is Steven Spielberg's most spectacular film of the 90s. It is also seriously underrated, arguably the equal of ET
, (1982) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind
, (1977). An unofficial sequel to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan
adopts the startling premise of what happened after "the boy who never grew up", grew up. Robin Williams, in his career best performance, is the corporate suit forced to remember he once was "The Pan", returning to Neverland to battle nefarious Captain Hook (a splendid Dustin Hoffman), for his children's love.
This is a ravishingly beautiful, stunningly designed film, at once highly imaginative and with a genuinely magical atmosphere which ranges from exquisite, delicate fantasy to slapstick tomfoolery. There is fine support from Maggie Smith, Julia Roberts and Bob Hoskins, and John Williams' rapturously romantic score is yet another career high. Slated upon release, and dubbed a flop though it grossed $200 million, Hook reacted against the "greed is good" 80s by upholding family values and responsibility while evoking a genuine sense of wonder. Only the somewhat pantomime final showdown disappoints, but alongside Legend, (1985)and Labyrinth, (1986), Hook is ripe for reassessment as a fantasy classic. The DVD transfer is superb and the disc, though not packed with additional features, has some interesting extras. --Gary S. Dalkin