You must have misread my first post. The two films that I mentioned as revisits that were superior to prior film adaptations were The Thing (1982) and Peter Pan (2003), the latter of which is one of the best children's film ever made, IMO.I would argue Last Man Standing and Fist Full of Dollers are certaintly not revisits rather they are remakes.
I don't doubt Ernest appreciates the art direction. In fact, I know he does. But art direction is a minor element compared to story and the execution of the story, which are his main complaints.Also I find your friend's critique to be very, well laiden with the perspective of a mature all seeing adult who has little time or respect for the art direction of this film. As a child (and still as an adult) I think it was marvelous and is in fact one of the greatist strengths of the film in my humble opinion.
As he wrote when listing Pinocchio as, in his opinion, Disney's greatest animated film, "The quality of the art is of course peerless. The design, the layouts, and the animation are all benchmarks for the medium -- but all of these efforts would be meaningless without the quality of the film's ideas and how these ideas are married to the animated fantasy." At the very least you can see where he's coming from: art direction serves story, but no poorly told story can elevate art direction to the same level of importance.
That being said, in my view, I do think there are films that are so powerful in their visual element that they do reach a unique level of the visuals overriding the story. Barry Lyndon is one of these for me; its pictoral quality is its driving force, and the narrative follows rather than leads. So, in that regard, I can see why Hook would be that way for you.
By the way, you can read more of Ernest's reviews/views of Disney and Spielberg films at the following links:
So Dear to My Heart (Might want to copy past to a word file, since the website has it in a blue font against a blue page)
Walt Disney Treasures - On the Front Lines
Empire of the Sun
A.I.: Artificial Inteligence (and believe me, this is a VERY SHORT version of a massive sized, but never boring, scene-by-scene analysis of this very misunderstood film)
Saving Private Ryan
He's also quoted by Roger Ebert in Ebert's "Great Movies" reviews of Pinocchio and Grave of the Fireflies.
None of this means you must agree with him, of course, but I think his views are always interesting, and he typically brings good food for thought to the table. I've had my fair share of disagreements with him; he thinks Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is downright lazy, sellout, distracted, and boring filmmaking. We've essentially dropped that topic from our conversations because, well, it just gets in the way.