Hook (1991)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: James V Hart, Nick Castle, Malia Scotch Marmo (Screenplay) J.M. Barrie (Books)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, Charlie Korsmo, Amber Scott

 

Plot: When Captain Hook kidnaps his children, an adult Peter Pan must return to Neverland and reclaim his youthful spirit in order to challenge his old enemy.


Tagline – What if Peter Pan grew up?

Runtime: 2 Hours 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun-Filled Fantasy

 

Story: Hook starts as we meet businessman Peter Banning (Williams) who has started over working leading to his children become distant, his wife Moira (Goodall) forces him to visit his Granny Wendy (Smith) in London for Christmas, where she sees how much Peter has changed since his childhood of never wanting to grow up.

Captain Hook (Hoffman) takes Peter’s children, which sees Peter needing to be pushed into returning to Neverland, a place he has long forgotten about, with Tinkerbell (Roberts) taking him there only for Hook to be left disappointed by the man Peter has become, Tinkerbell has three days to restore Peter’s faith in Neverland to save his children.

 

Thoughts on Hook

 

Characters – Peter Banning is a lawyer that has been neglecting his family, his Grandmother sees him losing his young heart that made her take him in, in the first place, Peter must confront his past to save his children from his old nemesis Captain Hook in Neverland, a place he has long since forgotten about. Peter has become everything he once hated as a child and shows how at times parents can get buried in their work. Captain Hook has been waiting for the day Peter Pan returns, he is left disappointed when he does return a shell of the boy that left, giving him three days to prepare for a battle, while having his own plan to get revenge on Peter. Tinkerbell comes to Peter to bring him back to Neverland, she helps transform him back to his original self, while showing him what he is still fighting for.

PerformancesRobin Williams was a great choice for this role, he gets to manages the serious adult side of everything as well as the playful side of Peter Pan with ease being able to swap between the two whenever he needs to. Dustin Hoffman as the villainous Hook has great enjoyment in this role where he does get to play along with his character. Julia Roberts does all she needs to do without being as involved as the lead too.

StoryThe story follows an older Peter Pan that must return to Neverland to save his own children after his old nemesis Captain Hook takes them there. This spin on the Peter Pan story is a wonderful on because see Peter grown up becoming everything he promised he wouldn’t shows us just how difficult being an adult can be, you will turn your back on parts of your childhood become what you once feared. This was always the meaning behind Peter Pan in the first place, finding an escape from the busy lives, now an adult must use this to save his own relationship with his children and family, which is what is important in life.

Adventure/Comedy/FantasyThe adventure side of the film takes Peter to Neverland to relive moments of his childhood in a fantasy battle against pirates with fairies on their side. We do get elements of comedy, but even Robin Williams is held back from going into his full routine like we saw in Aladdin.

SettingsThe film uses the same settings that we know from Peter Pan, the London setting might well be a more modern one, but Neverland hasn’t aged a day since Peter has left.


Scene of the Movie –
The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Pop culture references.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical version of Peter Pan’s adventures showing how life can change for adults who never thought they would be when they were children.

 

Overall: Magical adventure.

Rating

 

 

Jakob the Liar (1999)

Director: Peter Kassovitz

Writer: Peter Kassovitz, Didier Decoin (Screenplay) Jurek Becker (Novel)

Starring: Robin Williams, Hannah Taylor Gordon, Bob Balaban, Alan Arkin, Liev Schreiber

 

Plot: In 1944 Poland, a Jewish shop keeper named Jakob is summoned to ghetto headquarters after being caught out near curfew. While waiting for the German Kommondant, Jakob overhears a German radio broadcast about Russian troop movements. Returned to the ghetto, the shopkeeper shares his information with a friend and then rumors fly that there is a secret radio within the ghetto. Jakob uses the chance to spread hope throughout the ghetto by continuing to tell favorable tales of information from “his secret radio.” Jakob, however, has a real secret in that he is hiding a young Jewish girl who escaped from a camp transport train. A rather uplifting and slightly humorous film about World War II Jewish Ghetto life.


Tagline –  He will make you believe.

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong, but Not Impactful Enough

 

Story: Jakob the Liar starts in Poland and the Jewish ghetto during World War II, Jakob (Williams) a pancake salesman is trying to avoid the curfew and while being accused of failing to follow the instruction he over hears the radio announcing the Russians are coming, he saves a young girl Lina (Gordon) the world spreads around the ghetto that the Russians are coming with Jakob giving them hope.

As the stories continue to grow Jakob learns he can no longer tell the truth because it will only leave the people with no hope and if he continues his lies he will give them false hope which might put the lives of fellow residents at risk.

