The story of Peter Pan has endured since JM Barrie created the character in the early 1900s, with many adaptations from stage shows to animated blockbusters. But one film, that debuted today in 1991, examines what happened if Peter Pan grew up. And HOOK has just an enduring legacy as the work on which it’s based.
Directed by legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg, HOOK had a number of different permutations before it finally made its way to theaters on Dec. 11, 1991. The director, who openly admits to associating with Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, had worked to get the film made since the mid-1980s. At one point, it was even considered as a musical starring Michael Jackson. While Spielberg eventually walked away from the project, development continued and, in 1989, Spielberg decided to come back to work on the film.
The film expands on the lore created by JM Barrie, imagining a world where Peter Pan decided to leave Neverland and come to London, where he’s taken in by an aged Wendy. Peter (Robin Williams) begins to age himself, becoming an adult, getting married and having kids. He loses the wonder that comes with being young and the rigors of adult life become more important to him than his family. So when Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) returns and kidnaps his kids, Peter has to return to Neverland and recapture that wonder in order to rescue his family.
With the addition of Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell, Bob Hoskins as Smee and Maggie Smith as an older Wendy, HOOK had an amazing cast that managed to produce a fun story while honoring Barrie’s source material. One of my favorite scenes in the film has Peter’s son Jack (played by DICK TRACY‘s Charlie Korsmo) – swayed by Hook’s promises to actually pay attention to him – teaches Hook’s pirates how to play baseball. When one of the pirates tries to steal second, the catcher shoots him. Hoffman, as Hook, continues to delightfully chew the scenery as he does throughout the movie and exclaims, “A very violent sport, isn’t it, baseball?”
It can be…
Of course, Peter finds his way back to being the Pan and learns how and why he lost his way, defeating Hook and reuniting his family. All these years later, the wonder of the film allows its popularity to endure, and HOOK is a regular staple of weekend movies on TV.
What’s you’re favorite part of HOOK? Sound off in the comments!