Hancock (Single-Disc Rated Edition) (2008)

Actors: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman
Peter Berg
AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
1 (US and Canada only)
Number of discs:
Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: November 25, 2008
Run Time:
94 minutes

Special features:

  • Superhumans: The Making of Hancock
  • Seeing the Future
  • Building a Better Hero
  • Bumps & Bruises
  • Mere Mortals: Behind the Scenes with "Dirty Pete"
  • Trailers



Rewatching this comedy / drama starring Will Smith as a drunken and abrasive superhero named Hancock who tries to change his negative public image with the help of an idealistic publicist (Jason Bateman of Juno), one realizes just how slight the whole affair is. The movie abruptly ends before it even gets properly started!

One also realizes anew how schizophrenic it is. The jarring shift in tone from comedy to violent and over-serious drama at the halfway mark is a major creative misstep. Another creative misstep is a supposedly "funny" scene in which Hancock somehow manages to stuff the head of one prison inmate up the rectum of another prisoner. The scene feels cut 'n' pasted from entirely different movie altogether - as if the Farrelly brothers also did scriptwriter duties on the already undecided movie.

THE DISC: Special making of featurettes on most new releases are mostly dull. Cast and crew members are still under contractual obligation to be nice about the movie they have just starred in. One can only expect the talent involved to be honest and upfront about the movie and their experiences working on it when the 25th Anniversary Edition comes out one day. (Not that one expects Hancock to be as fondly remembered as, let's say, Will Smith's first Men In Black movie one day.) The making of features on the Hancock disc are no exception and mostly serve as agitprop for the movie.

Most of the twenty minutes or so long Superhumans: The Making of Hancock feature consists mostly of your typical ?Will Smith is a real swell guy and a blast to work with? interview shtick. They do however unwittingly reveal the reason why Hancock can't make its mind whether it's a comedy or a drama: the original screenplay was a "dark" (actual quote) affair titled Tonight He Comes and another screenwriter was brought in to make the material more "accessible" (actual quote). Incidentally, by some strange coincidence both screenwriters' first names are Vincent.

The several shorter features dealing with the special effects by the legendary John Dykstra (who masterminded the breakthrough effects in the original Star Wars back in the late 'Seventies) is of slightly more interest. The truth is however that we've seen this sort of computer wizardry and techniques explained in many other DVDs such as Beowulf and the King Kong remake and your interest level may vary.

About nine trailers are included on the disc. The trailers are of varying interest, but genre fans would probably want to check out the trailer for Resident Evil Degeneration, a CG animated direct-to-DVD offering scheduled for a 30 December 2008 release (just in time for when you return unwanted Christmas gifts!). Our vote for most ridiculous trailer however goes to The International, a high octane action movie starring Clive Owens of Children of Men fame battling . . . a bank! Yup, the fight for lower transaction fees starts here . . .

WORTH IT? If the second half of the movie were as good as the first half, Hancock would have been a good comedy in the Men In Black vein for Will Smith. It was alas not to be. File under not as good as it could have been.

RECOMMENDATION: Hancock is worth a rental at best, but you wouldn't be missing much if you skipped it altogether. (Note that there's some cussing and violence, so heed the age restriction if you're a parent of young children.)


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