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Monday, September 29, 2008


**** Hancock. Science fiction, action/adventure, comedy.

Directed by: Peter Berg.
Starring: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman

We saw this at the Embassy theater during our month in San Antonio this summer.

Will Smith is the titular character, a superhero with a major image (and drinking) problem. If you've seen the previews, you get the gist: he's a reluctant superhero, and though he gets the job done, he causes so much collateral damage that there are several warrants for his arrest, and the people of Los Angeles just want him to go away.

Enter Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman). Hancock saves him from a train wreck, and, grateful, Ray decides to pay Hancock back by using his own expertise: Ray is a publicist. Ray's wife Mary (Charlize Theron) really doesn't like Hancock, but Ray persists despite her disapproval.

Under Ray's tutelage, Hancock voluntarily goes to jail, and ends up with a new image, and a spiffy new superhero suit (yum!). It's not quite that easy, and that's not quite the end of the story, either.

I've seen criticisms that the second half doesn't fit with the first half, but I disagree. See, behind Hancock's disastrous attitude is the fact that he feels abandoned. His first memory is of waking up in a hospital not knowing who he was. The name "Hancock" came from a nurse asking for his "John Hancock" on a form. He gradually gave up expecting anyone to come claim him. So any change in Hancock's demeanor has to address this problem, and that's the focus of the second half of the film. There are spoilers aplenty out there--if you want to know, go look for them.

Hancock is just a fun, fun movie. It's just as funny as you'd expect, and there's a good underpinning of sentiment as well. What's surprising for this type of movie, though not for the stars involved, is how good the acting is. Will Smith is brilliant as usual--he's got the antisocial swagger of a man who knows nobody likes him and is pretending he doesn't care down pat. Jason Bateman is so earnest--you just know that Ray works hard, but he's not at the top of the heap either. And Charlize Theron plays a complex role with just the right balance between realism and comic book heroine.

Or, you could say Hancock was an allegory--read this review on Amazon, or watch Will Smith's interview on the Colbert Report. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Either way, it's well worth watching, and somebody in our house will be getting the DVD for Christmas.

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Enjoyed your review of Hancock. We went and saw the movie. It had some good laughs. Thanks for visiting my blog, Army Mom.
For me, any movies Will Smith starred in - I truly enjoy it. His movies are most of the time entertaing and fun. And the one that are hitting in a softer tone, are well done too. He have changed over the years, from being skinny guy in "Fresh of Belaire" to being real BUFFED in movies role...WOW! Good looking, handsome man! :)
OOPsie, that supppose to say "Fresh Prince of Belaire" teehehee
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