Saturday, July 5, 2008


This movie is just a mess. There's no doubt about its success, however. It knocked WALL*E out of the #1 spot, but we'll just have to wait and see if it has any longevity- I have my doubts. The movie starts out strong enough, with typical Will Smith attitude, and Jason Bateman awkwardness. But the last act completely throws everything before it out, and completely ruins the movie.

As the very well constructed trailers show, Will Smith plays Hancock, a superhero hero without much hero. He's a drunken hobo who inflicts his own brand of vigilant justice. It's essentially his Bad Boys (the loose cannon Mike Lowry) character with super powers. He usually does more damage than he prevents. As a result, public opinion of him is not the most favorable. He ends up saving Ray Embrey's (Jason Bateman) life. Embrey, a PR consultant decides to help Hancock turn his image around. This involves repaying his debt to society (at least until the police realize they need him) and sporting some superhero digs.

The first half is actually fairly entertaining. Smith oozes the attitude that's become synonymous with his roles. And Bateman exudes his charming good guy awkwardness. The two of them form a great chemistry, resulting in some very entertaining scenes. Unfortunately, the movie takes a darker and more serious tone. Without giving away too much, this involves Ray's wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), and the random arrival of a super villain. Some of this was included to show Hancock's detailed history. But really all this accomplished was ruining what could have been a simply a fun, exciting movie.

Director Peter Berg has developed a distinctive hand-held look. This worked well in the war movie The Kingdom, but here it just got rather annoying. In the more action packed scenes, (especially towards the end) I think every shot included either a whip pan or a drastic zoom. Half of the time during the climax, I had no idea what was even happening. As the movie became more serious, the camera work seemed to get more erratic.

I was skeptical of this movie going into it. The first half of the movie managed to win me over to its side, and I was enjoying myself. This new found trust was betrayed by the time the final act rolled around. It tried to take itself too seriously and explain too much. The movie would have been good if not for this fact. In the end this ruined everything the movie had going for it.


Just to give an idea of what I'm saying: After re-watching the trailer, I could only pick out one split-second clip that was not in the first hour or so of the movie. This should give a clear indication of the problems the plague the second half.

No comments: