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Hancock (DVD Review)

16 Nov, 2008 By: John Latchem


Street 11/25/08
Sony Pictures
Box Office $227.9 million
$28.96  DVD, $34.95 two-DVD set, $39.95 Blu-ray, $24.94 UMD
Available in ‘PG-13’ and unrated versions.
Stars Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman.

Two movies are trying to break out of Hancock and end up working against each other.

The first is a mild parody of the typical comic book movie. Hancock is a drunkard with superpowers who saves the day when prodded, often leaving an expensive trail of damage in his wake. This setup stems from an attempt to offer a pseudo-realistic view of how the public might actually perceive a super-powered being who fights crime. In a key scene, Hancock saves a car from being hit by a train not by picking up the car and hovering above the train as it passes by, but by throwing the car aside and letting the train hit him, derailing the train and causing damage to several surrounding vehicles. To say the crowd is upset with him is an understatement.

This is not the first movie to put a realistic spin on a superhero story. M. Night Shyamalan did so more subtly and superiorly in Unbreakable.

Once the freshness of the setup fades, the film must rely on its second tract, which is actually telling a superhero story. In this regard it bogs down and can’t play itself out fast enough.

The last half of the film involves an origin story for Hancock that focuses on the comic-books-as-modern-mythology idea, but otherwise doesn’t make much sense. One must turn to several of the behind-the-scenes featurettes to help understand the scenario, which is explained much more clearly there than in the actual film. It doesn’t help that the box art basically gives away a major plot point.

Featurettes comprise the bulk of the bonus material, covering everything from fight scenes to visual effects. Deleted scenes are incorporated back into the movie by way of a 10-minutes-longer extended cut.

The Blu-ray version offers a picture-in-picture video diary with the unrated cut of the film.

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