Friday, February 26, 2016

MY 27TH FAVORITE DISNEY VILLAIN

CAPTAIN HOOK

Image result for Disney's Captain Hook

FROM "PETER PAN"

WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!

Now as much as I love Disney's adaptation of Captain Hook, I'm not going to say that this is cinema’s best representation of the character of all time. He's definitely not bad, but he certainly isn't the authentic version of the character that film and TV for that matter has brought. He ignores his "Good Form" motto, which almost every other version of the character seemed to capture; his Pirate crew don't at all fear him, despite that Hook shows no remorse over killing them if he felt like it (seriously, they're throwing knives at a drawing of their Captain and don’t care what Hook will do if he sees what they are doing?); he never once injures Peter with the blade from his Sword, or his razor sharp hook (Though to be fair, it is an early Disney film where Disney never gave so much as a scratch on their leading characters); and he pretty much plays out as the typical comical and classy mustache twirling bad guy, which the guy voicing him (Hans Conried) is best known for voicing those type of characters. Also if we were going to count his despicable out of character portrayal in the current Disney Jr. show "Jake And The Neverland Pirates" that completely takes away what made the character so great in the Disney film that he spun-off from, then yeah, he would probably be one of the worst versions of Captain Hook. Still even though the Disney adaptation of the villain does differ from the character that die-hard fans of the story would either grow to accept or completely despise, for me personally, judging him as Disney's own take of a classic Fairy Tale villain (Like how Disney usually adapts a Fairy Tale) and completely disregarding the show that really took this beloved villain to an extremely high level of insult, he's still one of my favorite versions of the character that has ever been brought to the big screen.

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While everybody who’s seen the film remembers Hook being this comical mustache twirling pirate who always gets foiled by Pan and ends up getting chased by the Crocodile, the thing that I really admire about this version of Hook is that there's still enough screen time given to the character for him to shine as a classy, menacing, and sadistic villain. One of my favorite scenes that balances all the aspects to the character out perfectly, as well as being my favorite scene in the film where Hook’s intimidation and viciousness are at his best is when he's first introduced in the movie. When we first see him, he’s angrily frustrated with finding Pan's hide-out as he smokes his Double Cigar and puffing Cigar smoke at each location that he searched on the map. When he realizes that the Indians (Or should I say Natives) of “Neverland” know their way around the Island better than he does (Calling them a racist slang on Indians that I'm surprised that a certain Washington Football team still uses) after pointing his hook on the image of the Indian Camp on the map, he comes up with the brilliant idea of Capturing the Chief's Daughter Tiger Lilly while twiddling his mustache to have her reveal Peter Pan's location as he thinks of many cruel and sadistic ways of making her talk, like burning her in oil, marooning her, or keelhauling her. Remember this is a little Indian girl that he plans to torture!  As he’s joyfully thinking of all this as he twirls around his Double Cigar, when he hears a happy Pirate up on the Ship's mast singing how great it is to be a pirate and that you must live and enjoy every minute for how short it is; Hook gets annoyed by his singing, takes out his Pistol, kills the Pirate, blows out the gun smoke, and goes back to what he was doing. As much as that moment was played out for dark comedy, it's still pretty sadistic, as well as being a pretty badass moment for Hook. What follows after that cold blooded kill on an innocent and happy Pirate is Hook's outburst on Smee, and despite that his outburst is because Smee told him that killing a Pirate isn't "Good form" which causes Hook to say "Blast Good Form" (That Pan fans will once again either accept as a different take on Hook or find it unacceptably cringe worthy) his anger and determination of killing Peter Pan for cutting off his hand and feeding it to the Crocodile really shows and feels very intimidating. After the following bits during Hook's introduction regarding the Crocodile and Smee goofing things up (Will get to all that later), when Hook hears that Pan has arrived to "Neverland", Hook angrily demands his crew to get ready to fire the cannon at Peter and the children that he brought with him, as he suits up in his classy Pirate outfit and confidently and elegantly tells Smee that he's got Pan right where he wants him.

