July 7, 2008

Hancock

First things first: this is not a movie you need to see on a big screen. Period.

Having said that...

I enjoyed it because Will Smith is doing his usual good job. I just wish they hadn't handed him such a crappy movie to do it in. The upshot is that Hancock is divided into thirds. The first third is the 'drunken superhero bum' third, completely foretold by the trailer. The second third is the 'cliched redemption story' which the trailer also gives us the basics of. The final third? That's where everything comes apart. Completely.

I'll just say this: I enjoyed the first two thirds of the movie enough to not feel like I wasted my money, but honestly...the final third feels like it was pulled wholesale out of someone (not a writer)'s fundament during a panicky eleventh-hour rewrite. It's that incoherently bad.

I'll try to do this without spoilers. Basically, either adroitly avoid a backstory for a character like Hancock, or give us a consistent one - i.e. one we can believe in within the context of the movie. Don't just...Jesus, I don't know how to put it...wave your hands around weakly and mumble buzzwords that make no sense even if we extrapolate.

How about having villains that are within the context? As it stands, the final villains are too weak to be thrilling or scary, too grim to be funny, and have too little screen time for me to give half a shit. This is exemplary of the movie - where some movies are an 'action comedy' or 'dramatic comedy' or even an 'action drama' and pull it off by sprinkling scenes of both types throughout, Hancock tries something...different. Namely, the first third is 'comedy,' the second third is 'action,' and the final third is 'drama.' Er, well, the second and final thirds are a bit mixed. But there's complete ham-handedness when it comes to switching gears here; we can usually tell from the framing shot if a scene will be (check one, please) Drama, Comedy or Action. And just determining where we are in the runtime will be usually enough of a shortcut.

The characters? Well, other than the aforementioned villain problem, they all make sense for what they are - with one ENORMOUS exception, which I won't tell you but will be so obvious you'll retch. Ask yourself: what is this person's motivation? For anything they do? If you can figure it out, tell me - I want to know. I honestly couldn't figure out why they do anything they do, *or* why I'm supposed to be sympathetic.

Anyway.

Will Smith is funny.

Posted by jbz at July 7, 2008 6:24 PM | TrackBack

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