Monday, March 21, 2016

'Hook' Me Up

Five years ago I reviewed ten teen movies that came out when I was a teen. (I reviewed them in April and May of 2011 so you can check them out in the archives if you so desire). I decided it was about that time to review ten more movies with a theme and this time, I thought, why not go with ten movies all from the same year? For a lot of cinemaphiles, I know that 1994, 1999 and 2007 are huge movie years. (Just between you and me, while there are certainly movies from 2007 that I like, I never saw it as a huge movie year). I almost thought of reviewing ten movies from '99, but decided not to since it already gets a lot of attention (perhaps another time though?) I wanted to do a year that has a lot of great movies, but also never really gets talked about that much as a great movie year.

The year I chose was 1991. Yes, good old nineteen hundred and ninety one. While I do remember seeing movies in the theater prior to this year, this was the first year I remember seeing quite a few movies in the theater. A lot of these choices do have some nostalgia factor towards my childhood (like the one I'm reviewing below). There are a few I will review that I didn't see in the theater because I was way too young, but did eventually see them later and really liked them. There are even a few that I will be seeing for the very first time (like a certain Oscar winning movie!) Just click on the "1991" tag after you read this review and check out some of the other AMAZING movies from 1991 that I've already reviewed such as Terminator 2, Thelma and Louise, Beauty and the Beast, Fried Green Tomatoes, JFK, and The Prince of Tides. (Well, maybe that last one isn't so amazing, they can't all be great movies. But even that movie has a certain 1991-ness to it, for a lack of a better word).

So let's hop into the DeLorean and go back to 1991 for the next ten reviews! Our first stop is...

Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Smith, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Charlie Korsmo
Released: December 11, 1991

Oscar nominations:

Best Art Direction - Set Direction (lost to Bugsy)
Best Costume Design (lost to Bugsy)
Best Sound Effects Editing (lost to Terminator 2)
Best Makeup (lost to Terminator 2)
Best Song - "When You're Alone" by John Williams and Leslie Bricusse (lost to "Beauty and the Beast" by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman)

While I remember seeing this movie in the theater, I really don't remember what I thought of it. I don't have any recollection of loving it, but I also don't remember hating it. I'm sure I thought it was long because I was surprised to find out when I watched it on Netflix last week that  it was two hours and twenty one minutes. That seems a bit long for a movie aimed at kids. Not that it's just for kids, but I guess it's a family movie. I definitely feel like there are places you could trim 21 minutes so you just have a nice, even two hour movie.

There have been a ton (probably over a ton) of Peter Pan adaptations for film and TV. To be honest, I think Hook is the only one I've seen...I don't think I've even seen the actual Disney animated Peter Pan movie that's from 1953. Well, I probably have seen it but don't remember since I was probably a kid when I last saw it. And I did see that season of Once Upon a Time when they did a storyline about Peter Pan. And I also saw Finding Neverland, but wasn't that more about the author? Well, the point I'm trying to make is that I'm not really a Peter Pan fan. However, I do like the concept of Hook which is what if Peter Pan grew up? In this world, Peter Pan is Peter Banning (Robin Williams) and he is married to Wendy's granddaughter. He's a lawyer (I guess that's why he had to change the last name or otherwise nobody would take him seriously!) and has two kids, Jack and Maggie. The catch is that Peter doesn't remember who he really is. His daughter's school puts on a production of Peter Pan and that doesn't ring any bells for him. He doesn't go around bragging to his kids how he used to live in Neverland with the Lost Boys, pirates, and mermaids. (If he did, they'd probably think he was insane!) Instead he has become someone who is so wrapped up in his work and doesn't have time to go to his kids events. He promised his son he would attend his baseball game, but wasn't able to because of work.

"Peter, you've become a pirate!" 
He and his family fly to London to attend an event honoring Grandma Wendy (Maggie Smith) for her charity work with orphanages. Wendy is 95 and while watching this, I was thinking, wow, Maggie Smith looks like she was in her 80s when she filmed this...but I knew that was impossible because this movie was filmed 25 years ago and that would mean she would be well over 100 and I know she is not that old! (A quick look at Wiki told me she's currently 81). She was actually 56 when she filmed Hook and was made up to look older. I had no idea who Maggie Smith was until she played Professor McGonagall, so I'm sure I believed that a 95 year old woman was playing that part when I saw it as a kid! Wendy remembers who he is and is aghast when he yells at his kids for bothering him when he's on the phone. I have to side with him on this one; there's nothing more annoying than when you're trying to talk on the phone and the people in the same room as you can't give you the respect you need!