Image result for captain hook peter pan disney angry

With his great introduction aside, as I said earlier the film does give Hook plenty of moments for him to shine as a menacing and classy villain. My second favorite scene that shows Hook being vicious and menacing looking is the beginning of the scene that takes place at Skull Rock. As Peter and Wendy are at the bright and colorful Mermaid Lagoon, Hook's presence is suddenly known when everything suddenly goes dark, the cheerful and whimsical music now sounds eerie (Not intense eerie though), and when the Mermaid's find out that Hook is near as he and his assistant Smee row a kidnapped Tiger Lilly to Skull Rock, they all hide! When the atmosphere changes and everybody runs and hides when a villain is near, that's when you know you have an awesome villain that's a force to be reckoned with. When we see Hook try to interrogate Tiger Lily to reveal to him where Pan's hide-out is but doesn't seem to get his way, his class and patience suddenly drops and his face turns burning hot red which not only causes him to yell loudly at Tiger Lily and leave her behind to drown when the tide comes in, but despite Hook's appearance being skinny and frail and having a Hook for a hand where it may seem difficult for him to pick things up, he actually shows that he's physically strong and can manage to use both his hand and hook to lift things up without struggle as he quickly lift's up Tiger Lily with just his hook while she's attached to an anchor in a fit of rage! Even in a later scene in the movie when a Pirate tells Hook what all the other Pirates said about being no splash when Wendy walked the plank, an annoyed and pissed off Hook just suddenly lifts this big Pirate up with little to no effort and throws him overboard like a rag-doll and ready to take on the next Pirate who speaks out of turn. How are the Pirates not afraid of a crazy strong Pirate with a Hook for a hand who doesn't mind killing them whenever he feels like it?

 Image result for captain hook fighting Pan  Disney Peter Pan

Interesting enough in both this sequence and the Skull Rock sequence, when something strange happens like when Hook hears no splash after when Wendy walked the plank or when hearing a strange voice at Skull Rock (Which both events are caused by Peter), while everybody around Hook are afraid, Hook may look confused about it, but he never shows any signs of fear. In fact, when he hears the strange voice during the Skull Rock sequence, Hook fearlessly looks around the cave with the urge to find the person who's making the voice and killing him without question, and if it wasn't for Wendy warning Peter to get out of the way as Peter is chilling after tricking Smee and Hook, Hook would of clawed right through his head. Ironically the same exact thing happens in the same scene, when an evil grinning and messy haired Captain Hook creeps up on Peter and almost stabs Peter in the back while Peter (Wearing Hook's hat) and Smee think that he was killed by the bullet that Smee accidentally fired towards him. But when Smee discovers that Hook is still alive he joyfully but foolishly blows Hook's cover by yelling out his name, which cause Pan to turn around and start taunting Hook about trying to kill him, as Hook silently but violently grabs his hat back with his sword and gets ready to fight. Hook not only proves that he can sneak up on his victim without them noticing (At least not without someone else who's with his victim), but he's also not bad when it comes to sword fighting. Sure he loses and Pan proves that he can fight this Pirate fine with his dagger, but he not only puts up a good fight, but he viciously taunts and convinces Pan not to fly so that the two can have a fair fight as he climbs up the latter of the Ship's mast with such a hideous urge to kill look on his face, and when the fight commerce's when Peter gives his word not fly as he fight's, Hook almost wins by having him cornered with no way to go but down after disarming him.

