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Hancock (2008)

Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron, Daeg Faerch, Lauren Hill, Darrell Foster, Valerie Azlynn, Kate Clarke, David Mattey, Lily Mariye, Shea Curry
Directed by: Peter Berg

U.S. Opening Date: July 2nd, 2008


The title of Will Smith’s latest movie is Hancock. Please, no sniggering . . .

And no, it isn’t a movie based on the life of jazz pianist Herbie Hancock either. (Hancock actually won this year’s Grammy Award for Album of the Year from right underneath Amy Winehouse’s nose.) No, instead it is a comedy about a superhero named John Hancock, played by Smith, who doesn’t seem to have bothered with inventing some kind of cool superhero name for himself. Or maybe all the good ones . . . Superman, Batman, Spider-man, etc. . . . were already taken – who knows?

Anyway, Hancock must be the world’s clumsiest superhero. Sure, his super heroics always get the job done and saves lives, but he always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage behind him. (If you’ve seen the trailer you would have seen the scene in which Hancock throws a beached whale back into the ocean – only to capsize a nearby sailboat in the process! “Who still remembers that?” Smith shrugs. “Green Peace,” comes the reply.)

It would seem as if the public has finally had enough. As grateful as they are to have their local hero, the citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy. Hancock though isn’t the kind of man who cares what other people think. That is, until the day that he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), and the sardonic superhero begins to realize that he may have a vulnerable side after all. Facing that will be Hancock's greatest challenge yet - and a task that may prove impossible as Ray's wife, Mary (our very own Charlize Theron), insists that he's a lost cause.

It also doesn’t help that Hancock isn’t your typical goody two-shoes superhero. Instead he is edgy, conflicted, sarcastic and misunderstood. And an alcoholic, by the way. Something which made the movie get the higher R age restriction in the States instead of the more relaxed PG-13 rating, which the film-makers prefer because that would mean that they would reach a broader audience. Even though the film-makers have submitted the movie twice for appraisal, it still wound with an R-rating. Apparently the problem lies in scenes in which Smith’s character drinks in front of a 17-year-old and one scene in which Hancock flies under the influence of alcohol. One scene involving statutory rape was actually removed in an effort to get a lower age restriction … but to no avail.

So it would seem as if the film’s director weren’t lying when he claimed in an interview that “the ad campaign for this movie is much friendlier than the film”! But what’s with that title? The studio making the movie is definitely betting that audiences will go see it because it is a Will Smith movie, and not because of the title. Marketing consultants actually tried to convince Sony Pictures to change it because it was too vague for audiences, suggesting alternatives like Heroes Never Die, Unlikely Hero and Less Than Hero. If you think those titles are bad, then consider the script’s original title: Tonight, He Comes. Which is just plain wrong if you ask us!

Anyway, Hancock seems to be as if it’s going to be a blast – clumsy title or not!






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