 

Thoughts on Jakob the Liar

 

Characters – Jakob is one of the Jews confined the ghettos in Poland during World War II, he keeps his head down with his connection, until one day he makes the story up of hearing the Russians are coming which lifts the moral in the ghetto, only for everyone there wanting to listen to his radio, the one he doesn’t have, but he can’t tell the truth because it will bring back the suicides in the ghetto. The rest of the character we meet are the residents of the ghetto and a young girl Lina that has escaped the transport trains, they all see hope in Jakob’s stories.

PerformancesRobin Williams in the leading role does nail the accent, get his moments of humour and heart, but sadly it is hard to take the film seriously when you are waiting for a laugh even for the sensitive subject. The rest of the cast are good even if we are turning to Robin slightly too much through the film.

StoryThe story is a difficult one to watch with a humorous tone because it was a horrendous time in history, we know what happened to the Jews and how they were forced to live. Now saying this, how the Jews were given hope from the stories of Jakob does help the hellish life they were living through, but watching things get out of control does play into the what makes the story interesting to watch. This is a story that doesn’t balance the sensitive subject very well though which disappoints.

WarThe film is set in the war time, we get to see the conditions Jews were forced to live through for the most part, but not the conflict.

SettingsThe settings do make us believe we are there with the victims of the time which can be hard to watch like always.


Scene of the Movie –
Battling what to do.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too humorous in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting idea for the how Jews would try to improve moral in a difficult time, but end sup being too humorous for the subject matter.

 

Overall: Not on the leave of the best holocaust movies.

Rating

 

 

Robin Williams Weekend – R.V.: Runaway Vacation (2006)

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Geoff Rodkey (Screenplay)

Starring: Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, Joanna ‘Jojo’ Levesque, Josh Hutcherson, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth

 

Plot: Bob Munro and his dysfunctional family rent an RV for a road trip to the Colorado Rockies, where they ultimately have to contend with a bizarre community of campers.


Tagline – One family. Eight wheels. No brakes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Serviceable Comedy

 

Story: R.V.: Runaway Vacation starts as businessman Bob (Williams) is facing the reality of seeing his kids about to start preparing for their next steps in life, he decides to cancel their Hawaii vacation to take them across country in an RV. Bob must convince his wife Jamie (Hines) and children Cassie (JoJo) and Carl (Hutcherson) this trip is going to be good.

As their journey continues we get the usual series of mishaps along the way as Bob is fighting to keep his job by secretly doing his work while the others sleep, just what else can happen in the family’s adventure.

 

Thoughts on R.V.: Runaway Vacation

 

Characters – Bob Munro is an officer worker always on his boss’s good side, his family is growing up and about to move on with their lives and he decides to take them on a cross country trip to keep his job. Jamie is his wife that isn’t happy about losing the Hawaii vacation but understands he wants to spend time with his family. Cassie and Carl are the children with their own growing up problems that Bob has been ignoring for the most part.

PerformancesRobin Williams is the main star of the movie, he gets to do a watered-down version of his comedy which is serviceable for the film. Going into the supporting cast we don’t get too much that stands out as most of them are playing off what Williams does.

StoryThe story follows a family vacation in an RV which takes them on a series of unfortunate events. The story does feel weak for the family growing dynamic because too much of the movie is focused on the father’s problems rather then looking at how the family needs to come together. This will pass as a comedy level story which is fine and never becomes the importance a lighter comedy could achieve.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy is hit or miss, it is mostly material we have seen before and even with Williams in the leading role, it doesn’t always hit.

SettingsThe film takes us across parts of America which is fine, we get the beauty spots in certain places.


Scene of the Movie –
The reason why the trip happens.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The weakness of the comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t the best comedy, it has moments but in the end it will become one that you do end up forgetting.

 

Overall: Forgettable comedy for the most part.

Rating

 

 

Robin Williams Weekend – Dead Poets Society (1989)

Director: Peter Weir

Writer: Tom Schulman (Screenplay)

Starring: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen, Dylan Kussman, Allelon Ruggiero

 

Plot: English teacher John Keating inspires his students to look at poetry with a different perspective of authentic knowledge and feelings.


Tagline – He was their inspiration. He made their lives extraordinary.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Greatest Movies

 

Story: Dead Poets Society starts as the new school year is starting at an elite boarding school for boys, Todd Anderson (Hawke) is following in his brother’s footsteps by attending, shy and not fitting in with the others. Neil Perry (Leonard) is the charismatic leader of a study group, following his father’s instruction to become a doctor, he welcomes Todd into their group.

The English teacher is a former student John Keating (Williams) who uses different methods to get his message over, including letting the boys know about his former club, ‘The Dead Poets Society’ this gives the boys a chance to experience poetry, both reading and writing, giving the boys a life lesson, no teacher could ever teach them.