Image result for captain hook piano

As if you already haven't noticed from my last paragraph when I talked about Hook and Peter fighting, Hook also seems to be good at manipulating people, including our hero. Alright he doesn't always get his way like when he tries to get Tiger Lily to talk but fails at doing so for example, but for the most part he either would succeed with his deals or in the very least have the person almost giving into his offers. He doesn't just persuade Pan to give up his flying in order for them to have a fair fight, but he also gets Peter's trusty sidekick Tinker Bell to tell him where the hide-out is, as he fools her into thinking that he's given up on killing Peter Pan and uses Tinker Bell's jealousy against Wendy to have her willingly spill the beans, and how he presents himself when he persuades her is great. He acts like his classy and aristocratic self as he plays his Piano with his fancy Gold Hook (He's a skilled Piano player too!); pretends to feel bad for her; and comically rubs in how much Peter cares for Wendy as Tinker Bell is too choked up to even notice that Hook is intentionally rubbing it in. Even when Captain Hook persuades Tiger Lily to give away Pan's location, while he doesn't at all get his information or even come close to persuading her to talk, just like how Dr.Facilier tries to tempt Tiana in "The Princess And The Frog" but still loses, the way Hook tries to make her talk is just as tempting, from his classy mannerisms, to the way he describes how there will be no one to save her when she's left behind to drown, to his demanding and forceful attitude towards her not speaking. Hook even on one occasion in the film gives a big musical number on his ship full of singing and dancing flag waving Pirates which he uses this gimmick to convince the kids to join his crew as well as offering them a free tattoo (As shown on a shirtless tattoo wearing Pirate), or else they'll walk the plank, and at first they're all willing to join Hook's crew without any second thoughts, until Wendy stops them from signing the contract for them to join. But if singing and dancing doesn't persuade the kids, than the time bomb that Hook planted in Peter's hide-out will, as he tauntingly shoves a clock in the kids' faces counting the seconds to when the bomb goes off. Much like when Hook tried to persuade Tiger Lily, he doesn't win, but the way persuades the kids isn't just tempting but he was very close to recruiting them too. The thing is about Captain Hook when it comes to making deals with him, he never stays true to his word. When Hook finally does get his information after waiting with anticipation for Tink to show him where Pan's hide-out is, he backs stab Tink by quickly grabbing her before she has time to thank him for his offer and locks her up in a lantern while laughing, and despite promising her that he will not "lay a finger or a hook on Peter Pan", he still plans to finish Pan off by disguising a time bomb as a present from Wendy. To further how big of a backstabber that Hook is, even if Hook did get his information from Tiger Lily, according to Smee, he's still planning to drown her anyway. In fact, I'm willing to bet that if the kids' did join Hook’s crew, Hook would sooner or later just kill them like he does to the rest of his crew, and considering how these boys behave, I have no doubt in my mind that one of them would be the next ones to die.

Image result for Pirates Peter Pan

Speaking of Captain Hook's crew, they too pretty much carry the same amount of intimidation and humor that their Captain carries. While most of us remember these Pirates as fun loving swashbucklers that love to sing and dance for how great it is to be a Pirate, only to find themselves getting comically killed off by their Captain or foiled by our leading heroes, they still had some moments that were pretty dark. The designs for most them weren't just as cool and menacing as Hook's design, but there were even times when they did pose a legitimate deadly threat, especially when they threaten Smee to persuade him to talk the Captain into leaving "Neverland". Sure it's played out for dark comedy like how Captain Hook just randomly kills his crew, but it's still dark. They point swords at him, stick a gun in his nose, hang him, nearly cut his throat, and throw knives at him. These guys are just as deadly as Hook is! Still, even though they can be funny and intimidating in plenty of scenes, the one thing they do have that Hook doesn't have (Aside from being threatened with death) is sentimentality, which is shown in the scene when they hear Wendy sing about the joys of having a Mother as they all look depressed, as Hook being the evil pirate that he is, just smiles and waits for his chance to strike. It's a short scene that goes on for only a few seconds that's played for sentimental comedy, but their sad expressions are still there implying that they either miss having a Mother or that they lost their Mother at an early age of their life. It's pretty sad, especially when watching poor Smee miss his Mother so much that he has trouble holding in his tears.

