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Marlowe Investigates HANCOCK!!

Merrick here...
There was a big screening of HANCOCK last night; Marlowe sent in his thoughts on the film. THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT SPOILERS THROUGHOUT THIS PIECE - more spoilers than review, actually. PLEASE NOTE: the version screened last night was incomplete, so the film might change between now and it's early July release. I've enjoyed the trailers for this movie (HERE), but we keep hearing negative word of mouth. Lots of it. Like...this review from Marlowe...
Saw a super-secret advance screening of Hancock yesterday at the Bridge in L.A. Both producer Akiva Goldsman and Sony head Amy Pascal were in attendance. Akiva was looking mighty nervous as the movie was about to unspool... you see, this was a surprise screening for the common folks and not an industry event. No one in the audience knew which film they were seeing as they filed into the room...but everyone was secretly hoping it was the THE DARK KNIGHT. When one of the studio lackeys announced that the film we were seeing was Hancock the reaction was, to say the least, subdued. The usual pre-amble followed about how the effects were not totally rendered, some shots were not color corrected, etc. Well, Mr. Goldman was right to be nervous... the film is an unmitigated mess... SPOILERS AHEAD-- I mean it. If you want to stay pure and not know a thing about slick Willie's Hancock then now's the time to go back to GTA4. All right, for those of us still interested: It opens with slick Willie on the roof of an LA building drunk as a skunk while a radio voice-over tells us in an obvious heavy exposition sequence what an asshole Hancock is... more public nuissance than hero, blah-blah... Hancock walks off the building and slams into the asphalt below destroying the pavement and several cars... he causes lots of property damage throughout the film (it kinda gets redundant, we get it he's a drunk, move on)... as Hancock lays on the smashed concrete while he's smashed from the all the alcohol consumption, a homeless guy walks up to him and calls him an asshole (I can't remember the last time I heard that expletive so often in a big budget summer film)... basically the film spends the next 30 minutes showing us what an asshole Will smith can be... We cut to the scene in the trailer when he lands in the back of car being chased by cops on Highway, the asian robbers shoot Hancock, bullets bounce off him and Hancock pulls a Fred Flinstone, punching his feet through the floor of the car and bringing it to a halt. He lifts the car into the sky and impales it on the Capitol Records building... what an asshole. Then Hancock goes to a bar and gets even more drunk, it kinda reminded me of the scene in the excrable Superman 3 when Supes got wasted and started flicking peanuts at the mirrored wall. Anyhow, he's approached by a gorgeous African American girl who comes onto him hard core. Hancock brings her back to his lair-- two nasty, dilapidated motor homes that were stuck together and Hancock precedes to show her his... well, you're not gonna believe this part but he tells the chick that she has to get away from him when he's about to blow his load (the actual quote was "when I climb the mountain")... and then we cut to the exterior shot of the two motor homes rocking like crazy. Willie was giving her his Hancock (I know I couldn't resist). Then we cut back inside and the girl flies across the room. Then three large baseball-sized holes are poked through the ceiling of the motor home like gunshots. Yup, this is a first in cinematic history. We get to see the results of super-ejaculate. I never thought I would see super-semen on the big screen... then again, the movie was at one time supposed to be called TONIGHT HE COMES. It all kinda makes sense now. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry... this was preposterous... it was at this point that I knew this was a debacle in the making... the conversation that Jason Lee spoke about in Mallrats which was intended to poke fun at a Superman type hero was actually committed to film. This was definitely a "what the fuck were they thinking moment" if ever I saw one. The problem with this film is that it doesn't know if it wants to be a comedy or a serious action film. Maybe they never knew. But the film only got worse as it went along. The only bright spot was Jason Bateman. God bless Bateman for actually being the grouding force of goodness and smart humor in this mess... although, the way Hancock meets Bateman is cliched. Bateman's car is stuck on the train tracks while a train is careening toward him. A drunken Hancock saves Bateman but not before causing yet more property damage, which upsets the folks at the scene of the accident. Bateman invites Hancock to his house to meet his wife Charlize Theron and his adorable kid (the kid was great, Charlize did the best with her very underdeveloped role). There's an immediate weirdness and wariness between Charlize and Hancock (more on that later). Bateman is a publicist with big kind heart... the kind of PR schlub that only exist in movies but you buy it because Bateman's so good. He offers to polish Hancock's image. Hancock ultimately takes the offer. Batemen tells Hancock that step 1 is to turn yourself in to the cops. Let the world miss you and then they will come begging for your services. Hancock reluctantly agrees. The whole thing about sending a superbeing to jail was a stupid idea... he can bust out at any moment but I digress. In jail, Hancock encounters many old enemies that he actually put there and then in