Ain't It Cool News (

We've Got Four Freakin' HANCOCK Reviews!

Beaks here... I've seen HANCOCK, and I still don't know what to make of it. While I'm organizing my thoughts, here are four reader reviews that run the gamut from very good to not-so-good. Here's MechaZain with a positive write-up...
Hello internet folk, Just came back from an advanced screening of Hancock here in Greensboro, North Carolina. Naturally going in I'm all like "SUH-WEET. First thing I'm gonna do after is start editing wiki and submitting reviews to AICN while eating Doritos or something! " But coming out I found the movie so hard to explain that I figured it would be easier to just give a synopsis rather than some kinda of professional sounding review. The crowd loved the first 15-30 minutes. There's no real exposition and the movie just starts going with the stuff you know from seeing the trailers. Hancock is the reluctant superhero, saving people when need be. He is an asshole to anyone and everyone and the first half of the movie is highlighted by his vulgar jokes and mannerisms. Imagine a Chappelle Show episode where Chappelle plays a superhero. He's flying and Move Bitch is playing in the background. He curses old ladies, makes fat jokes, and hits the apex of goofy when he literally takes a guy's head and shoves it up someone else's ass. So at this point I'm thinking "Cool. It's a comedy. He's an ass, this PR guy he just saved is gonna help turn his image around, he's gonna save the day in the end, hooooraaaay right?" Well no, because that stuff happens rather quickly. Instead they decide to turn shit upside down. ***SPOILERS LIKE WOAH*** We find out that the PR guy's wife, played by Charlize Theron, actually has powers. And she's actually Hancock's old wife. And some crazy stuff about how they were created and they're the last two of their kind, and at the end we learn they lose powers when they're close to each other. And I'm like "ok". ***SPOILERS END*** After the revelation of that character the movie shifts tone is a lot more serious in comparison. The "origin story" is vague and I suppose it's not meant to be dwelled on, but I was scratching my head a little afterwards. The "antagonist" is pretty lame and uninspired, so you have to assume that they're trying to push the conflict inside of Hancock over a central outside conflict. I use the quotation marks so I can help emphasis how non-linear this movie is when it comes to pacing and plot elements. It's not your average movie, superhero or otherwise. The main problem I had was that once Hancock dons the spandex there's nothing to really fight for afterwards so the plot starts getting loopy. Despite all of this I enjoyed it. Smith is entertaining and carries the movie to the point where I probably wouldn't care about it if anyone else played lead. It'll open huge because of him and and the concept, but because it's pretty crude and the action sequences aren't "Marvelesque" it doesn't really lend itself to multiple viewings. It's not the movie you expect from seeing TV spots and trailers, and whether or not that's a good thing is going to flip from person to person. I liked it though. In short: "Not what you think. Plot gets pretty screwy. Smith is the man though, so it's all good." Don't Stop Believin' - MechaZain
MechaZain then went on to win the Best Postscript Email of 2008 with this delightful missive:
P.S. Here's hoping in a sequel Smith renders Theron's beef curtains asunder with his dudesteak.
What a charmer. But isn't it "meat curtains" and "beef drapes"? Help me out with this! Here's another mostly positive review from a fella we'll call JD...
