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Hancock (2-Disc)
DVD disk
12.08.2008 By: Mathew Plale
Hancock (2-Disc) order
Director:
Peter Berg

Actors:
Will Smith
Jason Bateman
Charlize Theron

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An alcoholic and destructive superhero (Smith) gets an image makeover from a PR wizard (Bateman), while he learns of his origins.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Ooh, so close! For the first hour, Hancock is one of the most original superhero movies in recent memory. The title character, John Hancock (Will Smith), is a sarcastic drunk who holes himself up in a trailer stocked with Jiffy Pop. He also happens to be Los Angeles’s resident “hero,” foiling thugs and bank robbers, but also leaving behind injured citizens and millions of dollars in damages.

Someone has to foot the bill, and the LA taxpayers will have no part (these aren’t the suckers of Gotham or Manhattan). Enter Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), a public relations expert who, after Hancock saves him from a barreling freight train, helps to clean up his image and raise his approval rating, even if it means jail time and having to say “Good Job” to the city’s boys in blue.

And then the twist. Withheld from theatrical trailers and posters, it’s now being promoted and spoiled in TV spots for the DVD and on the cover art. But I won’t write specifics here, for fear I’d come off as shameful and ignorant as the Sony marketing team. Said spoiler (and the twist itself, really) sucks the fun right out of the grand finale, which, as stipulated in Superhero Movie Rule #3, is where most of the $150 million budget went (that averages to about $1.5 million per minute for the extended cut, by the way).

Director Peter Berg (The Kingdom), with a script by Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan, takes the task of directing two movies here: 1) the character dramedy, and 2) the superhero movie. Hancock works best as the former, as we’ve never quite seen a superhero as confused, hated, or uncaring as John Hancock. But it’s the latter, most prominent in the last half-hour when our hero and his nemesis dart through the sky and hurl automobiles at each other, that Berg proves that, despite a clever premise, this is still your typical slam-bang-crash summer blockbuster.
THE EXTRAS
Disc One:

Both the Theatrical Version (92 mins.) and Unrated Version (102 mins.) of Hancock are included on the first disc.

Disc Two:

Aside from containing the Digital Copy, the second disc also hosts a handful of features:

Superhuman: The Making of Hancock (12:50): This standard promotional piece gathers cast and crew to discuss how Hancock went from script to screen. Interviews and behind-the-scenes footage backbone the featurette.

Seeing the Future (15:59): Divided into eight segments (“Pre-Visualization,” “Bank Robbery Scene,” “The SUV Chase,” “Hancock Meets Ray,” “Hancock In Jail,” “Mary vs. Hancock,” “Liquor Store Shoot Out,” “Hospital Fight”), this feature details the development of the special effects, with focus on how computer-generated sequences are used as blueprints for filming.

Building a Better Hero (8:14) is a piece devoted to Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor John Dykstra, with collaborators paying tribute to him and his work on Hancock.

Bumps and Bruises (10:27) focuses on the execution of the film’s action sequences.

Home Life (10:47) takes a look at the construction and decoration of the Embrey’s home.

Suiting Up (8:25) offers a look at the creation of Hancock’s “no cape, no spandex” suit.

Mere Mortals: Behind the Scenes with “Dirty Pete” (3:56): “Dirty” Pete Berg, the director of Hancock, and his techniques are the focus here, with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage showing him wrestling with a Rubik’s Cube (a possible reference to The Pursuit of Happyness), working with his cast/crew, and making the set as much fun as possible.

Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Hancock is a bit uneven, but can appeal to both the superhero fan and those more keen to character depth. This 2-Disc Unrated Special Edition has plenty of features (most are technically-oriented) to entice fans to pick it up. Others may want to rent.
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