an altercation, Hancock actually shoves an inmates head into another inmates ass... you actually see this!!! You actually see a guy's head in another guys ass! And hilarity ensues. I just could not believe what I was seeing. Later, a bank robbery occurs with many hostages and a massive shootout. The mayor calls on Hancock for help. In jail, Hancock rises, shaves his scruffy beard with his fingernails and puts on his nifty new supersuit (which looks like a leftover from the X-men franchise). Way to be original, costume design team. Hancock confronts the redneck madman who has a pressure bomb trigger in his hand. If he let's go of the trigger everyone goes boom!. Hancock severs the bomber's hand saving everyone. The city is grateful, the cops are grateful and so begins Hancock's road to redemption and public image glory. Also, throughout the film we see FLASHBACKS that show Hancock running thorough a rainy forest with a child in his arms. We always see the same flashback multiple times in the film with a voice-over by Smith about dying vs immortality but get this-- the Flashbacks are never resolved or explained. i almost felt like I missed something. Like there was a reel missing (hell, maybe there is). It was exactly like the Flashbacks in BATMAN Forever (another Akiva masterpiece) in which little Bruce Wayne keeps seeing a diary beside his parents two coffins... but we never found out what was in the damn diary that so traumatized little Brucie! Anyway, Bateman and his wife Charlize take Hancock to a fancy restaurant to celebrate his rehabilitated image. At the restaurant, hancock explains that he's not an alien, he's human... the last thing he remembers was waking up in hospital 80 years ago with two tickets to the movie Frankenstein in his pocket, but no other memory. More weirdness between Charlize and Willcock. Later that night, they all return to Bateman's home. Bateman is passed out drunk. Charlize is alone in the kitchen with Hancock. Hancock is about to kiss her when she suddenly picks him up and throws Hancock out the window with vicious force. OH MY GOD, Charlize is a superhero too!!! This is the big twist. Charlize later reveals that she and Will are descendants of Gods or Angels... she was at one time Isis. She also reveals that they were once husband and wife! We also find out that they are each others respective kryptonites. The more time they spend together, the weaker and more mortal they become... so they need to stay apart. She was at the movies with Willcock 80 years ago. They were on the road to mortality when Will saw a man getting mugged. Will intervened and got clocked in the skull. He lost his memory and Charlize decided to disappear from his life because the world needs one hero-- Hancock! Willcock wants his wife (Charlize) back and vows to destroy every living thing to get her (this is never really explored or developes but could have been very cool). It leads to a huge showdown between Will and Charlize... more needless property damage. Charlize is stronger than him. Bateman finds out that his wife is a superbeing. He's pissed. Bateman accuses Willcock of being selfish because he wants Bateman's life. Depressed, Hancock goes to a liquor store and buys more booze only to thwart a robbery in progress, except this time the bullets don't bounce off him. He's gunned down and bleeding. He's rushed to the hospital. Bateman and Charlize show up to. This is the climax of the film, so the mad bomber from the bank with the severed hand escapes from Jail and heads to the hospital. Hancock is in a hospital bed, Charlize by his side when the Bomber and his cronies show up and shoot Charlize. She's bleeding and dying. Willcock suddenly gets his suprestregnt back (I have no idea how since they're supposed to be each others kryptonite... I'm still not sure about the rules in this movie). The doctor's are trying to rescusitate Charlize while Willcock fights the baddies... but the closer Charlize is to death the stronger Will gets... but if she gets better Will gets weaker... to be honest, it was all very muddy and needs to be better explained or edited... I was confused. Anyway, Will throws all the baddies out the windows except for the big villain who is knocked out by an angry Bateman who in turn saves Willcock. Willcock sees that Charlize is dying and he jumps out of the hospital trying to get as far away from her as possible so she can regain her strenght/immortality/whatever. In the end, bateman and Charlize are together and happy while Hancock is in New York sitting atop the Chrysler building saving lives in the big apple. In my humble opinion, if the filmmakers want to save this film, drop all the silly stuff, like the super-ejaculation, the inmates head in the ass, and the lousy opening sequence and just stick to a straight forward action film... otherwise this will be Will Smith's first box office dud since WILD WILD WEST. But what really infuriates me is that with all the resources at their disposal, no one knew what film they were making. This film is the equivalent of being tone deaf. Don't get me wrong, I think Will Smith is an entertaning actor but this film, as is, does not work. Hence, the panic I was reading on the executives faces after the screening. This film is not as dark as it thinks it is and not as funny as it thinks it is. It's right down the middle and that's a dangerous place to be. IRON MAN got the tone right. The DARK KNIGHT knows exactly what it wants to be. HANCOCK is going into the most competitve summer season since the glorious summer of 1989 Half-Cocked. You may call me, MARLOWE

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