 

Thoughts on Dead Poets Society

 

Characters – John Keating is the English teacher that has returned to the school he attended to teach the boys. He has unorthodox methods to teach life lessons to show them that learning doesn’t have to be boring, it can be enlightening. Todd Anderson is the shy new guy in the school, he is taken under the wing by the confident Neil and with both Neil and John motivating him to come out of his shell, he becomes the boy with the potential. Neil Perry is the class leader of the students, he is confident even though he is living the life his father wants him to, the father than has control over him, he pushes by following his own dreams of being an actor, showing the pressure a parent can put on their children.

PerformancesRobin Williams was at the peak of his talents here, he shines in his role which isn’t as loud as previous films, he keeps his performance restrained which is needed to be the leader his character it to the boys. Ethan Hawke is good in this movie, he did break out with his performance of a character that is the one that needs to come out of his shell the most. Robert Sean Leonard is wonderful, he shows the strength around the fellow students and the weakness around his father, which gives us the perfect example of the pressure his character would be feeling.

StoryThe story follows the one teacher that wanted to teach his students to follow their dreams, show their potential to the world, instead of just being part of the system. We follow part of the year which shows how John Keating inspires the boys to go come out of their shells, one to become the person he is hiding from, another to go against his father’s wishes, one to stand up against the whole system and one to be able to show his love for a girl. This shows us that not everything needs to be by the book and different directions can help people learn more than ever before.

ComedyThe comedy for the film helps take the film to a light-hearted nature instead of just being a serious drama which is what John Keating is trying to show the boys, life isn’t all serious.

SettingsThe film takes part in the boarding school, this shows the rules and regulation the boys are being taught to follow, which gets reflected in how the boys are being taught differently by Keating.


Scene of the Movie –
Oh Captain, My Captain!

That Moment That Annoyed Me I hate these types of schools.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the great movies of the 80’s one of the best of Robin Williams career and one that should inspire all to achieve greatness.

 

Overall: Simply Great.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – J – Jumanji (1995)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor, Jim Strain (Screenplay) Chris Van Allsburg (Book)

Starring: Robin Williams, Jonathan Hyde, Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce, Bonnie Hunt, Bebe Neuwirth

 

Plot: When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped for decades in it and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.


Tagline – Roll the dice and unleash the excitement!

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Adventure

 

Story: Jumanji starts when a bullied young Alan Parrish finds a mysterious game called Jumanji he joins Sarah to play the game, he gets sucked into the game where he must wait for someone to rolls a 5 or 8 to release him.

26 years later orphaned children Judy (Dunst) and Peter (Pierce) move into the same house with their Aunt Nora (Neuwirth), the two discover the game and start playing, releasing Alan (Williams) from the game. Realizing there is only one way to fix the problems they have created, they must finish the game and bring Sarah (Hunt) back from her once nightmare.

 

Thoughts on Jumanji

 

Characters – Alan Parrish was a bullied school boy, trapped in the jungle for 26 years, he returns to him home town to finish the game he started. He is the best line of defence against everything that comes out of the game. He does have daddy issues because of how his father felt distant to him, he will learn to be the father figure he wants as the film continues. Sarah was the friend that joined Alan in the game, she has spent years in therapy to learn that it wasn’t real, forced to face the truth and play the game. Judy and Peter are the orphans forced to move town that just so happen to move into the old Parrish house, they have different ways to deal with the grief of losing their parents.

PerformancesRobin Williams was the star of this movie, he was at his peak of family films and gets to have plenty of fun in this role as a character that never grew up. Bonnie Hunt is good as the traumatised character facing her fears. Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce do a good job in the children roles

StoryThe story follows one young man that gets sucked into a board game only to be released as an adult, which will see him need to guide the rest of the players to finish the game. The story plays out like you need an adventure movie, as each enemy becomes deadlier for players and has a large variety of different potential effects. It is easy to follow and does touch on personal problems the characters have, Alan with his father problems, Sarah dealing with what she saw and the children dealing with the grief of losing their own parents.

Action/Adventure/FamilyThe action we see fits in hand in hand with adventure side of the movie as we have chase sequences and battles against the enemies. This does play into the family themes well too which is to see an unlikely family dynamic working together after their own personal problems.

SettingsThe film takes place in New England town, it works for the film because of how the random creatures coming out of the game would never be seen there.

Special EffectsThe effects are the weakest part of the movie because most of them have dated in a bad way.


Scene of the Movie –
Realizing he is becoming his father.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The tasteless gun shop scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great fun movie that will keep you entertained from start to finish, it is one that is a must for the fans of the genre and Robin Williams.

 

Overall: Watch and enjoy with the family.

Rating