The 1991 cinema disaster Hook 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 followed a slew of clever roasts. 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.”
Granted, I saw this movie when I was a kid so I cannot go back and experience it for the first time as an adult, but all the shade surrounding the film is ridiculous. I cannot imagine what people were expecting from the movie or how it did not live up to the hype. On paper this is a movie about an old Peter Pan who goes back to Neverland to fight an ageless Captain Hook in order to save his children. The idea of taking an IP like Peter Pan and essentially writing fan-fiction on top of it used to be insane (uhm, not anymore but used to be). The fact that it was ever green-lit with the budget it had is strange, even if it was bad. But it’s not.
It looks great. The sets are amazing and we don’t really get to see that a lot, especially now that everything is created digitally (I know this argument is very boring). But hey! I miss Jim Henson, cool puppets and animatronics. What about that big crocodile falling on Captain Hook at the end? Where does he go? 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. You find yourself asking, what else can happen?
I am not saying all the performances are great, but Dustin Hoffman is doing something really fun in that movie. It’s like the most ruthless murderer you’ve ever seen but he’s also…funny? Or, maybe you kind of like him? His outfits are really well designed.
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