Thursday, January 21, 2010

“Hancock” – Good or Bad…

Based on the reviews and press that Hancock received, you’d think that this was one of the worst movies made in recent times. While it could have been a lot better, I think that the majority of critics were overly harsh in their reviews. Having said that, I’m torn on how I’m going to approach my criticism. How about I hit it from both sides?

Good Stuff: The three main actors.

Will Smith plays John Hancock (the name is explained in the movie), an alcoholic superhero who does more damage than good when he tries to help. Jason Bateman plays Ray Embrey, a good-hearted guy whose life is saved by Hancock. To repay Hancock, Ray decides to help Hancock repair his image so that people will stop hating him. Charlize Theron plays Mary Embrey, Ray’s wife, who is very disapproving of Hancock and thinks Hancock should just go away. All three of these actors turn in very good performances and make their characters very likeable.

Bad Stuff: Everyone else in the film

Luckily, we don’t know who any of these people are, so we don’t care that they suck.

Good Stuff: Humor

My wife laughed harder each time she saw the preview where Hancock accidentally hits a sailboat with a beached whale that he is trying to save. She laughed just as hard during the movie, too. Aside from that, and other tragic Hancock incidents, Smith and Bateman play extremely well off of each other. Their scenes together are laced with quick wit and they just appear to be having a good time together. In addition, Hancock’s button is pushed when people call him an asshole and he delivers some (not all) funny punishments.

Bad Stuff: Taking the joke too far.

There are two good examples of this that were simply unnecessary. The first is when he defends Ray’s kid from the bully. The kid calls him an asshole several times and Hancock flings him high into the air. This joke is taken too far by the writers making the kid a fat, French kid and forcing him to say “asshole” several times in a ridiculous accent. This made no sense, other than to give us another reason to make fun of the French. On behalf of the French, fuck whichever writer thought this was a good idea. The second was another running gag where Hancock threatens to shove one guy’s head up another guy’s ass. This was funny up until the point where they actual show two guys in this position. The scene occurs in a prison and was funny when we saw all of the inmates gagging and retching without seeing it ourselves. On behalf of all humans, fuck whichever writer/producer/director thought showing this was a good idea.

Good Stuff: The Plot

It was a nice change of pace to get a superhero who didn’t give a shit about anything. His only goal was to stop whatever crime was being committed, regardless of how he did it. The story was made even better with Ray trying to help him out because we all wanted Hancock to be loved by everyone. It was a nice human story.

Bad Stuff: The Plot

The second half of the movie becomes very confusing and muddled when the twist is revealed. I won’t give it away, but it does involve finding out who Hancock really is. Unfortunately, they don’t give us much information and the amount we do get leaves us so confused that we are distracted from the rest of the film. Walking out of the theater, I felt that we were missing about twenty minutes of discovery footage.

Good Stuff: All of the music, except the rap.

Maybe you like rap, maybe you don’t, but the rap songs sucked some of the life out of this film.

Good Stuff: Charlize Theron (No, I didn’t skip a Bad Stuff; that was the rap)

I managed to avoid most previews for this movie, so I had no idea she was in this film. Not only was I happily surprised when she first appeared, but she looked incredible. My wife even joked that she wouldn’t kick Theron out of bed.

This was a decent movie, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you should probably wait until it comes out on DVD. There will probably be a lot of bonus scenes (remember I Am Legend?) and it’s really not worth ten bucks a person at the theater. Unless you think Theron is worth that much. My wife apparently does.

Rating: Ask for $4 back. Why not more? What part of ‘Charlize Theron’ did you not understand?

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