Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Review - Hancock

John Hancock is a drunken, foul mouthed, hard-living, drifter who just happens to have super human powers. With these super powers Hancock usually causes more trouble then doing good and costs the city of Los Angeles millions of dollars along the way. His nasty attitude and reckless strength have made him fall out of favor with the population and also caused Hancock to become even more of a bitter superhero. Hancock by mere fate, saves a public relations professional who then in return, tries to repair his questionable image.

I saw Hancock at an advanced screening last night at the Arclight Cinemas, put on by Columbia Pictures to help promote their newest film of the summer. Being a huge Will Smith fan, I have been excited for this film since seeing the initial poster for it. That said, the closer it has come to release date, I've began to second guess just how good this film would be. Especially after seeing more than one trailer, it seemed like Hancock, might be showing all its best stuff in the trailers. For the most part, my fears were right. Hancock is a film that had the ability to soar, but instead has trouble getting off the ground.

Peter Berg directs this film and overall his direction was good. Being Berg's 5th film, he has seemed to settle into the directors chair and has a clear vision with his films. Berg took the script he was given by Vincent Ngo and Vince Gillian and did the best he could to make it work. Berg's vision throughout the film is very focused and he does a good job with pacing and development of the story. The action sequences were great as well as the drunken flying of Hancock.

The problem in Hancock lies more with the writing and script of the film than the direction. The beginning of the film and its setup are done very well. Introducing Hancock as a derlict superhero who smells of way too much whiskey and finds unusual comfort in sleeping on a city bench. I will also give alot of credit to the humor of this script. Everything Smith says throughout the film has you laughing in his usual fashion. On the downside, once Hancock is setup, there really is no origin of him or his powers. What little origin is given was terrible and does not appease the viewer in the slightest. Another point, that the writers never really explained, is the Eagle. In the Hancock poster, Will Smith is wearing a beanie with an eagle on the front, you can also see the reflection of an Eagle in his sunglasses. Throughout the film the Eagle is used, but never explained. This drove me crazy!

What ultimately makes this film stumble and evenutaly crash, is the 3rd act of the film. Hancock's relationship with his public relations guy, Ray Embry, and his family really turned the film for the worse. Without giving too much away, there is a whole other side to this film that wasn't publicized or promoted that killed the movie for me. All of this happens within the 3rd act of the film and ultimately leaves us with a very uniteresting ending that left a very bitter taste in my mouth.

The acting in the film is great! "Big" Will Smith delivers! Smith was so funny in this film. The dialogue he was given as a bitter, drunken superhero was hiliarious and had me in stitches throughout the film. His attitude towards people he was saving or the villians he had under apprehension was classic. "You smell like alcohol!" "That's cause I'm drunk bitch!" and "Good Job." Smith's delivery of those two lines had the entire theater rolling in laughter. Jason Bateman was also very funny in the film. His dead pan, sarcastic deliveries were perfect. Charlize Theron also gave a good performance, but her character in this film, is it's downfall. Her pivotal role ultimately takes the film in another direction and ended up ruining the climax for me and most of the audience.

Overall, Hancock failed at being a great superhero movie. I thought Will Smith gave a great performance and did give his usual comedic performance that has the audience laughing all the way through. The first and second acts of the film are very strong and kept the audience entertained, but the 3rd act of the film is so terrible and just plain sappy that it destroyed all the great moments leading up to it. Too much of the film took from other hero films. Most of the imagery seemed way too close to Ironman's "Demon in a Bottle" series, Marvel went through. Furthermore, Hancock's dislike of being called "asshole," was way too reminiscent of Marty McFly, in Back to the Future with, "chicken." There are hero movies, there are superhero movies, then there's Hancock! Ultimately Hancock was a dud. It could have been much more, but would have needed a major script overhaul and a different conclusion.