Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hancock DVD Impression

Hancock on DVD
Superman, Batman, Spider-Man … all comic super heroes come to life and the big screen. Hancock is a super hero of another ilk, one created for the screen, one more human than any spandex wearing do-gooder. Hancock tells the story of a drunk, collateral damage wreaking ‘hero’ played by Will Smith. The movie begins with various funny antics, the car chase, shooting his liquor bottle, glasses as well as Hancock’s take-off and landings. No matter the lives Hancock saves the collateral damage associated leaves a very bad taste on the public’s tongues. Enter Ray Embrey, played by Jason Bateman, a down on his luck publicist with a smoking hot wife (Charlize Theron) and son who idolizes Hancock. First order of business to clean-up his image is to serve some jail time, to let the public see they need you, which happens. There is a head and butt incident in jail that just about ends the funny. As he’s released to help out a bank robbery situation the movie takes a more serious turn as Hancock is now the responsible hero and one about to learn a great deal about his missing past and lost love.

Stop, this is where my issues begin. Hancock is a movie that starts very funny and in the blink of an eye gets very serious; it’s like two movies in one with many, many holes any comic fan will see. So Hancock is a hero who sleeps on benches and loves to drink. The damage he causes is understandable due to his who cares approach as is his jail time, but don’t you think the government would take an interest in Hancock? Check out the in-print Rising Stars comic series to see government involvement with super humans. Maybe there is background there, but if the government was involved wouldn’t you see that? Second issue with story, he goes to jail, a regular jail with inmates who want to hurt him that he could kill … are you trying to get them killed? A prisoner like Hancock would get special treatment, so two strikes against the government involvement. Yes, it’s movie, and like Rising Stars the writers could have gone very deep into the seriousness of Hancock, but they kept it comical, which brings the third issue. Why does Hancock get so serious so fast? Leave out the fact the writers create some easy villains who somehow escape to hurt Hancock (hmmmm, escape prison, go after super guy, not smart), but what about the background of Hancock. He explains how old he is, how he lost his memory and as he encounters Theron’s character he starts to get gaps filled in, but who at ‘they’ who is this race of supes that, when they get together, age and become normal? How long have they been around, why are the women stronger? BIG gaps in the story which continues into the ending with new hero in new city, what happens to old city? Point is there is much material here for an enjoyable graphic novel, but the movie will leave viewers wanting more background.

Special features on the single-disc DVD are standard from the making-of features to how a big-screen superhero is created. The behind the scenes with ‘Dirty Pete’ was enjoyable, but not much more here. The points made about the story above could have had a huge impact on the extra features. A full documentary on the history of what and what Hancock is would have been great. Overall this movie is a mixed bag. Good performances by some pretty actors, a funny super-hero movie that turns mega serious in the middle. Hancock is all over the place but there is some very fertile ground for comic follow-ups (like where the hell does he get that eagle?).

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