James Donner’s review published on Letterboxd:
Followed up a Julia Roberts movie that was too long with another Julia Roberts movie that was too long.
Look, we all can’t have perfect streaks here. For Spielberg, it’s a misfire he seems to have directed on autopilot. For Julia Roberts, she was deeply miscast here and also going through a pretty bad time personally. The actual movie is a bloated mess, and it shows on screen. I love the practical production design and there is some Spielberg charm and spectacle to be found here but it’s also a slog, which is a pretty big problem for a movie aimed at children.
While watching Spielberg movies can feel like a throwback to a different age of blockbuster filmmaking, this feels just as big for the sake of big as something you’d find in a multiplex today. I wouldn’t call this Spielberg’s worst movie, but it is definitely lower tier. It’s often too juvenile to work for adults who may be nostalgic for Peter Pan but also too long and dark for kids. I mean Captain Hook shoots somebody at a baseball game while a kid is playing and the kid is not mortified at all that somebody was literally just shot. It’s also weird how every woman in this movie desperately wants to make out with Robin Williams. Or that 90s movies for kids also have a weird thing for rollercoasters and skateboards and XTREEEEEEME sports. There are a lot of ramps and wacky rides and basketball hoops in this one.
It’s certainly a fascinating mess, but I’m not sure if I’d call it a good time.