Hancock (Movie Review)

This is a repost of Will Smith as Hancock: Lacking Human Moments published first on Yahoo Voices Jul 16, 2008.
Will Smith’s movie “Hancock” is a superhero flick that struck me as lackluster at best. There are a few moments toward the end that worked but overall it was just a movie trying to win an audience through special effects.

In the beginning we find John Hancock curled up on bench in Hollywood, California. He’s clutching a bottle of booze much to the chagrin of a little kid urging him to go get the bad guys. This scene is wholly confusing and I found myself guessing that he was a well known bum with amazing powers. Sounds stupid huh? Well, I was 100% correct. In the first 2/3 of the movie we see Hancock go through rehab and do jail time. I kept hoping we’d get something to hold onto in terms of a moral, but it never came. I suppose one could justify that big chunk of the movie by saying it shows people should be responsible and stay in jail even when they have the superhero ability to break any brick wall down (or thick steel for that matter). I’m sorry but the morals here, which are always there in great super hero movies, are cloudy if not non-existent. This superhero movie had no morals and therefore slipped and fell most of the way through. Now, in the last 1/3 of the movie it recovered somewhat, at least in the morals department. We find out he has a wife he didn’t know about and he does a few things to save her life. Without giving away too much of the plot, I will just say this moral of “selflessness” is presented in the most cryptic way it takes a movie reviewer to glean it, at least that is this movie reviewers opinion. If I were to ask one of my kids what the moral is of the scenes between Hancock and his wife I have a feeling I’d get a blank stare.

Should superhero movies be that complicated?

The second area the movie flopped in my opinion was the lack of human moments. Ironically, superhero movies are great because they reveal the humanity through the characters. Not only did these characters lack endearing human qualities, they seemed one dimensional, like a storyboard that was never fleshed out with human characteristics. I found the characters flat and built to serve only the grossly overdone violence that never stops from the first scene. This movie has tons of CGI effects that are neat to look at but unfortunately they don’t carry the weight needed to become a great superhero movie like “the Hulk” or “Spiderman.” I am a big Will Smith fan, but unfortunately, not even Will Smith can save this colossal train wreck.

Hancock will be a good rental for kids that want to see things get destroyed or by drunks that find identification in going to jail to sober up. For the rest of us working class heroes that need good movies to inspire and propel us to do great things, this movie will fall on empty ears and desperately-seeking-for-more than “Hancock,” human eyes. Those eyes, in case the makers of Hancock are interested, want morals and human moments in movies, it’s what keeps us coming back.

Land of the Lost TV Series (TV Review)

This post I wrote was published first at Blogcritics.

This is not a film review of the recent film adaptation of The Land of the Lost. However, I did see it and will review it at a later date. When I saw that movie it brought back a lot of memories about the amazing Sid and Marty Kroft television show The Land of the Lost that I watched all through the 1970s. Since I was born in 1969, I think I was likely the target audience.

The DVDs are available on Amazon and they rock. After I left the movie I came home searching for snippets on YouTube and the like. There is a lot of stuff there, but no full episodes. After a quick shop I found the released episodes on DVD and so I bought them.

When they arrived I watched the first three episodes in order. I was eating Oreos with a huge glass of milk laughing as my wife and kids all thought I was losing my mind. Perhaps I have surrendered it to The Land of the Lost, if not forever, for a time. Memories of soccer practice and piano lessons and fourth grade permeate these DVDs for me. And then … there are the effects.

The first episode of the series is called simply “Cha-Ka.” it’s the story of how the Marshall family meets up with the mythical caveman boy called by the epsiode’s name. They are met with fake dinosaur stop-action animation, really cheesy backgrounds, and monstrous creatures with huge eyes and lizard bodies called Sleestaks.

The recent film adaptation may not win awards, but it got me searching for Land of the Lost again. I think anyone my age and older would love the DVDs for the reverie. People younger should see it for what it is: pure family entertainment. Back in the 70s when you actually had to get up to change the channel, many of us stopped for a half hour to watch the Marshalls battle Sleetaks among the Pylons with Cha-Ka and a T-Rex named Grumpy. Before you see the movie, get the original episodes on DVD. Then at least you’ll understand how this movie first got its legs.