At the turn of the century, author J. M. Barrie created the beloved character, Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up. But what if Peter actually had grown up into the cynical world of adulthood? Would he be able to remember his fanciful childhood adventures or discard them completely? Such was the premise of the 1991, Steven Spielberg-directed film, Hook. With a star-studded cast, featuring Dustin Hoffman as Capt. Hook, Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell and manic comedian extraordinaire Robin Williams in the starring role, Hook was a fun-filled adventure that brought a dose of mid-life crisis to the faraway world of Neverland.
Somewhere along the way, Peter Banning’s life took a surprising turn towards responsible adulthood. He married the daughter of his childhood friend, Wendy Darling and became a successful lawyer, which often left little time for quality family time. Still, his brood manages to take a trip to London to visit the now-elderly Wendy, who is being honored for her charitable work helping orphans. Unfortunately, Peter has completely forgotten his adventurous childhood, even when his old nemesis with a hooked hand breaks into the home and kidnaps his two children, Jack and Maggie. And, when Wendy fails to jar his memory of Captain Hook, Tinker Bell decides to show up and escort Peter to Neverland.
Upon arriving, Captain Hook is startled to find that his old foe is, well, old. Nonetheless, the pirate is poised to kill the whole family, but Tink convinces him to allow her to train Peter for three days so that they may have a proper duel. Hook agrees and Tinker Bell shuttles Peter off to meet with his old friends, the Lost Boys. They, of course, barely recognize the post-pubescent Peter, and he has no recollection of their common past. Even worse, he has forgotten how to fly. It’s up to Tink to help him find his “happy thought” so that he can take to the skies and lead the Lost Boys into a treacherous battle against the ferocious Hook.
Besides it’s all-star cast, there were plenty of cameos in Hook, although one had to look closely in some cases to spot them. Singer Phil Collins appears as a London Police Officer. David Crosby, Glenn Close and Jimmy Buffet are hiding amongst Hook’s henchmen. And Gwyneth Paltrow appears as the young Wendy as part of a flashback sequence.
And while the Disney-produced Hook didn’t’ exactly capture rave reviews from critics, it mattered little at the box-office, where it eventually grossed over $300 million worldwide. It also garnered five Academy Award nominations. And it has remained popular among kids ever since, and even a few adults who might have wondered if growing up was really all it was cracked up to be.
If you happen to be a fan of this beloved 90s film, we’d love to hear your thoughts in our comments section, as we tip the ol’ hat to this swashbuckling adventure.