SPIELBERG THEME - DRESS-UP: Spielberg repeatedly uses the idea of dressing up to represent escape in his films. Look, for example, at Elliot’s moonlit bike ride in E.T., which comes when he’s dressed in his Halloween costume, or the various disguises Frank Abagnale wears in Catch Me If You Can.
Hook is no different. Before he enters Neverland, Peter Banning wears the sharp suit and tie of a businessman at a job Granny Wendy suggests has turned him into a pirate. Once in Neverland, he has to dress up again, this time wearing pirate clothes to avoid detection. Finally, of course, he has to dress up as Peter Pan to save his children and return home.
Banning’s arch-nemesis is the same. In fact, Hook’s connection with dress-up is even stronger. He wears his lavish Captain’s costume with pride and has his hook ceremonially placed upon his wrist. His men even go so far as to literally make a song and dance of it as they chant “hook, hook, give us the hook” while the object is taken to Hook’s quarters.
Spielberg suggests throughout the film that Hook is Banning’s ‘shadow self’, but he finally distances his lead from the pirate at the end of the film when Banning leaves Neverland and returns to the real world.
Unlike Hook (who finishes the final battle by asking to put his wig back on so he can restore his dignity), he has given up playing dress-up, which only offered him an escapism that alienated him from his family. Now neither the businessman adult or the immature child, Banning is a responsible, rounded human being who is finally fit to be a good father to his children.
You can read more of my thoughts about Hook on my site Quiet of the Matinee.