It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
The ads for Steven Spielberg’s "Hook" ask the question, "What if Peter Pan grew up?" but the answer, alas, is that then he would probably star in a lugubrious retread of a once-magical idea. A movie very much like this one, in which "Peter Banning" is a busy executive with more time for his cellular phone than for his children, until fate launches him back once again into combat with Captain Hook.
Robin Williams plays the harassed businessman, and Maggie Smith is the old granny who’s able to suggest the most wonderful possibilities when she whispers, "Peter, dear - don't you know who you are?" Actually, he can't remember a thing that happened before he was 12, but Hook can and kidnaps Banning’s two children because he wants to lure Peter back to Neverland for a rematch.
The sad thing about the screenplay for "Hook" is that it’s so correctly titled: This whole construction is really nothing more than a hook on which to hang a new version of the Peter Pan story. No effort is made to involve Peter’s magic in the changed world he now inhabits, and little thought has been given to Captain Hook’s extraordinary persistence in wanting to revisit the events of the past.
The opening of the film promises more. Spielberg sets the scene in modern-day America, where the executive lifestyle leaves no time for fathers to spend with children. Then Robin Williams takes his wife and children back to London to visit Granny Wendy, who adopted him as an orphan, and as the kids sleep in the very same bedroom where the original story began, we get the Spielberg visual trademark of the blinding light on the other side of the rattling window: The promise of magic, just outside.