A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hook is a 1991 Steven Spielberg-directed movie in which Robin Williams plays an older version of Peter Pan who must "become young" again to save his kids after Captain Hook kidnaps and takes them to Neverland. The pirates and some situations in this movie may frighten sensitive viewers. Two children are abducted by a villainous storybook pirate and threatened with death. The pirate Hook kills, displays comic suicidal tendencies, and tries to seduce children into hating their father. Peter Pan is kissed on the mouth by several mermaids at the same time. There is a lengthy name-calling exchange between Williams and a young boy, including phrases such as "maggotburger" and "near-sighted gynecologist," culminating in Williams screaming "Eat me!" The lead character takes a large sip of whiskey and stumbles, and there's a reference to drugs. Profanity includes "ass," "bitch," and "hell." When pirates walk through a wharf, there's a brief scene where the madam of a house of ill repute tells her prostitutes to "paint your faces, ladies!"
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Steven Spielberg's 1991 venture follows grown-up Peter Pan (Robin Williams) as he returns to Neverland. Now a hardworking lawyer with three kids and a troubled marriage, Peter heads to London with his brood to visit Granny Wendy (Maggie Smith). Peter is thrown back to his past when Captain HOOK (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps his kids. With help from Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts), middle-aged Peter regains his memory of who he really is (and how to fly) and sets off to Neverland to rescue his children and do battle with his archnemesis, Captain Hook.
Is it any good?
This is a comedy not only spare on laughs but also drenched in Hollywood cheese. What if Peter Pan had to grow up? For those familiar with J.M. Barrie's wonderful literary creation, it's an intriguing question and a great movie premise. Unfortunately, Spielberg and Williams made this movie for their children, seemingly without regard for anyone else's kids, who may not like such a sweet center or dark edges to their entertainment. Neverland fails to look like anything more than what it is: an expensive studio set inhabited by some of the worst-looking pirates ever in movies, including an uncredited Glenn Close sporting a beard.+
Kids may enjoy the racially diverse Lost Boys who rally against those pirates; teens and adults are more likely to find their antics insufferable. As for the stars, Roberts has the appropriate pixie look for Tinkerbell, but Williams as the adult Pan looks far from willowy in his green tights and leafy tunic. The real standout here is Hoffman, who's a surprisingly good Hook but is given woefully little to do other than snarl and rant. But overall, Hook is an overlong hodgepodge with plenty of sparkly magic for kids but too much syrup for older tastes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of Peter Pan. Why is it a classic story?
How is this version of the story different from others you've seen? Do you like the live action take on Peter Pan, or do you prefer the animated original or other versions?
Families may want to use this movie as an opportunity to introduce the book.
- In theaters: December 11, 1991
- On DVD or streaming: September 9, 2003
- Cast: Bob Hoskins, Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Book Characters, Pirates
- Run time: 144 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic intensity and mild violence
- Last updated: February 19, 2020
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