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Hook

Hook
A Columbia Tristar Home Video Release
1991, 142 Minutes, Color, Rated PG (G in Canada)

Starring:  Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith
List Price:  $24.99 USD, released 03/21/00
Packaging:  Keepcase, Region 1 NTSC
Disc Format:  Single Sided, Dual Layered (DVD-9)
Aspect Ratio:  2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio Formats:  English 5.0, English 2.0 Surround
Subtitles:  English
Closed Captioning:  English
Features:  Production Notes, Biographies, Theatrical Trailers, Interactive Menus, Scene Selection.

What’s this, a Steven Spielberg movie actually on DVD? Yes! Though not one of his top "A" titles, Hook is nonetheless an impressive movie that was nominated for five 1991 Academy Awards including "Best Visual Effects". With a cast including Robin Williams as Peter Pan[ning], Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell and Dustin Hoffman as Captain James Hook, what’s not to like?

Peter’s now all grown up with a family of his own. His previous exploits are completely forgotten – in fact he is, of all things, a busy lawyer, often giving promises to his family but rarely following through. He, his wife and two children travel to England to visit his old home on the eve of a special dedication to Granny Wendy. But when they return from the gala event they discover the house ransacked and his two children kidnapped. The only clue is a note pinned to a door with a sword, an invitation to rescue them signed by Captain Hook. With the help of Tinkerbell he travels to Neverland where they meet up with the Lost Boys. Once regaining their trust he must remember the child he once was and reclaim that spirit before they can conquer the pirate Hook and retrieve his children.

Columbia Tristar has a well deserved reputation for consistently creating reference quality DVD transfers, and Hook is no exception. The brand new 2.35:1 anamorphic presentation is razor sharp with incredible detail and almost no visible artifacts. It’s also quite bright – possibly too bright, however that doesn’t seem to affect saturation or create a washed-out effect. Hook’s color palette often appears to go to an extreme, however this transfer furnishes Spielberg’s imaginative concept vibrantly without appearing gaudy. Black levels are well calibrated for almost all scenes, though I did notice a few that were mysteriously off. The 142-minute movie is divided into 28 chapters on a dual-layered disc, with the layer change occurring at 1:08:23, the beginning of chapter 14. The disc contains 6.4 gigabytes of data.

The Hook DVD includes a marvelous 5.1 soundtrack that has never before been available on home video. The whole mix is evenly balanced with dialogue at adequate volume levels over music and sound effects, though a small amount of vocal clipping can be heard. It’s recorded somewhat louder on the disc than normal, so make note of that if your system is calibrated for "average" DVDs. The rear channels are quite active, but you won’t hear many intrusive discrete effects. Rather, where this film shines is its energetic and absolutely enthralling orchestral score by John Williams, composer for such films as Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones. The last third of the film is almost constant "action" cues, with thunderous crescendos, rich strings and delicate flutes. Truly a reference quality disc for theatrical score. Also on the disc is a standard 2.0 surround track which is the default soundtrack unless your player auto-detects. English subtitles and Closed Captioning data is available.

Although Columbia Tristar is known for top-quality discs, they have another reputation for being "bare bones" in the extras department. Hook, unfortunately, continues this tradition even though the dual-layered disc had plenty of free space. Two trailers are available, for Hook and Jumanji, both in fullscreen video and 2.0 audio. Scene selection screens display only static previews. The "Talent Files" section presents the standard biographies and filmographies, but Steven Spielberg’s page is of particular note since it references a slew of popular movie titles not even close to being available on DVD.

All in all, Hook is a fun family movie with reference quality audio and video presentations. Though more special features certainly would have been welcome, at a list price of $24.99 USD this is still a good-value buy.

- Reviewed by Daniel Tonks on April 3, 2000.


Movie:
Video Quality:
Audio Quality:
Supplements:
1-Poor 2-Fair 3-Good 4-Excellent
System Equipment
Sony DVP-S500D DVD Player
Sony STR-GA8ES 5.1 Receiver
Sony 32" XBR250 WEGA TV using Component
Nuance Spatial Baby Grand 3E & StarSat

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