Saturday, July 5, 2008
Saw Hancock yesterday--not a bad film.
I am willing to be sincere on this subject--I do not believe one can have a proper summer film season without a blockbuster Will Smith roll-out. I will go on to say, I liked Men In Black II and even though Wild Wild West had some steampunky charm, I am not a knee-jerk fangirl for Will Smith. I, Robot kind of violated my Asimov-fangirl sensibilities. I have not seen I am Legend , yet, but that wasn't a July thing. So there you go--if Hancock wasn't cool, I would say so.
I thought it was cool, but uneven. The beginning of the film introduces us to Hancock, who is a sloppy superhero and a drunk and a bit of an asshole. I found myself wishing he only had the Justice Society or somebody like that to set him straight. He leaves potholes when he puts flight or lands--sloppy! Hover, doofus! He makes poor choices, and doesn't accept consequences. He knows he's disliked, but tries to do good anyway (what is up with that?)
Our introduction to him sleeping off a hard night on a park bench to be wakened by a kid trying to alert him to a high-speed chase lets us see Hancock's character: nobody loves you when you're down and out--but nonetheless, he is a superhero. With much scatalogical goodness, he rouses to confront the bad guys, and in the process does beaucoup damage.
We are also introduced the the mensch--played by Jason Bateman, an optimistic, altruistic PR guy who is rescued by Hancock and wants to rehabilitate him--funny ensues, as he tries to get Hancock to conform. He also has a hot wife, played by Charlize Theron, who gives Hancock the stink-eye even though his young son is totally enthused by Hancock's presence.
For just under the first hour, the movie is light-hearted and funny, with Will Smith even giving his John Hancock character a little charm against his charmless mein, and Jason Bateman totally trying his guts out to make this hapless demi-god into someone people can respect--even tough Hancock has to go to jail first:
And there is a hell of a great part when Hancock finally is needed and gets how to be a hero. It was still comically awkward, since Hancock wasn't used to being that way, and the scenes worked.
But there is a twist, and I don't feel like spoilering, except to say: yes she was. Yes she did. No, they shouldn't. And of course, they can't. But why is that even in there? The movie changes at this cryptically implied place, and is a bit more dramatic and violent. It's still okay, and even though the change is jarring and the exposition not ultimately satisfying, I had little choice as a viewer but to play along.
If you see it in the theatre--stay during the credits.
I would say it's a pretty good movie, good fast pacing that kind of makes it suffer on exposition you might want, but don't necessarily need to have the story make sense. The change in tone is jarring but the tale is weird like that--I have seen such twists in comic books and superheroes are no strangers to weirdness. The funny is broadly scatologically and uncategorically funny. The drama comes off sincere. The bad guys are lame and irrelevant against a backdrop of fate and mortality and what it means to love and be human. I won't go further than that, but the movie does end up with a little message, and it's a little deep.
I'd give it 3.5 stars out of five--if I believed in such ratings. Like Will Smith? Things getting busted up? Superheroes? You'll like this movie just a little more than average. Just a casual movie goer, you have to appreciate the cast and the effects. Which are the awesome.
I'll recommend it, with reservations...how's that?