When Jack and Maggie are kidnapped by Hook (Dustin Hoffman) while Peter and his wife are at the event with Wendy, Wendy has to remind Peter of who he is by showing him the book his story is  based on. Of course, he doesn't believe her. Later that night we see a small glowing object that we all know is Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts) flutter in, trying to get his attention, but annoyed and thinking it's a really big firefly, Peter takes a rolled up newspaper and starts swatting her. Luckily (and for some odd reason), Tinkerbell has the strength of the Hulk and grabs the newspaper and starts swatting at him! For a movie that is a quarter of a century old, the effects of fairy Julia Roberts in contrast with life-size Robin Williams still hold up. There's some pretty clever gags such as she makes her home in a doll house. The one thing I found weird about Tinkbell is that they altered her voice. At least, I think they altered her voice. It sounds very squeaky. There's no way that was Julia's real voice! They must have wanted it to sound more like it was coming from a fairy. With her super-human strength, Tinkerbell flies to Neverland, carrying a passed out Peter Pan in a blanket.

The set of Neverland looks like it would be really fun to play on, like if it was a big playground, but it looks like it would be a pain in the ass if you were working on this movie. There's a lot of extras (which include many kids who are NOT good actors!) and there's just so much stuff going on all the time. Hook wants to have a duel with Peter in order for him to get his kids back and when Peter takes out what Hook thinks is a weapon, it's actually his checkbook and he asks Hook how much he wants for their return. Tinkerbell tells Hook that Peter needs three days of training in order to regain his memory and then they can have their real duel and Hook agrees to these terms.

Tinkerbell takes them to the Lost Boys who are all making fun of him because he's old and out of shape. They really don't have the right to call him out on the latter because one of the Lost Boys is downright fat and needs exercise way more than Peter! However, Peter slowly starts to remember who he is (and he can fly!). Now when someone wants to fly, all they have to do is think of one happy thought and they will soon be soaring in the air. To no one's surprise, Peter's happy thought is his children. Duh. Who didn't see that one coming? However, Hook has gotten to Jack (Charlie Korsmo) first and is trying to make him into a mini-Hook. Also, if you think Jack looks familiar, he would later go on to star in Can't Hardly Wait (part of my ten teen movies that came out when I was a teen - look at that, full circle!)  as the nerdy teen who wants to take revenge on a bullying jock at a party, but instead ends up getting drunk and singing a Guns 'n Roses song.

By this time, you're getting a little tired and thinking, Okay, it's time to wrap up. Peter has gotten back his children and now all he has to do is defeat Hook....but we get two psyche outs where we think he's going to, but doesn't, because he doesn't want to kill someone in front of his children, I guess? IDK. But on the third attempt (ugh!), it's SuperWoman aka Tinkerbell who kills the pirate by dropping a huge statue of a crocodile on him. Peter is able to fly him and his children home. Thank God...I was sick of being in Neverland! They are reunited with Grandma Wendy and the wife/mother and everyone is happy. I think Peter even quits his job, but I can't remember for sure, but it seems like something he would do.

Oh, here's a fun film fact: this film was Gwyneth Paltrow's debut. She has a ten second role as young Wendy. She still looks exactly the same. However, I doubt she will grow up to be as cool as Maggie Smith (she didn't!). Have you ever visited Gwynnie's site, I was snooping over there for poops and laughs and it just made me roll my eyes! Apparently she thinks women (I say women because pretty much everything on there is geared towards females) who follow her are all rich....and maybe they are. You can buy stuff on her site, but it's so expensive! She sells these "dusts" that range from $55-$65. There's "moon dust", "brain dust", "spirit dust", "sex dust".... what is this stuff? I mean, nobody actually buys this crap and believes it works, right? RIGHT?!??! There's a recipe for a "morning smoothie" and it begins with reasonable ingredients like almond butter and and almond milk, but then it says you need one of those "dusts"...who the eff is going to pay for a $60 smoothie??? Not to mention some of the other ingredients include things called "ashwagandha" (which is $17) and "cordyceps" (which is $35). Not to mention all the other ingredients. I bet this smoothie comes out to almost $1000! So ridiculous. Go away, Gwynnie the Pooh! Nobody needs you or your stupid, expensive smoothies and "dusts!"

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Hook has its fun moments, but is way too bloated (like that fat kid!) I really can't compare it to other Peter Pan movies because I haven't seen any of them. I suppose it's better than the one that came out recently because I heard that one is just plain awful. However, I'm not sure how it compares to the one with Jason Isaacs.

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