The Big Picture

  • Cameos by George Lucas and Carrie Fisher in
    Hook
    add to its charm.
  • Hook
    ‘s mix of adult themes with childlike wonder showcases Steven Spielberg’s skill and enduring appeal.
  • Lucas and Fisher’s friendship with Spielberg dates back to the 70s, and their collaborations have enriched cinema.


Steven Spielberg is without a doubt one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and almost certainly defined what audiences have come to expect from massive works of spectacle. Jaws may have been the first film to coin the phrase “summer blockbuster,” but Spielberg continued to work on ambitious epics in the subsequent decades with his work on Jurassic Park and the Indiana Jones franchise. While it’s not always considered to be among his best, Spielberg’s reinvention of the Peter Pan mythology in Hook was a massive commercial success in 1991. Among its many qualities, Hook features cameo appearances by George Lucas and Carrie Fisher.


It may be easy to overlook the appearances by Lucas and Fisher in Hook, as the film was already a star-studded affair. The great Robin Williams gave a whimsical performance as a much older Peter Pan who returns to Neverland, and Dustin Hoffman’s scene-stealing performance as the titular villain is one of the most hilariously absurd villains of the 1990s. The film is also stacked with cameos by other industry veterans, including Glenn Close as a pirate captain and Phil Collins as a detective. While their appearances may have been overlooked for many years, only coming to light 25 years after the film was released, Lucas and Fisher’s roles in Hook are further proof why the film is worth revisiting.


Poster for the movie Hook

Hook

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Hook stars Robin Williams as Peter Banning, a harried American lawyer who, after his children are kidnapped by Captain Hook, finds out that he is Peter Pan, having lost his memories of Neverland. In order to rescue his children, Peter must find his childlike spirit of adventure and regain his memories as he does battle with Hook and his crew. Dustin Hoffman stars alongside Williams as Captain Hook, along with Julia Roberts, Maggie Smith, and Charlie Korsmo.

Release Date
April 10, 1991

Director
Steven Spielberg

Runtime
144


Who Do George Lucas and Carrie Fisher Play in ‘Hook’?

Hook took a novel approach to the Peter Pan mythology by questioning the inherent qualities of the hero. While Peter Pan had been granted the gift of eternal childhood, Hook examined what would happen if he chose to give up magic to have a normal life and family. Although watching the once joyful hero suffer through the mundanity of adulthood can be distressing, Hook gives Peter the chance to acquaint himself with magic when Tinker Bell (Julia Roberts) flies into London and begins sprinkling fairy dust around the city. Lucas and Fisher appear as a couple embracing on a bridge after being enchanted by Tinker Bell’s magic. They begin to float up the river, and seem surprised by the miraculous spell.


Although it’s fun to see two industry veterans pop up to give brief performances, the bridge sequence in Hook fulfills an important role in the narrative. Hook questions how much of the Peter Pan mythology is actually “real,” and whether some of the memories are a result of childhood sensationalism. By showing that Tinker Bell’s magic is applicable in the real world, Spielberg established an internal logic to the way that the mythology worked. It also showed a playful side to Tinker Bell, which is made all the more charming thanks to Roberts’ charismatic performance.

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Hook isn’t the first time that Lucas and Fisher have made cameo appearances in major projects, as they both have a history of popping up in unexpected roles. Lucas had previously cameoed as a missionary in Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and also popped up as a “disappointed husband” in Beverly Hills Cop III. Fisher has tended to be more obvious in her cameos. She portrayed a fictionalized version of herself in such films as Maps to the Stars, Scream 3, Fanboys, Lisa Picard Is Famous, and several installments in Kevin Smith’s “View Askewniverse.”

Lucas and Fisher Have a Long Friendship With Steven Spielberg

He may be best known for his contributions to the Star Wars franchise, but Lucas has a longstanding friendship with Spielberg that originated during the original 1977 film’s production. Spielberg offered Lucas advice on how to save the film in the editing room, which proved to be greatly beneficial to its success. Subsequently, the pair worked together on the Indiana Jones franchise. Over the years, Spielberg and Lucas have frequently incorporated Easter eggs homaging each other’s work. After Spielberg incorporated a piece of John Williams’ musical score from The Empire Strikes Back in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Lucas inserted a group of “E.T.”-like aliens in the Senate scene in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.


In addition to appearing in the film, Fisher worked as an uncredited script doctor on Hook, and helped to improve the female characterization and dialogue. Fisher had many iconic screen roles, but later earned a reputation for helping save films in production by enhancing and improving their scripts. Fisher’s notes helped improve films such as Sister Act, The River Wild, and Lethal Weapon 3. She even received a BAFTA nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for an adaptation of her own novel, Postcards From The Edge.

‘Hook’ Is One of Steven Spielberg’s Most Underrated Movies


Hook is not always regarded as one of Spielberg’s best films, but time has been rather kind to the playful fairy tale adventure. Hook took on the challenge of making a story that was relevant to both adults and children; it would have been easy for the film to become either too saccharine or overtly silly, but Spielberg created a tone that never felt inconsistent. Hook is a film that speaks to the child in its audience, allowing Spielberg to embrace fantasy and imagination. The fact that cameos by Lucas and Fisher could go unnoticed for many years speaks to how much detail Spielberg packed into the film’s production design.

Comparing Hook to Raiders of the Lost Ark or Close Encounter Of The Third Kind may not be entirely fair, but Hook ranks very highly when compared to other Peter Pan adaptations. Joe Wright’s attempt at a more “serious” version with 2015’s Pan proved to be a disastrous mishmash of tone, and 2003’s Peter Pan failed to capture the magic of the original animated classic. It’s often been a difficult story to crack, but Spielberg proved why he is a cinematic legend with a film that continues to enchant audiences.

Hook is available to rent on Amazon in the U.S.


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