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And yes, what's Captain Hook without his loyal assistant Smee? Smee's is like how much Kronk means to Yzma, or how much Br'er Bear means to Br'er Fox, they’re an inseparably comedic duo that are absolutely nothing without each other. Much like how Kronk and Br'er Bear are the exact opposite of their boss, Smee completely falls under that category big time with his bumbling idiotic but good hearted nature, who tries to hard be mean and nasty, but simply can't. I think the only real crime that he ever committed was capturing Tinker Bell. Smee is so loyal to Hook that he not only is at Hook's side at almost every single moment and doesn't seem to mind being pushed around by his Captain, but even when he goes to the low of stealing goods from the ship as he makes his escape to avoid the climatic battle that's taking place on the ship, the minute when Hook is danger, he without a second doubt rows to rescue him. Still as loyal that Smee is to his Captain (Either that or he has Stockholm syndrome, is actually worried about his life, or is simply gay for Hook, like how Smithers is towards Mr.Burns on "The Simpsons"), he's still one of the few people in Hook's life that make him look like a comical buffoon whenever he tries to do something nice and comforting for Hook like shaving him or medically treating him while humbly trying to talk sense into Hook, it would usually never work since Hook can't hear Smee while he's covered up or knocked out, as well as Smee carelessly messing things up since he's too distracted with persuading the Captain to leave "Neverland" instead of taking care of him, which are in my opinion the funniest scenes that just involve Hook and Smee. Though the scenes when Hook humbly questions what Smee is doing as Smee mistakenly does the opposite of what he's been told to do, which causes Hook to have a sudden outburst and angrily demand Smee to do his actual bidding are actually pretty funny scenes as well. If you think Smee messing simple things up like shaving or pouring hot water on Hook's feet are bad, he almost kills Hook with a pistol that Pan gives him, as Pan tricks Smee to aim the pistol where Hook is standing. Smee maybe loyal, but he's not the kind of man you want to hire as your servant.


Image result for captain hook codfish

It would seem fitting that part of what makes Hook look so comical in other scenes of the film are whenever he and Pan challenge each other wits. Sure he does pose a legitimate deadly threat towards Peter, especially during the climax when Peter gives up his flying, but he does have a good amount of moments where his encounter with Peter would be comical. And I'm not talking about the amount of times when Peter comically insults him, I'm talking about the times when Pan physically abuses and humiliates Hook when they fight, like when Peter traps him in his own hat and pulls his mustache; or when Peter tricks Hook to walking off the ledge of the cliff as they fighting where at first Hook doesn't seem notice that he broke the laws of physics; or being knocked-out by Pan when they fight on Hook's ship; or even Peter causing Hook to get his hook stuck on one occasion. But out of everything that Hook suffers when taking on Pan, for me the crowning achievement of fun humiliation that Peter brings to Hook is when Peter traps Hook inside the ship's flag which causes Hook to tearfully beg for his life as Pan points Hook's own sword at him forcing Hook to scream that he's a "Codfish" if he wants to live. That to me is where Peter really has Hook in his grasp.

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Though lets be honest, as fun and triumphant as it is to see Pan outwit and humiliate Hook; and as laugh out loud funny as the scenes of Smee goofing things up for Hook always are; the scenes with Hook at his funniest are whenever he's being chased by the Crocodile who ate his hand and craves to eat the rest of Hook for how nice his hand tasted. The minute when we're introduced to the Crocodile as Hook's mustache twitches to the rhythm and beat of the clock and the Crocodile's theme song, as the Crocodile's eye's pops out the water to suddenly fully revealing himself which causes a frightened Hook to beg for Smee to send him away, that's when you know we're going to get scenes of non-stop laughter between Hook and the Crocodile. I'm dead serious when I say that the scenes that involve Hook and the Crocodile are some of the funniest pieces of slapstick that I've ever seen in an animated film! The timing, the pacing, the sound effects, the writing, the reactions and expressions from the characters, oh they're just so funny! As over the top cartoony as the scenes themselves are, there's still a good amount of times where you can sense the fear and the pain that Hook is feeling, which is what helps make these scenes so die hard hilarious. Even the scenes with the Crocodile when he's just simply stalking Hook or just watching the battle as he waits for Hook to fall into his jaws are just as funny as the scenes when Hook tries to escape from the Crocodile, since the Crocodile himself just loves to steal every single moment with his expressions and attitude towards everything. He's clearly the funniest character in the movie and one of the funniest comical Disney side-kicks of all time; top 5 easily. Does the Crocodile ever succeed with eating Hook; no. We on one occasion think he's dead, but that all ends quickly when we see Hook leap out of the water still running for his life. Walt didn't want Hook to be killed-off since he found him too likable of a villain to deserve such a fate, and truth be told I do agree with his decision. Alright, yeah I wouldn't mind Hook getting eaten by the Crocodile (Every other version of the story had no problem with killing him off), but at the same time, as much as I love to hate him for how mean and threatening of a villain he is, there was still a fun comedic charm to him that did make the character pretty likable unlike other Disney villains at the time (Well aside from Br'er Bear). I mean it's not like he ever succeeded with killing off a lead character to make his death become warranted, when with Steve Spielberg's version of the villain for example his death did feel warranted since he killed off the most awesome character in the whole movie which caused us to cry for the loss of a great character and hate the villain even more where we were happy to see him die (Even though Hook’s death still makes no sense). Would it be that soul-crushing if Hook was killed off in the Disney version; no, but I'm still perfectly satisfied with seeing Hook being once again chased by the Crocodile which makes for a very hilarious and fitting exit for this villain.