Hey Bro, I just wanted to drop this line. I just saw Hancock about 30 minutes ago at a Regal Cinemas in Hollywood Florida. My initial reaction sitting here is that I liked it. It certainly is a VERY UNIQUE movie. Almost all the stuff from the first trailer of the movie takes place in the first 10 minutes, the second trailer shows up to the end of the second act/beginning of the third. Almost the entire final act of the movie is NOT in any of the trailers or commercials which I think is VERY VERY brave of Sony. Their marketing department gets a definite round of applause for that. Will Smith totally sells the character of Hancock. He's rude, lude, and a genuine Asshole to his very core. He'd make Denis Leary very proud. Bateman is very good, if not slightly underused from time to time. He does get a great moment at the end where he kills the shit out of a bad dude with an axe. Charlize Theron is somewhat of a problem in the movie. I am unsure if it is Theron or Berg via Theron but there is a scene about 10 minutes in where Smith's and Theron's characters meet and Theron does this DUN DUN DUN look at him. I said out loud in the theatre "she must be the bad guy." While I was wrong (she absolutely isn't evil or anything like that) her look is explained later on in the movie of her knowing something shocking about Hancocks origins. I don't think there was a person in the audience that was fooled by her knowing something. The big twist scene came along and the audience shrugged. In a scene where Hancock reveals his past in front of Bateman and Theron. He tells them about waking up in a hospital with a fractured skull (amnesia), magically healing within an hour, and suddenly having magic powers.... 80 years ago. Theron has this look the ENTIRE time that screams "I know something about this, somehow." Aside from that the movie is pretty solid. It jumps between all Genre's. I don't think it worked as well as it could have but it absolutely is NOT a failure. The third act is very very rough. It takes place almost entirely in a hospital. It involves some bad guys from earlier in the movie. It is absolutely the correct way to play out the thrid act. There is such a huge massive action set piece at the end of the second act that they end the movie on a much much more intimate scale which the film in some way deserves. As the main character progresses in maturaty it is almost as though the movie matures along with it. As you know there can only be a single FUCK in a PG-13 movie and Hancock uses his pretty much right away. In the theatre I was a little surprised to hear it so early on but the Hancock at the end of the movie is so mature and different he wouldn't say it. Bravo to that. Oh and two things. 1. I think a mature 10 year old would be fine seeing this movie. There is so much humor in this movie involving children they'd get a kick out of it. 2. Stay during the credits. You don't have to wait through them all. Probably the best scene in the movie is hidden about 30 seconds in the credits with an AMAZING cameo from Mike Epps.
I'm sure Sony Marketing enjoys that VERY VERY positive review of their VERY VERY brave ad campaign. Here's "Mr. Nomadius", a big fan of Peter Berg's who walked away somewhat displeased...
First and foremost, if you have kids, and your thinking of taking your kids to this movies, I highly suggest you dont. In fact I implore you don't, This is not a light movie like the trailers and tv spots show. This movie is dirty, and skeezy, and gritty, and full of vulgor. Trust me on this. That said, the thing I will say is this the movie is definetly better than I am Legend, but that's not saying a lot. What you have here is a movie that wants to be a gritty superhero movie, but what you get is a half assed atempt at one, and a 30 minute ending that is so ludicrous, that I could have written it. The first 30 minutes isn't half bad, you start out with a superhero named Hancock who is a drunk, and pisses everyone off with his drunken stupor, and high excess of damage, then you bring in the ad rep who thanks to Hancock is saved from a train, and the ad rep decides, that he can really help Hancock save his reputation. After that the movie takes it turn, and you see Hancock become the superhero he was meant to be. Though the movie is kind of funky in this part, it works rather decently thanks to a performance from Jason Bateman, who just has that charisma, and he shows. So about 35 minutes in Batman convinces to put Hancock in jail to show the world that they in fact do need Hancock, it's kind of interesting and puts a new spin on the super hero character. The problem though in the movie comes up in fact when it should start to really good, that's when Hancock starts to change his ways. Once he thwats a bank robbery, the story officially becomes inane and stupid, and it all stems down to Charlize Theron's character, Will Smith's Hancock and both of there past. I wont go into anymore detail for you that want to see it, but it's so inane and stupid, and just don't right retarded, that I was going what the fuck happened to Peter Berg. Peter Berg to me is like Jon Faverau and Michael Mann and Frank Darabont, and Christopher Nolan and Steven Spielberg, he is a man that has a visual style, and a directorial style that is second to none. He knows how to direct a movie, look at a movie like The Kingdom or Very Bad Things and you can see the man has talent, but here in Hancock the direction felt so half baked, and the story so half constructed, the it was painfull to watch. Even Will Smith looked extremely bored with this movie. Hell Jason Bateman had little to really play with here after the first 30 minutes. I really believe that Peter Berg and his cronies will take this as a lesson learned, and do something better, because this sure as hell was a bad strike. C- Anyways that's my thoughts, take them for what they are. Peace.
