Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 6: Hancock

Day 6: Hancock

I’ve always thought that Highlander was a great movie. One of the reasons for this is that there’s no Perfectly-Plausible-Explanation (or PPE for short) for why people like the Highlander are immortal. They’re just born that way. So of course, I absolutely hated Highlander 2 when the screenwriter decided to offer the PPE of the immortals being some sort of exiled space alien. Had they not bothered with the lame need for an origin, we might have had something better.

Hancock is like Highlander in that the movie is a fun popcorn flick until it decides to get into the origin story. Once it reaches that point (which just so happens to be the Hollywood-standard halfway turning point) the movie goes south.

Will Smith plays the title character, John Hancock, an alcoholic with super powers who fights crime, but does it pretty sloppy. While stopping a high speed chase, he causes 9 million dollars worth of property damage. While that might look cool in movies and comic books, LA taxpayers aren’t too thrilled.

Hancock later saves the life of Ray Embrey (Justin Bateman) who is a PR guy trying to sign corporations onto a charitable cause, but has no luck. Ray offers to remake Hancock’s public image so he’ll be loved by the people. This leads to Hancock doing time for past transgressions in hopes that when the crime rates rise, the city will miss him and release him early. This is exactly what happens.

Enter the newly refashioned Hancock, complete in X-Man style uniform, to stop a preposterous bank robbery scheme in which the robbers have military style weaponry and high explosives strapped to every hostage. I guess they need to rob banks to fun their bank robbing.

Now, had the movie stayed in the realm of being about a superhero trying to make himself over to be welcomed by the public, we could’ve had a good movie. There was a lot to work with. Unfortunately, execs in story meetings had other ideas. Without saying too much, let’s just say that they really screw the pooch with a convoluted story about immortals with more than a few plot holes about the mechanics of Hancock’s powers.

I really, really wish I could understand the mind of the Hollywood screenwriter. I mean, how is it that they constantly have a theme to delve into only to avoid it in favor of some stupid plot twist? Do they just think that the public will fall for the shallow gimmick? It baffles the mind.

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