Sunday, 31 August 2014

Hook (1991)

"When are you going to learn to stop acting like a child?"

"I am a child!"

It's rather obvious that the reason I'm blogging this film now is the sad passing of Robin Williams, so it's worth starting with a few words about a comedian and actor of great talent.

I've never been a great fan of Hollywood's popular comedies, which always have the main character learning done heartwarming lesson about family values rather than just, you know, being funny. Robin Williams may have been good at these, being both a superb comic actor and very capable of pathos, but for much if his career he was ill-served by film unworthy of his talents. There are, of course, a good number of quality films starring Williams but his best performance, for me, is a straight role in One Hour Photo.

Hook, although it somewhat fits the definition of a Hollywood comedy as defined above, is nonetheless quite a good film, if not brilliant, because of the spectacle, the sense of wonder that fantasy always brings, and a particularly sublime performance from Williams,who shines here, far outshining the pantomime villainy of Dustin Hoffman, who gets top billing for some reason.

The conceit- a sequel to Peter Pan in which J.M. Barrie simply passed of his neighbour's children's true stories of his own and Peter Pan eventually grows up and becomes a lifeless, Reagan-voting asset stripper who missed the '60s because he was an accountant- is a good one. Yes, he's a bad father as per many such scar actors in such Hollywood films, but the Peter Pan stuff actually makes this interesting. His fear of flying is a nice touch. And Robin Williams brings the role a real depth, far more than is in the script.

This isn't the greatest film ever, but it's fun and, indeed, bangarang. I love the montage with Peter getting his mojo back, and the late Bob Hoskins is great, far outshining Hoffman. Well worth a watch, and nostalgic to see some actual world-building spectacle from the days before widespread CGI.

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