Finally, a mostly positive review from "R.J."...
I went to a free preview showing of "Hancock" in Baltimore last night. After paying actual money to see the last Will Smith movie, "I Am Legend", a free pass was the only way I was going to see another film staring the Fresh Prince in the theater again. Adding to the insult that was "I Am Legend" was the fact that it was written by the hackiest of hack writers, Akiva Goldsman, he of "Batman & Robin / Lost in Space" fame. When my movie-going friend Jamie said to me before the film, "I think 'Hancock' was written by Akiva Goldsman", I seriously almost got up out of my seat and left. Thankfully, I stayed (and found out during the credits that Akiva was only a producer on this film). *WARNING* - slight spoilers I must say, from start to finish, I was pleasantly surprised by "Hancock". The movie opens right off the bat with a highly entertaining, and quite profane action sequence involving a drunken Will Smith as Hancock grudgingly chasing an SUV that's shooting up the L.A. freeway, and even though the trailer gives away a lot of the action from this scene (it has now become a Law of Film that a trailer for a Will Smith movie shall give away 90% of the plot/action scenes), there is still plenty of surprisingly hilarious curse-filled dialogue that transpires between Hancock and the guys in the SUV. Basically, everyone hates Hancock, because even though he catches bad guys, he causes more damage then most earthquakes in the process, and never sticks around to help pay or clean up. Oh yeah, and he cusses. A lot. Even some F-bombs. Remember, this is Will Smith were talking about, in a PG-13 movie opening on July 4th no less. In fact, one of the films best running gags involves Hancock's reaction to being called a certain cuss word, and it doesn't get tired. From the action-packed opening scene, the movie speeds right along, quickly introducing the Jason Bateman character, a big-hearted public relations guy who is trying to "change the world" by getting big corporations to do nice things like give away medicine for free to sick people in third-world countries. Needless to say, the corporations aren't on the same page. Bateman is Bateman in this movie, meaning he plays the same character he's played since he debuted on "The Hogan Family" in the 80's. But he gets a lot of mileage basically playing himself in everything, and in "Hancock", he plays well off of Will Smith, as well as Charlize Theron, who plays his wife, and the kid who plays his son. After Bateman is rescued by an always drunk Hancock, he immediately sees the potential in the man, and spends the majority of the movie convincing him that he can be a hero. I won't go into anymore spoilers, since the movie has a few nice twists that may be slightly predictable to some, but still work overall. As for the movie itself, I thought it was a lot better then it probably should have been, especially in the midst of what's turning out to be the greatest summer for super-hero movies ever. While it's not as fresh and fun as the awesome "Iron Man", I thought it was almost on-par with "The Incredible Hulk" as far as action and enjoyment. There were some truly funny scenes in the movie, especially the scene where Hancock finds himself in prison surrounded by all the guys he's put there. Director Peter Berg does a great job, and has plenty of good materials and actors to work with. One of the few complaints I have was the fact that the entire movie was filmed with a shakey-cam (a la (The Shield"), and we were sitting close to the screen in the second row, which made things hard to follow or look at sometimes. Again, I am surprised that I enjoyed "Hancock" so much, and it does a good job of cleansing the bad taste that was left by "I Am Legend". I have no doubt that this will be another $300 million July 4th hit for Will Smith, but this time, he might actually have earned it. I think my friend Jamie summed it up best when he said to me, "You know this has been a great summer when the most disappointing movie so far has been 'Indiana Jones', you know". -R.J.
You can expect to see the critics and audiences split on this movie all summer long. It's definitely not a "safe" movie by any means. But does it work? That's what I'm trying to figure out. It's definitely not a LAST ACTION HERO-scale disaster, if that's what you're wondering. Thanks to the above readers for taking the time to share their thoughts. Faithfully submitted, Mr. Beaks

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus