Monday, July 07, 2008


First off, I hope all of you in the U.S. had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday weekend. We had the best weather we've had in years here in Chicago, but I did duck inside for a few hours Saturday evening to see Hancock. As should come as no surprise, it was the #1 movie at the box office, and Will Smith continues his reign as Master of Summer Blockbusters.

My husband felt that Hancock was "exactly what you'd expect"... but then again, as he always seems to do, he saw the big twist in the movie coming from a mile away, and I did not.

What everyone should already know from the previews is that Will Smith plays Hancock, an alcoholic superhero with a bad attitude, who gets a public relations makeover from Jason Bateman's character. That storyline takes up somewhere between the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the movie. I must admit that I really liked Big Willy in a more foul-mouthed-than-usual role. It was almost like he had this wannabe-gangsta routine built up and couldn't wait to unleash it at the right moment. Some people might think his swearing is gratuitous, but I thought some of the funniest scenes in the movie revolved around Hancock going off on someone.

Then things turned a little weird with a plot detour that I didn't like at first, but that actually grew on me after I left the theater. I will discuss this more in the comments section for those of you who have already seen the movie.

One thing I was hesitant to write about is how much the camera angles made me queasy. I suspect that maybe I felt so ill because not only had I read a review that highlighted the awful shakiness of the hand-held shots throughout the film (so I already had the idea I might get sick in my head), but I also had just left the Taste of Chicago, where I had scarfed down a huge slice of deep-dish spinach pizza, cheesy garlic bread, and chocolate fondue-dipped strawberries. But I digress. I honestly do think there were way too many jarring close-ups in the film and it was hard for me to watch... I actually closed my eyes a lot over the course of the hour and 40 minutes or so. My husband says he didn't notice the shakiness at all... so I hope if you go see it, I haven't put this idea in your head and you end up getting sick!

While I don't think Hancock is Will Smith's best movie to date, I did really like it and it was the perfect summer popcorn flick. I also enjoyed hearing all of the very old-school rap/hip-hop songs used throughout the film, like "Colors" by Ice-T. And as you may remember from my Juno write-up, I love me some Jason Bateman, so I was glad that he got a lot of screen-time as well.

If you've seen Hancock, check out my note in the comments section below... if not, here's the trailer for you:

- e


Erika (aka "e") said...

Major spoilers ahead... do not keep reading if you haven't seen the movie...





OK, so I did not guess beforehand that Charlize's character would also be a superhero (my husband did). I thought that she definitely knew Hancock before his Miami accident, and that she was probably the person he was supposed to go to the movie with, but I didn't think she would also have "powers."

At first I didn't like the fact that they were all flirty, but then when they explained it by the whole back-story of the angels being created in pairs and being drawn to each other, so that is why he kept finding her, that helped. After I left the movie I did think that the concept of the "pairs of angels" was pretty cool... but I still can't help but wonder if the movie would've been better had it just stayed focused on Hancock and kept Charlize as a normal person.

What do you think?

And was anyone else sick from the camera angles?

- e

Craig said...

We saw this on the 4th, because it gave us something to do other than sit around waiting for the power company to restore power that had been knocked out several days before.

I knew something was up with Charlize's character, but I assumed that it was that they had a previous romantic history. I was afraid it was going to turn into "Will Smith becomes a good guy then betrays the person who helped him by sleeping with his wife" until she threw him through the wall.

My big complaint with the shared background of the two of them was that it sometimes took me out of the moment in the movie itself because I wanted so badly to know more of the backstory. I felt that it did help to give more meaning to why he was left all alone in the hospital and to why he was such a complete jerk.

It was, however, a huge change in the direction and feeling of the movie. Most of the humor was packed into the beginning before that realization.

So, it was a distraction, and I wasn't so sure of it at first, but in the end I did wind up liking where they took it.

As for the camera angles, I know what you are talking about, but it wasn't bad enough to make me sick like say...Cloverfield.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm just lucky that I'm not easily inclined to motion sickness...doesn't bother me in the least...never noticed it.

I loved this movie...thought the cursing and drunkeness was hilarious...I thought the idea that a superhero that didn't give a fuck was funny as hell...I did know that something was up with Charlize cuz I saw some interviews that alluded to a connection...didn't see her being powerful as well though.

Overall, it was a good summer flick...can't wait for the Dark Knight...that is the one I'm clamoring for.

And can't wait for Heroes to come back...I love superheroes!

Zach Dionne said...

Cool writeup, E :) You were much more spoiler-conscious than Entertainment Weekly. Grr.

I liked it and thought it was super funny. It was certainly a huge change in feel and pace. It was interesting, though, for a superhero movie not to go through the whole boring, played-out backstory and genesis. I liked that Charlize was also a superhero just because it was unexpected and made it more of a personal story, rather than some CG-laden, save-the-entire-world-from-boring-villain bit.

Jason Bateman was also awesome. Hoping so hard they make an Arrested Development flick...

I didn't get sick FROM the camerawork, but I did get sick OF it. Even from the first freaking scene, with the chase on the highway, it was ridiculous. There was even a part in the meeting with Jason Bateman pitching the AllHeart logo the first time...every time the camera switched to a new person, it would suddenly zoom in on them super fast. What is this supposed to convey? That it's an intense meeting? Jason Bateman's character's PR life is as riveting and dangerous as Hancock's? What? No sense. At all.

Cool movie, though. I was still skeptical after your review and pleased to find I can echo the "perfect summer popcorn movie" feeling :)