When I was in the Purple Rage Pep Band (before it was called that), I tried to get all the guys to say Bang-a-Rang whenever The Bears (or Sugar Bears) made a free throw. Sadly, they didn’t go for it. Oh well.
This fun little catch phrase comes from movie number eight on my list. It’s about the adult life of a famous little boy. Now this particular dude didn’t grow up in some boring town on the outskirts of Branson, MO. This guy was born in England and became an orphan when he ran away from his parents. He ran away because he did not want to grow up. And where do children go when they don’t want to grow up? No, not Toys-R-Us. They go to Never-Neverland. And who else is famous for living in Never-Neverland? That’s right . . .
He’s the villain, and what a great villain. He’s one of my favorite villains of all time. But more on that later. First:
Question 1: What If Peter Pan Grew Up?
In a place where anything is possible, who is to say that it’s impossible to leave? Who is to say that Peter Pan, champion of Neverland and slayer of pirates, wouldn’t become a workaholic grow-up running around drawing his archaic cell phone out of its sheath like a sword and sailing across the sea of commerce to conquer weaker companies . . . like a Pirate? This is the problem. You see, Peter Pan does become a grown-up. He forgets. But if you know anything about Peter Pan, this is not surprising. In J. M. Barrie’s original text, Peter is a carefree boy who is always on the lookout for an adventure. Basically, the kid loses interest quickly. He’s ADD, folks. On a trip to see Wendy, he gets distracted, falls in love with her granddaughter, and forgets to go back. He forgets everything. He grows up. He becomes a pirate.
Taking advantage of the situation, our infamous villain swoops in without warning and takes from Peter his most valuable possessions: his children. And it’s a pretty smart move. I mean who wouldn’t do anything to save their kids? Would you engage in a fight to the death with your old Nemesis? Well, that’s what Captain Hook has in mind. But who is this old, hairy man with a checkbook that stands before him? He’s almost unrecognizable. He has no idea who he is. Here’s the twist: in order to save his children, the Man Peter has to remember that he was once the Boy Peter; The Pan. And he’s not the only one. The Lost Boys find it hard to believe that their former leader is a grown-up, because according to Rufio (the new leader), all grown-ups are pirates.
Question 2: How do you pick a pirate?
I don’t know how they do it, these casting directors in charge of finding the right person for the iconic roles in my top ten, but they do it well. I read that Dustin Hoffman was actually the first choice for Capt. Hook, which is amazing to me, because I really don’t know how you can just pick someone to be a pirate. Do they look like a pirate? Do they smell like a pirate? Do they have a pirate-like personality? Well, Dustin Hoffman does not look like a pirate to me (at least out of makeup), but for some reason he fits the role perfectly. And this particular Hook is a throw back to the original Peter Pan novel. You see, J. M. Barrie’s original Hook is a fearsome man who kills men for reasons as simple as being a nuisance to him. I’m not exaggerating! I’m quoting the text. He is said to be the only man Long John Silver feared. (And just for reference, Long John Silver did more than just cook hush puppies. He was . . . unkind to others.) In this film, Capt. Hook is feared and respected. Now, the Captain Hook from Disney’s PETER PAN (1953) is a bit of a coward. He’s always flailing about when he hears the ticking of the crock. He’s fun to laugh at as he’s being chased and his clothes are being eaten, but this Hook is not the real Hook that is the nemesis of Peter Pan. If they had brought back that old buffoon, they wouldn’t have been able to call the movie HOOK. They would have had to change the name to something else like:
THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD PETER PAN
PETER PAN: ATTORNEY AT LAW
Speaking of the hero, did you know that they had to remove hair Robin Williams for this role? Apparently he’s quite furry . . . and it’s a problem.
Question 3: Are some movie reviewers actually pirates?
Finally, some of you may be aware of the rating this movie received on rottentomatoes.com. It was rotten. By that I mean I don’t like it. I could have also meant that it was in fact a “rotten” rating since on a scale of freshness, it received a 22% from the community of viewers and critics. However, I chose to say rotten because such a rating to me does not refl- . . . I digress. Someone said that it lacked the “visual wonder and inventiveness” of previous Spielberg films, which makes me wonder just what kind of “visual wonder” they were looking for. Now, I can see where one guy was coming from when he started cracking on the sword fighting. It’s lacking. I’ll give him that. But again, I wasn’t sitting there watching it thinking, “Man this sword fighting needs some more flying around and jumping so it can look more ludicrous like that sword fight in Pirates 2 where they fight on that wheel that’s rolling through the tropical forest and they don’t fall off.” Never-Neverland can only do so much for an old, arthritic pirate and a lawyer with amnesia. And maybe these crazy people have forgotten what’s like to be a kid, so they just don’t get it.
What I like about this movie is that it is relatable to all ages. If you’re a kid, the message is: Pirates are bad guys. If you’re an adult the message is: Don’t be a pirate. In the beginning you see an uptight guy who really doesn’t understand his kids. He doesn’t remember what it’s like to be one. In the end you see a better man who has embraced his inner child (with a vengeance). That’s really all they’re trying to get us to understand. If we all can remember occasionally what it was like to be a kid, things might be a little easier to handle. But then again, what would the world be like without good ole Captain Hook?