Comparing 'Pan' To 'Hook', Because Not All Movies Set In Neverland Are Created Equal

Peter Pan is having a pop culture moment right now, though really: when isn’t he? With director Joe Wright’s new Peter prequel Pan hitting screens on Oct 9, the Broadway musical Finding Neverland still on the boards in New York, and Allison Williams’ recent turn on the high wire in NBC’s spring 2015 special Peter Pan Live! all in the ether, the demand for stories about the boy who never grows up is obviously still high. (Could his lasting appeal be a universal protest against adult-ing? Possibly.) Of course, any mention of Peter Pan takes me back to being a kid in 1991 and seeing Steven Spielberg’s critically panned but otherwise beloved Hook for the first time. With the legendary Robin Williams playing to his own strengths as the poster child for eternal youth, Hook was pure magic to me and to millions of other kids who were there when it was released or discovered it later. But Pan and Hook aren’t the same film, regardless of their similar subjects.

J.M. Barrie’s stories have been the jumping off point for adaptations of all kinds; there isn’t just one kind of Peter Pan movie to be made. And with its release, Pan also joins the ranks of Disney’s classic animated version, P.J. Hogan’s 2003 live-action take, Johnny Depp’s acclaimed performance as Barrie himself in the film version of Finding Neverland, and so on. But since Hook is the Neverland movie that will stick with me forever, I’m mostly concerned with how it alone compares to this new Pan. Here are several key points where those two Peter stories differ.

Pan: Tween Peter

In this version, newcomer Levi Miller plays a 12-year-old Peter who spends his days making trouble with his friends in the dismal orphanage he calls home. He's not the Pan yet.

Hook: Mid-Life Crisis Peter

Peter Banning was the Pan, but by the time he's a stressed-out businessman with a wife and a family, he's forgotten. Hook is a story about a man who reconnects with his youth to save his relationship with his kids. Pretty adult stuff, actually.

Pan: Hugh Jackman's Goatee

Captain Hook isn't yet Captain Hook in this version. (He's a dashing adventurer type played by Garrett Hedlund.) Jackman takes over baddie duties as Blackbeard, and you can tell he's bad news by his dangerous-looking facial hair. Do you think it's sharp? It looks sharp.

Hook: Dustin Hoffman's Curly Locks

Blasphemy maybe, but this might be my favorite Dustin Hoffman performance of his entire career. He's having the time of his life in the part, which must have been tricky because that magnificent wig looks itchy as hell.

Pan: Fairy Dust Mines

Peter is kidnapped by Blackbeard and put to work mining fairy dust. No fun.

Hook: Lost Boys Skate Park

Peter follows Hook and his children back to Neverland and finds his former playmates running wild on an elaborate tree house/skate park. Way fun. (Of course it was a skate park. Where else would the Lost Boys have hung out in the early '90s?)

Pan: No Rufio

Honestly, I'm offended.

Hook: RU-FI-OOOOOO

This kid is an icon.

Pan: London During World War II

Wright's movie places Peter Pan's origin story in wartime, so lucky for him he was kidnapped, I suppose.

Hook: London At Christmas

But the Bannings are at Grandma Wendy's charming city home for the Christmas holidays, which means Hook goes perfectly with hot chocolate and the lazy days of winter break.

Pan and Hook are fundamentally different takes on the tale, but there's more than enough Peter Pan to go around.

Images: Warner Bros. Pictures; Giphy (6); levimillerdaily (2), muppetmolly/Tumblr