Film Autopsy – Hancock

hancockBoiler-plate introduction warning: This film review is going to be heavy on spoilers. Move along if you’re not into that sort of thing. I will warn you to start with, I am a nit-picker of films. I will latch on to something and unravel it, and try and understand how the world of a film works. This often makes it look like I hate a film, or at least think too much. Sci-fi films set 10 minutes into the future are perfect for this – a lot of things can be assumed about the way the world works now with that one big difference.

We picked this one up from our Sainsbury’s bargain bin. It’s too easy to walk out of that store with a handful of new DVDs as they’re all pitched at that perfect ‘try-me’ price.

Now, it’s hard to nitpick funny films. So much of humour these days is based on the fact that these things do not happen, can not happen, are bizarrely unlikely or physically impossible. And superhero films fall on that same sort of side – how can you really nitpick Spider-Man’s web travel dynamics when you’re talking about a guy who shoots selectively sticky, instantly replenished super-strong webs out of his wrists?

In general, this was a good film. It made us laugh. Not as much as Don’t Mess With The Zohan, which we’d watched just before it, but it was definitely entertaining. I thought, by the end, that the acting was in general fairly good for this sort of thing. The relationship between Mary and Hancock kept us guessing all the way through, and we just couldn’t work out what the story was there.

Which actually brings me to the big nitpick – Mary (Charlize Theron). She never answered any damn question sensibly, or without introducing at least a dozen more! Almost entirely down to her character, the plot unravelled itself until there were dozens of loose ends, no real resolution, but all the characters just wandered off fine and dandy. Big questions she failed to answer include…

What are we?
To which she replies:
We have been known by many names – angels, gods…
So… what are they? Not expanded upon.

She tells our man Hancock:
We were made in pairs, but as we get closer to our opposites we lose our powers.
There are lots of questions he could ask, including “By who?” and “For what?”, and none of them really bad choices. He chooses:
And is told:
So we can live human lives, and love and blah blah blah.
That doesn’t answer any of my questions! Not one!

While Hancock lies bleeding in a hospital, she sits on him and tells him that the closer they are, the weaker their powers. The further away, the stronger those powers get. Like the power to heal. To heal those dangerous bullet holes in him. The woman sitting on him tells him that the further away he goes from her, the better those wounds will heal. So MOVE, woman!
It’s at this point that she reveals their true history – where he got his scars from, how he got his skull hit and got amnesia, and why she left him there. This would have been totally fine if she’d not then added:
They always get to you through me.
WHAT??? Who always gets to him? Different people, in different ages of history, in different countries and cultures, just randomly attacking people makes sense, as does ‘ooh, they’re angry because we’re demons/witches’, but suddenly she makes it a They and an always and makes it seem like there’s so much more occurring beneath the surface… Why are people after him? Do we have to guess?

She fails to answer any questions to her husband when confronted by him about Hancock and her flying ability…

I have to fault Hancock himself though, when learning that Mary knows all about him (they’ve been together three-thousand years or more) but he has no recollection of anything eighty years before, that he didn’t ask her what his name was. There’s a cute story about a nurse asking for his ‘John Hancock’ and him being so addled from the skull wound that caused his amnesia that he thought it was his name.

This is a film about questions. People not asking the right questions, and people not answering the questions asked. I expect we’ll watch the ‘Unrated’ version (we got the 2-disc special edition) at some point, and maybe it’ll answer something. Then again, maybe the answers I want are hidden somewhere in the bonus disc. Either way, it’s a funny film that’s worth a second viewing, even if it’s a little short on absolute laugh-out-loud moments – but as I say, that could be because we had it straight on the tail of Zohan.

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