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The last thing to talk about before wrapping things up is Hook's real life counterpart, who is obviously Wendy's Father. It was always a tradition for the stage version of “Peter Pan” that the actor who played Captain Hook, would also play the role of Wendy's Father since they were both a menacing side of authority that enforced growing up and keeping the characters in line, while having a personal vendetta against Pan for their own personal reasons, which is a tradition that I'm glad that Disney kept by having Hook's voice actor voice Wendy's Father, as well as giving Hook and Mr.Darling similar designs. Also, since Hook has a good amount of comical moments, Disney made sure to give Mr.Darling a few comical bits as well like by having him accidentally hitting his head on an open draw, or tripping on a mini toy wagon which causes him to crash for example. What I like about Mr.Darling in this version is despite that he's a strict man who can be a killjoy; there are times where we can perfectly understand where his anger is coming from. The kids draw on his clothes and steal his gold jewelry for their games without his permission; and after he and the dog Nana both trip, everybody including his Wife (Who he think is just as childish as the children are) go to comfort the dog, instead of him. Honestly, I would a bit pissed off too if any of that stuff happen to me. On top of it, despite being a little too strict and hard on his children unlike his Wife when the kids goof things up, he still shows a side of how much he cares for his children which is evidenced when he sympathetically explains to Nana why he cast her out as a Nurse. When we see Mr.Darling appear in the final scene of the film when the kids return from "Neverland", he's not as grouchy as he was when we first saw him, where he instead acts a little nicer towards Wendy and Nana, despite rolling his eyes at Wendy's story. However, once he sees the clouds in the shape of Hook’s ship with great awe and wonder, he suspects that he has seen that ship before when he was practically a child, which either suggests that he's met Peter Pan before, or that a part of his inner-child is finally letting out. Whatever case it may be, you can tell that Mr.Darling finally understands the joys that Wendy's story's bring and feels like that it's ok to keep a piece of that inner-child within you as you grow-up.

While Disney's version of Captain Hook isn't thee greatest version of the character of all time in terms of the art of film and TV, it's still a jhighly enjoyable take on the character. How Disney balances out all aspects of the character is just simply grand. The scenes when he's threatening the characters and getting ready to kill is very intimidating and at times sadistic; his class and elegant behavior that he carries when he manipulates other characters is charming and persuasive; and the humorous moments that he gets into that either involve Smee screwing up, being foiled by Pan, or being chased by the Crocodile still have me laughing as hard as when I first saw the film as a kid. Throw in a cool design; a great and fitting voice actor; a deadly pirate crew; and keeping true to the tradition of the character being the fictional counterpart of Wendy's strict Father, and you get a fine Disney villain that has you both laughing and fearing.

"BLAST THAT PETER PAN!"
-Captain Hook

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