Monday, October 05, 2009

Liveblogging the First Hour or So of Hancock

Hancock is on again, so I'm going to liveblog my thoughts a bit...

* Hancock kicks off with the brilliant Atticus Shaffer calling Hancock an asshole. That kid is amazingly cute and funny -- he's the youngest kid in the new sitcom The Middle and fantastic there.

* Hancock watching the new coverage of himself in a bar... a public place, a need to be accepted after performing an action meant to do the same -- but it results in people hating him. He can't help but tell a woman off as he lashes out after being hurt emotionally.

* I don't actually care about Ray that much. His little quest to 'change the world' doesn't really come off that well here. It's too vague and unfocused -- too idealistic in that obvious way, meant for failure. He reaches too far, wanting too much, while Hancock wants too little.

* "All you people, blocking the intersection... you're all idiots..." Great line. Hancock mouthing off to the crowd is great, because it's the only personal interaction he gets. Not only that, but this is the sort of personal interaction he's accustomed to. This is the thanks he gets and while he wants better, he'll take what he can get. He's mystified at Ray's actual gratitude -- and, later, at Ray's son, Aaron's awe.

* Every action Hancock undertakes is the laziest, most thoughtless one possible.

* The discomfort Hancock experiences at dinner... and filling his glass with booze... he's trapped in his little anti-social world of self-loathing and loneliness. Or, Hancock's advice to Aaron about how to deal with Michel, the neighbourhood bully, reveals that Hancock's superpowers have taught him the only way to solve problems is violence. He's like a little boy who likes a girl, but the only thing he knows to do to get her attention it hit her: the human race is that little girl and his acts of 'heroism' are odd attempts to get affection. He doesn't know any better.

* "Did he just take the whiskey bottle to the bathroom?" "Do you want him to kill us all?" Great.

* I'm trying to reconcile Mary's dislike of Hancock with where I think the movie should have gone and I'm not sure I can yet.

* Hankcock waking up outside of his trailer that's out in the middle of nowhere, his sad, lonely life... Will Smith plays this perfectly, the way he looks at that movie ticket he keeps... it tortures him to have that reminder of a life he can't remember, but he can't let go.

* What a surprise: the little douchebag bully is a French kid...

* Hancock's dealing with the kid is exactly how 95% of us want to deal with a little shit like that. A mouthy little fucker that you just want to smack... Hancock can do what we all want to do because no one can hold him accountable really.

* Aaaaaaaaaaand he's tossed the whale... aaaaaaaaaaand it's hit the boat. I love that scene.

* "Homo... Homo in red... Norwegian homo..."

* Ray tells us the point of the character and what he really wants just under the 30 minute mark in case you didn't understand it yourself.

* I fucking hate Nancy Grace.

* And, then, Hancock's little speech about how he'll be better adds the other half of the point of the movie, in case you didn't understand it yourself.

* The point: he's lonely and wants acceptance -- and, to get it, he'll improve himself. That is the point of the movie. That the film deviates from that point when Mary is revealed as another immortal superpowered being is a huge flaw.

* Hancock shoves one inmate's head up another inmate's ass... perhaps the most unexpected, fucked up scene in recent Hollywood history. Worth it for all of the reaction shots. And the theme from Sanford and Son plays!

* Ogre! Ogre! Ogre!

* Hancock's group therapy sessions are engaging. A chance to actually open up in a safe environment where he will gain acceptance and he never takes advantage of it. He doesn't know how to open up to these people who won't judge him because they are just as fucked up and lonely as he is.

* The revelation that Hancock's incarceration actually causes crime to rise is interesting, because we get the idea that he doesn't actually do much good. I think this is a weakness of the movie: we need more of him fighting crime in a reckless fashion before he can begin to turn things around. But, that's a requirement of the shitty second half, I suppose. Have to have room for the bullshit.

* The prison visit by Aaron and Mary seems like it will have a big impact on Hancock, but it just makes him more withdrawn. That's an interesting choice. Mary showing up is a sign that another person has accepted him and doesn't hate him, which is what he wants, but it causes him to crawl into himself more.

* The wall carvings Hancock does in prison is all we should get of his origin, of his past. Because his past doesn't matter.

* A key scene: Hancock throws a basketball, which bounces over the prison's fence, so he hopes out to get it. He's just staring, going from the prison to the empty space... before he jumps back. Why does he return to prison? I love that scene. It reaffirms his desire to be accepted... and, in prison, he's just like everyone else.

* It cuts immediately to another therapy sessions where they force him to share: "My name is Hancock and I drink and stuff," and they react with enthusiasm. We get tangible proof that they will accept him.

* The hostage situation comes too soon, I think. We just saw a small breakthrough and to have Hancock leave prison this quickly is rushing it. He should have stayed there longer, be shown to be more comfortable in that setting where he is just another inmate. His superpowers mean nothing in prison, because he's trapped there like everyone else. While it's his choice to be trapped, that doesn't change anything in reality.

* Hancock repeating "Good job" to the cops is great. He's making an effort!

* When they launch that grenade at him, it shows that he still hasn't changed, because he simply deflects it, which could hurt someone but doesn't. It's still a thoughtless, lazy action.

* The lead crook in the bank robbery is a bit of a moron. How is he not aware of Hancock? Sure, Hancock was in prison, but when he men are being taken away by something... of course it's Hancock!

* Hancock cuts off the guy's hand to keep his thumb on the detonator: lateral thinking at its best.

* Hancock is faced with his first largescale positive reaction and, like most introverts, doesn't know how to react, so he nods awkwardly and stands there before taking off. And, from there, we go to a restaurants where he's loved. He's asked to smile and we get a weird grimace.

* The dinner with Ray and Mary points to the direction where the movie should have gone (and sort of does): Hancock wants what Ray has. The public liking him isn't as great as he thought it would. It's awkward and weird, it's not that different from the public hating him. It's a mob mentality -- he wants acceptance on a more personal, intimate level. Mary is the only woman who's shown him that, so, naturally, he tries to hit on her. The movie should have had her rebuff him and Ray discover it, so Hancock destroys that relationship.

* We're pretty much at the point where I stop this, because Hancock just put Ray to bed and is about to try and kiss Mary.

* Some final thoughts: this first hour or so of the movie is rushed because they want to have room for the Mary plot, which, as I said, is a mistake. It loses the point of Hancock wanting acceptance and working to become better to gain it. We don't get enough of his recklessness, nor of him improving in prison... it's all very much one or two short scenes and moving on. No, the movie needed to slow down, take its time, and stick with the point. Hancock wants acceptance, ultimately, from himself. While he gains that in the movie, it comes about through an inane manner. Otherwise, that first hour is pretty good. I didn't enjoy it as much this time around since I noticed how compressed it is. But, still, pretty good.

Hope you enjoyed this.