In 1991 Steven Spielberg made Hook. It opened as a critical failure and was considered a box-office flop. Despite making a fifty-million dollar profit, Tristar expressed disappointment in the film’s performance. A quarter of a decade later it sits at a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes and if you ask most people they are not shy about telling you that Hook sucks. I can even remember in the (also failed) cartoon series Clerks a throw away joke where Steven Spielberg is brought into court and made to apologize for how terrible Hook was.
Now, here’s my take: “Uh, no! This movie is good.”
People complain that the performances are bad, the Tinker Bell effects are bad and the overall pacing of the film mixed with magical realism makes it tough to follow. One critic said, “Hook is a huge party cake of a movie, with too much frosting. After the first delicious bite, sugar shock sets in.” – David Ansen (Newsweek).
But here’s the deal, frosting is good and some people like a lot of frosting. I don’t personally, but I do like this movie. And I do like the performances. And I deal with Tinker Bell, but honestly a lot of films have way worse special effects.
Hook looks great. The sets really make you think, I can’t believe someone built all this stuff! I miss Jim Henson, cool puppets and animatronics. What about that big crocodile falling on Captain Hook at the end? Sure, why not?
Also, where does Hook go after the croc falls on his head? He just disappears? These are all very interesting ways to tell a story and should be applauded forever and ever.
The film introduces us to Rufio; a shitty kid who sucks and his hair is terrible. However, in the logic of the film I feel like this is a solid choice. The most brash and terrible bully would lead a group of stupid boys around in the woods. Also, Rufio dies! Captain Hook kills a kid on screen in a kids movie. That was a rough experience for me, in a good way. You really get a sense of how high the stakes are in this magic world because like in life, kids die. It’s like, what else can happen?
I am not saying all the performances are great, but Dustin Hoffman is doing something really fun in that movie. Sociopath. Funny. Murderer. Spoiled baby. All great ways to describe his acting choices. His outfits are really well crafted.
This shouldn’t just be a cult classic. Oh, and while the Rotten Tomatoes score is 30% critically the user score is 76% so there. I’d go check out a film in theaters if it sat at 76%. I think Captain Hook might have a few things to say about those critics.
“The pulling spawn how I despise them.” – Captain Hook