Monday, February 26, 2007

A Pan For Fathers

This weekend, as part of my Peter Pan binge (which is more of a long, dragged out obsession than a true binge), I saw Hook. It was very interesting seeing it so soon after having read the original book. I got a lot more references than I would have trying to recall the play from second grade.

While the original Peter Pan had a very definite mother obsession thing going on, this one is an Ode to Dad. It's a very painful story of Peter growing up to be a yuppie who hasn't got time for his kids. Peter ends up fighting Hook, not for anything so petty as life or death, but for the love of his son.

I've read that some think Peter Pan is actually about the fear of death. First you grow up, and then you die. (If you're lucky, it goes in that order.) This version definitely plays that up. The line about death being a great adventure is used three times, once by Peter and twice by the old man, Hook. And this version of the Pan story definitely made me think differently about the clock. Sure Hook was afraid of the sound because it meant the alligator that had swallowed it was coming to kill him. Death! But all clocks measure the passing of time, the dwindling away of our lives. Death!

Though it doesn't seem to have gone over very well with reviewers, Hook is interesting for people who are into Peter Pan. It's also very much a movie for adults, with some pretty heavy (and not very subtle) messages. Don't ignore your kids. Growing up is awful. Being an adult stinks. Being elderly means loosing your marbles like Tootles.

I imagine that back in 1991 there were theaters full of mystified kids sitting next to parents who were sobbing through most of the picture.


fusenumber8 said...

In 1991 I was 13, just on the edge of my childhood. I was quite partial to "Hook" back then. The sets were awful. Just terrible soundstages that the more recent live action "Peter Pan" really put to shame. Still, I remember having the clock = death metaphor explained to me. And I liked Dustin Hoffman.

Gail Gauthier said...

Dustin Hoffman was incredible. I didn't have a clue it was him until about halfway through the movie when I thought to take a look at the video case to see which English actor was playing Hook.

Michele said...

Oh I'm glad someone else enjoyed Hook ! I'm not that much of a fan of Peter Pan and its many variations (having come to it so late), but I enjoyed Hook as I like Robin Williams...