by John Hamilton
at 11:30 AM | Permalink
Reviewing lesser-known films that stand the test of time
On Aug. 11, 2014, the world lost one of
its greatest entertainers of the last century — Robin Williams. I can remember
where I was when I heard about his passing. I just got home from my day job as
a security guard at King’s Island, logged onto Facebook and the first thing I
saw was the headline reading “Robin Williams dies at 63.” To say that I was
upset would be putting it lightly.
I think I can say with confidence that
the whole world loved Williams because he touched us with his movies,
television shows and stand-up specials. Of course anyone who grew up in the ‘80s
and ‘90s will list off countless movies that left an impression on them, be it
his game-changing performance in the Disney classic Aladdin (1992, directed by Ron Clements and John Musker) or his
heartfelt and inspiring role in Dead
Poets Society (1989, directed by Peter Weir). But the movie I’ve singled
out this time was a go-to rental for me when I was a kid, when video stores
were still a thing. That film is Steven Spielberg’s Hook (1991).
I’m sure many people are calling
shenanigans on this being a “forgotten” film mainly due to Robin Williams in
the lead role and Steven Spielberg being the director. I would be amongst those
crying outrage as well, but when I began to think about it I realized most fans
know of it only because of the nostalgia factor.
When it comes to listing the best of
Spielberg or Williams, there are other films that would’ve been listed before
this one. Even Spielberg himself had stated that the final product isn’t what
he wanted and that he basically wants someone to remake it. But I can say that
the product we have is a more than suitable film: the story of the workaholic lawyer
Peter Banning (Williams) who ventures off to Neverland to rescue his children
who have been captured by villainous Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman). In that
quest he discovers why his children were kidnapped — Hook did it to draw Peter
Pan back to Neverland and fight him, and it turns out that Bannings is Pan. The
catch is that Peter has forgotten who he is. Throughout the film Peter goes on
a spiritual journey to rediscover who he is and rescue his children with the
help of his ever faithful Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts) and the Lost Boys.
Williams is absolutely flawless in this
role. He perfectly conveys both the uptight and work-centered lawyer and the
childlike energy of the boy who refused to grow up. The lesson he learns in the
end is something that is very logical and is something that should speak to anyone
— while we all must grow up, we mustn’t lose our sense of adventure and wonder.
Peter’s journey to that conclusion is drawn
in comparison to his archenemy Captain Hook. Ironically enough, it’s the adult
who stays at a more immature stand point. In the original J.M. Barrie story,
one could says that Peter is the hero not only because he rescues his friends
from the villain but also because he lives in the moment and doesn’t oppose
over anything, while Hook is all about revenge and will not rest until he has
At the beginning of the film Peter has
his mind set on only one thing and that’s being a lawyer. That singular mindset
leads Wendy (Maggie Smith) to say, “Peter, you’ve become a pirate.”
Peter’s son Jack (Charlie Korsmo)
almost becomes like Hook as well when all he seems focused on is bitterness and
hatred towards his father. Hook focuses on Jack’s anger and uses that as a
weapon against the now aged Peter. But this ties in with another reason why
Hook can be a considered a villain — he lets his anger control his life. Peter
and Jack soon realize how petty and how unfulfilling holding a grudge is.
While I do see a couple problems in the
film, mainly in the script department, I can’t deny the fact that I still find
this film enjoyable and well made to this day. This was also a film that truly
displayed why Williams was so beloved: He made us laugh, cry, and gave us that
warm feeling that we all pine for. I guarantee that in years to come, this
performance — among many others — will be fondly remembered.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Right off the bat in Lincoln,
director Steven Spielberg gives us one of his signature moments, a
framing device in the story that is supposed to be based on historic
facts that smacks of pure invention and threatens to derail our
investment in, not just the individual moment, but the film as a whole.
A look at the 2011 movie slate
0 Comments · Tuesday, January 4, 2011
How about a little forward thinking in 2011? Let’s say goodbye to 2010, at least for a moment (because, like all new year’s resolutions, this one is inevitably doomed to fail) and focus on what is to come, not as the blind wandering around in search of flickering lights in dark art-houses and multiplexes, but with, at the very least, a penlight and an outline of the new horizon.