Hancock My Reviews 03 AUG 2008

HancockThere are heroes. There are superheroes. And then there’s Hancock.

John Hancock (Will Smith) is a well-known, people-shy, alcoholic hell raiser who just happens to be nigh invulnerable, super strong and oh, can also fly (even if his landings need a bit of work). The problem is that Hancock doesn’t exactly know the word “finesse” and as such causes far more damage than what he does good, making him one of the most hated men in America, despite the fact that he is arguably America’s only “super hero” running around at the moment.

However, Hancock’s wretched life looks like it might be making a turn for the better, after his rescue of extremely positive PR spokesman and would be saver of our planet, Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) from a freight-train collision leaves the highly persistent Ray on Hancock’s case about changing around his public image.

And to start things off, Hancock is going to have to atone for some of the damages he’s inflicted – by doing jail time!

The only problem is, with Hancock behind bars, just what is going to happen on the outside?

Hancock is a 2008 “superhero” action movie directed by American Actor/Director Peter Berg and stars Will Smith, Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron in the lead roles.

After languishing in development hell for over 10 years now, Hancock finally sees the light of day and I am glad to say, about time. First of all, although labeled a “super hero” movie, Hancock is by no means about saving the world. Instead the movie is entirely character driven and focuses on a washed-out, drunk of a man who is now only living for the sake of living, with no friends, no family and no recollection of his past. All he knows is that he has wondrous abilities and instinctively tries to help people, but the problem is nobody seems to appreciate anything that he does.

The movie takes this sorrowful character and then begins the slow and painful process of building him back up and reintroducing him to society, before turning things upside down and throwing in a twist which I doubt anyone would ever have seen coming. Immediately the film switches focus and turns into a heartfelt and sometimes comedic drama that pulls you in emotionally and ends off on one of the most painful and heart-wrenching big action sequences that helps elevate Hancock into that big budget spectacular – even if at no stage the whole world is ever in danger.

Will Smith once again proves to the world that he is the best at what he does. As superb in his role as ever, Will plays the part of the down on his luck, “don’t give a f*ck” superhero with polished ease, all the while maintaining that likeability and charm that has made him as famous as he is today. Jason Bateman plays the part of the optimistic PR man with vigour and energy and pulls off a very believable character, churning out a more than likeable performance in the process. Charlize Theron is also back on screen and admittedly, I thought she was pretty good in this role and have begrudgingly become quite a fan of her rather varied work as a very talented actress over these last couple of years.

Visually Hancock goes for a gritty, sometimes shaky approach that makes the film feel a little urban in places but is nevertheless quite pleasing on the eye. In keeping with the idea of Hancock being a rather unrefined hero to say the least, his use of superpowers is untidy, messy and it works brilliantly, especially when the CGI effects blend in so well on things like his devastating ‘landings’ and ‘takeoffs’. The only thing that doesn’t look all that great is one of the bigger atmospheric ‘storms’ that takes place two thirds into the movie, but it is forgivable considering how well the rest of the special effects are pulled off.

British born composer John Powell who is usually more associated with animated films than anything else provides the score for Hancock and comes up with some brilliantly atmospheric pieces for the movie, which combines well with some great hip hop/urban numbers to give Hancock that particular feel it seems to have been shooting for.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed Hancock as a very different, thought-provoking superhero movie that focuses more on character development and interactions than what it does on action sequences, and also manages to end off on one of the best emotional ending sequences that one has seen for quite some time in a “superhero” genre movie. If you are a fan of Will Smith, you’ll enjoy this movie, enough said, and even if you aren’t a fan, ignore all the negative comments floating around Hancock and remember that this isn’t a movie based on its flashy action sequences. Instead it is a story about a man rebuilding his life, and that story just happens to be a thoroughly entertaining, dramatic, humorous and enjoyable story in the process!

Enjoy! :)

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Related link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0448157

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.