Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hancock - Movie Review

HANCOCK (***1/2) - Starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman.
Directed by Peter Berg.

I loved this movie, and I don't get what stick is up the butts of the other 64% on Rottentomatoes.com who didn't like it. They complain about originality then excoriate a movie for being original with its third act?

If you've seen the previews, you know pretty much how the first two acts will go. I am grateful the publicity campaign gave no hints where Act III is coming from, though any savvy filmgoer can probably guess.

Will Smith plays John Hancock, the world's only superhero. He can fly, he's indestructible, he's immortal, and he's a petulant alcoholic punk. He tends to not care about destroying the environment around him and he saves a life here or stops a thief there. He has an eagle on his hat, he's named for a founding father... he's a metaphor for America in the world today.

America is the only superpower left in the world, a world that would rather have Her go away than come in and "help." Yet when America doesn't help, the world misses Her.

Hancock saves the life of a struggling PR rep named Ray (Jason Bateman), as in ray of sunshine, as in a naively optimistic person who wants to return the favor to Hancock. No jail can hold Hancock, but Ray convinces him to go anyway, to pay for the damage he did on his last bad-guy catching.

Hancock is similar to Iron Man in that it's not about a boy becoming a man, it's about a guy becoming a man. Iron Man's Tony Stark doesn't really care about what his weapons are doing until he gets kidnapped and has his eyes opened. Hancock, so used to being alone, doesn't try to mature until someone else reaches out to him first, and so he allows Ray to save him.

Then we have the third act that goes a whole 'nuther direction. Which was cool too. It may seem like the role of "Ray's wife" is beneath the talents of Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, but there are subtle things she does that pulled me in, intrigued me to her character.

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