Written by Vincent Ngo & Vince Gilligan
Directed by Peter Berg
Running Time: 1:32
for some intense sequences of
sci-fi action and violence, and language.
Hancock was more drama than action or comedy and ultimately there wasn't anything to hang your hat on.
Hancock (Will Smith) is the only one of his kind on the planet and it's making him somewhat depressed. He sleep and drinks most of the day and when called upon to save mankind, he tends to do so in the most destructive manner possible. When he saves the life of a P.R. executive (Jason Bateman), the exec takes him under his wing to try and rehabilitate Hancock's image. After being sent to the big house for a while, Hancock reappears on the scene. But in doing so, finds out something shocking about where he came from; something that may cost him his invincible life.
The previews make you think that Hancock is going to be a big budget summer action film. Instead, I found that the movie was much more drama than anything else. And not a very compelling one at that. Let's start with the actors. Jason Bateman was very funny in the movie. Some day soon he'll have to anchor his own film because he's too talented to always play second fiddle to someone else. Charlize Theron has never looked hotter, especially the first time you see her visit Hancock's trailer. Then there's Will Smith. Now Will has more charisma in his little finger than most people do in their whole body. And it's his charisma alone that saves this movie, but to be honest, even Big Willie couldn't do a whole lot for this film. Whether he's drunk and depressed, or ready to save the world, he has this look on his face like something smells bad. It was kind of off-putting. And while he read his lines well enough, the script itself wasn't very strong.
The story line was kind of dumb. We find this guy who has super powers and he has no idea how or why he has them. Fair enough. But you kind of expect some sort of explanation then later on in the film. And yes, we are treated to one, but it's almost tossed off as a 'whatever' kind of moment. And there wasn't any kind of journey to this explanation. Hancock saves people, destroys things, goes to jail, gets out of jail, saves people and destroys more things. Although now he's nicer about it so people forgive him. Oh and a bad guy? Yeah the main bad guy in the film is introduced about halfway through the film, disappears, then comes back again at the end. Total screen time, maybe 5-6 minutes. So the movie isn't a typical superhero movie where the entire film has good vs. evil, with the hero going on some kind of spiritual journey. It has good vs. evil as a 3rd or 4th story, while the spiritual journey was more of detoxing than learning about himself.
Here's how I imagine the pitch meeting went:
Writers: OK, we've got this great story about a superhero...
Studio Exec: Wait, wait, we've done superheroes before.
Writers: No, this one is drunk and depressed!
Studio Exec: Go on...
Writers: Yeah so, see, he's drunk and depressed and isn't sure who he is, but he gets better by the end.
Studio Exec: Sold!
Writers: What? Really?
Studio Exec: Yeah, sure why not... what else have we got this summer? So tell me one thing... where does he come from? Like, how does he get his powers? Radioactive spider? The sun? Parents murdered in front of his face?
Writers: Oh, umm... haven't thought that far yet, but that's not important. We'll just have one of the other characters explain it away in a couple of lines. People won't care.
Studio Exec: Yeah, people are stupid. We'll just have a big star and no one will notice. Here's $200 million - have a blast.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, Hancock was just a so-so movie. I really wanted to like it, but I couldn't force myself to see through the drek. The actors held up their end of the bargain, but the filmmakers let us all down.
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