Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Does anyone actually want to see 'Hancock'?



So the Fourth of July is coming up, and that means a super blockbuster is going to be released, and this year that super blockbuster is...Hancock? I can't imagine a July 4 blockbuster in recent years that had less buzz going for it than Hancock. Sure, the ads are everywhere, but is anyone excited about it? Does anyone actually want to see it?

I became intrigued by Hancock when I caught the end of a preview a month ago -- I had never heard of it, and by the title couldn't tell what it was about. I looked up its wonderfully informative Wikipedia page and found that it actually had an interesting story going for it, and that it was based on a script written in 1996. It was originally titled Tonight, He Comes and at one point Michael Mann was considering directing it before settling on Miami Vice. So over a decade after Vincent Ngo wrote his script, the movie is being released with a few notable changes:

  • The name was dumb-downed to John Hancock, which was again dumb-downed despite the objections of marketing consultants, who felt it was too vague.
  • The original story of linking the fallen Hancock with a troubled 12-year-old was changed to an alcoholic superhero who needs his image rehabilitated.
  • To avoid an R-rating, elements of statutory rape were removed from the movie.
Okay, I can understand the first two, but statutory rape? From what I've heard, Hancock was not completely excised of lewd material: an early review I read describes a scene that shows having sex with Hancock is similar to getting into an arm-wrestling match with Superman. I mention this only because Hancock is a comedy and the jokes in the trailer already seem stale. Pretty much every superhero movie has a gag relating to the hero not knowing the limits of their powers (Spider-man practicing his web slinging, The Hulk's accidental destruction, etc.), now we have a movie based around this joke?

It doesn't help that we have no reason to care about this superhero's downfall. Who is he? What are his powers? Why doesn't he wear a costume. This is the trouble with trying to sell an original superhero in a movie, and it's exacerbated by the fact that cooler, more established superheroes are still fresh in audiences minds with Iron Man and Hulk. Which brings us to the name: Hancock? This tells me nothing about the movie, and even less about the title character. The vague-ness is reflected in the movie's one-sheet: Will Smith's face ... OK, anything else you can give me? Sony could have at least attempted a play on traditional comic book movie one-sheets, which would helped people identify just what this goddamn movie is about, since the title is of no assistance. Even the tag line is a mess: "There are heroes, there are superheroes, and then there's ..." This could easily be taken to mean that Hancock is better than superheroes, because the one-sheet and title tell us nothing either way.

The title, story and one-sheet tell me that Sony believes Will Smith + Summer = $$. Does all of the above matter a bit since Will Smith is in it? We'll see, I just know I'm not going to see it, and that Wall-E will be in its second week of release when Hancock is released. Is it possible it won't even debut at No. 1?

17 comments:

pacheco said...

I do agree that the title and posters for the film hurt it more than they help it. It was months before I knew what the film was about. I saw the poster and complained to my girlfriend, saying, "What is that movie? I can't tell if it's serious or funny.... There's a city reflected in his shades, but am I supposed to notice something about it? Is he skiing? Is he mentally ill?"

Now, I too see some inherent problems with new superheroes vs. established ones. However, once finding out what the film as about, I became very interested, despite some early word of it being mediocre. I think if the story were told right, we could definitely care about his downfall and upturn. The whole point is that we have a hero who is everything a hero SHOULDN'T be: lazy, careless, cantankerous, alcoholic, unshaven.... That's where the joke is supposed to start. He's so mean that we like him. That's why we start caring.

Theoretically.

At first thought, I don't really dig the idea of paying 9 bucks to see Hancock, especially after hearing it wasn't that great, but I know that my girlfriend will ask me to see it, and I'll oblige.

I mean, what else am I supposed to see, The Incredible Hulk?

Moviezzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

This summer has been crazy as far as #1 movies go. Indy was knocked off by Sex and the City, so I think Wall-E will likely be beaten by Hancock, though I doubt it'll take in whatever Sony expects.

The movie might work. It'll probably recieve the typical lukewarm Will Smith summer reviews. I might see it, if I have absolutely nothing to do that weekend.

Fletch said...

I'm on the same page as moviezzz (Jason Bateman = see it), but I generally agree with you. This is easily the least anticipated July 4th flick in 10 years, if not longer. I doubt anyone is dying to see it, though I'm sure there will be more than enough people like me (vaguely interested, see a lot of movies) that will help it hit number 1.

At least without that early hype, I haven't had time to get down on it like I have with just about every other one of this summer's movies.

Adam Ross said...

Pacheco--good point, the movie will definitely hinge on Smith's portrayal and if he can sell the mean/careless superhero angle. And for a date movie, how about "WALL-E"? (I think I'm more excited about that movie than most six-year-olds).

Moksh Juneja said...

Just the whole plot of having a drunk superhero is simply amazing. It reminds of the Jackie Chan - Drunken Master... not exactly same.. he was drunk to when he use to fight!!

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

I hope Iron Man 2 has Drunk Tony Stark, just so it can blow away whatever Hancock has.

Piper said...

After this release, Will Smith + July 4th opening = Box Office Success will be over.

asha said...

Hey well i really want to see Hancock!! Will Smith starring in it is a reason enough for me.
I just love the entire concept of Hancock being a drunkard superhero!!
There are some more things that inclines me towards the movie which I found on http://hancock.myrecourl.com
You must check it out!!
Hancock rocks!!

Jonathan Lapper said...

So I'm assuming asha works for the Hancock marketing department.

You know what I hear's gonna be really good? Shuttlecock. It's the story of a drunken badminton accessory. Two words: kick ass.

Adam Ross said...

I must check it out!!
Shuttlecock rocks!!

Moviezzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elgringo said...

Pacheco brought up a good point about the poster, is he skiing? That's the impression I got when I first say it. Also, I couldn't tell it was Will Smith's face, I didn't know he was in the movie until I saw a preview.

Moviezzz, that's what I thought about Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium... it turns out Bateman isn't always enough to save a movie. Actually though, now that I think about it, how often do you get a children's movie that deals with death like that? Maybe it wasn't as bad as I remembered.

I'll go see Hancock just like I've seen everything else out this summer (minus Zohan and Love Guru). I trust Will Smith. He hasn't disappointed me since... well, there's isn't really a Will Smith movie I hate. We'll see.

Scott
he-shot-cyrus.blogspot.com

Robert H. said...

I was totally disinterested in seeing this movie until I noticed Vince Gilligan's name as co-writer.

Being geeky in these things, I know that Gilligan wrote WILDER NAPALM, was one of the good writers on X-FILES, and created the show BREAKING BAD.

So I'm a little more interested now...

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

Wow, somebody who doesn't hate Wild Wild West actually exists?

adwin356 said...

Hancock is still a lot of fun. Will Smith remains one of the most likable of movie stars, and he's a virtuoso of underplayed sarcasm....in spite of its flaws, I very much enjoyed Hancock, for both its interesting and creative storytelling and Smith's great lead performance.You can also watch this great movie from here.....wanna get it now, then go ahead and Download Hancock Movie Free and enjoy the time....

delly said...

I walked into the cinema, after countless times of watching the trailer. The movie is funny, easy to watch, and very easy to enjoy. seriously I love this movie and wanna watch it once more. It did have some pretty good moment such as the jail scene and the change in the character of Hancock from a bad-attitude, alcoholic superhero whom everybody hates to much better attitude superhero, whom everyone likes. So guys wanna watch this movie with better quality then go through the link and get it now. Hancock Movie Download