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HANCOCK, 2008
Movie Reviews!

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HANCOCK MOVIE POSTER
HANCOCK
Movie Review

Directed by Peter Berg
Starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman
Review by Eli Manning



SYNOPSIS:

A hard-living superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public enters into a questionable relationship with the wife of the public relations professional who's trying to repair his image.

REVIEW:

Hancock tells the story of lonely man isolated with the rest of the world because he feels so different from everyone else. This is a theme that pretty much all of us can relate with in various degrees. Because this is a big budget summer movie, Hancock is a superhero with Superman like skills (superhuman strength, can fly, very fast), but feels the same pain that all of us feel.

We enter Hancock's world in Los Angeles. He's trying to drink away his pain while also trying to help the good guys take care of the bad guys. Problem is that he's screwing up more than helping. These are the funniest and best moments of the film as we see Hancock pull off many crazy stunts while causing millions of dollars in damage.

Enter the P.R. idealist Ray Embrey who really has the integrity of Superman. He wants to make the world a better place and knows that Hancock can help to that.

There is a middle point twist that changes the focus of the film that kind of tips its hat a tad too much. I think most people will get it because something has to happen in this film by the time the 50 minute mark comes.

Hancock has the potential to be a very good film, but it really misses on a whole lot of levels. Yes, we do feel for Hancock but he really has no antagonist (aka Evil Bad Guy) that's really needed in movies like this to counter the emotional struggle. They try to patch one together at the end, but it's a lost cause.

Then there's the direction. Director Peter Berg has never met a tripod he loves because he shoots every scene in handheld shaky camera style no matter if it fits with the thematic of the moment or not. In all of his directed films (The Rundown, The Kingdom, Hancock), Berg seems to over direct. What I mean by that is that he makes sure we the audience are always aware that there is a camera and we're watching a film. So we never can get completely into the plot and characters of the movie.

This is a film that moves very quickly. Too quickly actually as we never truly get to know anyone in the film, especially Hancock. Will Smith is a solid actor. Many times all the director needs to do it put his camera on the tripod in a medium close up and let the former Fresh Prince do his stuff. Will Smith can make us feel and care for him, that's why he's a movie star. But Peter Berg won't have any of that and it's unfortunate. He just wants to show off his camera skills which I don't believe those skills are very high on the grade scale. Hancock is one of those films that I wish could be made again with another set of creative hands because I really believe that this could of been a great film, which would lead to many sequels. But it's not, especially compared to the other solid action movies of the Summer of 2008.

This film won Best Director and Best Cinematography, and was nominated for five other categories. The screenwriter was nominated, and rightly so. Taken from a short story that first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1933 by Maurice Walsh, Green Rushes, Frank Nugent was able to weave a story rich in subtext and conflict.

The collector’s edition of the DVD includes an interview with Maureen O’Hara where she reminisces about filming The Quiet Man, and is well worth watching.

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