MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2

Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron. Comedy/action/drama. Written by Vy Vincent Ngo, Vince Gilligan. Directed by Peter Berg.

FILM SYNOPSIS: An unpopular superhero saves the life of a PR executive, who in turn attempts to salvage his public image. Hancock is one of a kind, a super-being with amnesia, preventing him from knowing his past. But whats this? Is there another super-being on the planet? And might she look like Charlize Theron?

PREVIEW REVIEW: For me, head-scratching began as I heard actor Will Smith, a reported Christian, misusing Christs name in order to emphasize his characters flaws. Then I noticed that the films tone was different from that of the movie trailer. And along with its clumsy and overly familiar humor, the film was just plain ugly.

The movie is filmed entirely with a handheld camera that weaves and bobs as if the holder had delirium tremens. Now, an unsteady Steadicam is often used to project nervous energy, or inject a production with a vigor that the script didnt possess. Its become a style, one utilized by every artiste who ever made a music video. At some point, this camera trickery transferred into moviemaking and is now with us much like rap music and Paris Hilton. It just wont go away.

Besides that gimmick, the close-ups and the lighting give it a harsh feel, as if its supposed to be a 60 Minutes expos. Its a bad looking film, and thats not easy to do with stars like Will Smith and Charlize Theron filling the screen. But thats what cinematographer Tobias Schliesslerand and Steadicam operator David Luckenbach managed.

The tone is unsettling and unconvincing, dealing first humorously with the superheros slothful behavior, then becoming some kind of boring psychological study. This season, weve had nothing but whinny superheroes. Superman never went around griping about being more powerful than a locomotive or being able to leap tall buildings, etc. But the Hulk and now Hancock do little else. And though Im a fan of Will Smiths (I enjoyed him and the message in I Am Legend), here he relies entirely on a charismatic charm (and special effects) to do all the heavy lifting.

Lastly, theres the aggressiveness of the production. The violence of the comic-book-to-movie-version has become far more intense and abusive than the originators of that genre probably conceived. Each offering gets decidedly more rampageous. Weve become so bombarded with this violent imagery that weve come to expect it.

Its not a bad film, but with the glut of summers superhero movies, its easy to compare what works (Iron Man) with what doesnt (The Incredible Hulk). Though Hancock is a step above The Incredible Hulk, it fails to amuse or impress as much as we had hoped from a Will Smith action/comedy/adventure.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Sony Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: A couple of crude sexual remarks and a great deal of objectionable language; everybody gets their turn at telling off Hancock; he deals with it until they call him an asshole. And everyone does call him that, including two kids. Its supposed to be funny.

Obscene Language: Around 10 obscenities, mostly the s-word, but the hero also uses the f-word on one occasion.

Profanity: Mr. Smith utters the phrase I swear to Christ in one scene. Theres a lot we can debate in the Bible, from speaking in tongues to drinking wine, but the misuse of Gods name is not one of them. According to Exodus 20:7, You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name. Why do church-going movie stars like Will Smith and Denzel Washington feel they can test that commandment?

Violence: Moviemakers infuse their comic book movies with more and more violence; here it becomes not only intense, but excessive; lots of gunfire, car crashes, titan battles and near deaths of main characters; then theres the humor derived from the violence such as one guy getting his hands cut off this is played for laughs. Blood: Some blood.

Sex: A couple of kisses.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: The lead is a drunk in the beginning. Whenever theres a problem, he gets a bottle of whiskey. But this is shown as a negative, to some degree.

Other: None

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience:

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