) all grown up, with kids, and having forgotten all about who he is and where he came from. As with many Spielberg films, he's a bad dad -- too busy with work (he misses his son's baseball game!) -- and must learn how to be a good dad again. When Hook kidnaps his kids, he must travel to Never Never Land, team up with the Lost Boys, and remember who he is, to get them back. Bob Hoskins and Maggie Smith have supporting parts, and lots of people turn up in cameos. Hook was profitable and earned 5 Oscar nominations. Critics did not like it, but it's no doubt dear to the hearts of a generation of viewers.

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