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Hancock’ treats viewers to two stories in one film

It has recently been the understanding that Will Smith owns the Fourth of July weekend at the box office. Ever since the release of his breakout blockbuster “Independence Day,” Smith has catapulted a fair amount of films to enormous success. Joining the likes of “Men in Black,” “I, Robot” and “Men in Black II,” Smith’s latest holiday escapade turns the mythology of our favorite superhero on its head with the portrayal of a rudely disturbing anti-hero named Hancock.

Using the flight of Superman and the indestructibility of a hero like the Hulk, Hancock has the makings of even the greatest of superheroes. However, with a bottle of booze and a sharply disruptive potty-mouth, Hancock has the rest of the world seeing his powers as insignificant and undoubtedly disruptive. Thankfully for Hancock, public relations executive, Ray Embry (Jason Bateman), sees powerful promise in the future of this misunderstood hero. Taking it upon himself to transform Hancock into a high-flying boy scout, Ray faces the ultimate challenge of changing someone who doesn’t want to change.

Hancock is a film that is arguably two films in one. As it begins, we are given an intriguing presentation of how a hatefully unappreciated hero can turn his life around to promote a more environmentally and people-friendly savior. Watching Smith effortlessly exude the humorously playful qualities of Hancock is uproariously entertaining. With superhero films, it’s a story of a character unlike any we’ve ever witnessed or read about. Suddenly, however, the picture changes as the movie takes on a different message.

Midway through its course, the film haphazardly drops the original premise to quickly tell the origin story; an act which could have been saved for the inevitable sequel. With this sudden change in events, the direction of the script takes away from the original path of the story that was far more intriguing to watch in the first place. At the same time, the film fails to come full circle, and properly conclude the original story line with an ample amount of remaining screen time.

This mid-movie axing of an original story line is a perfect example of how a great story is sacrificed for all of the unnecessary fluff that consumes today’s blockbuster films. Somewhere during production of a film, a writer, producer or director will pitch the idea of an asinine twist just to give way to a more dazzling use of special effects or action sequences. What was originally conceived as a way to further entertain audiences now comes as the dagger to the heel of an already enjoyable and original experience.

Will Smith may own the box office for the patriotic holiday, but with films like “Wild Wild West” and now “Hancock,” the relevance to his quality film contributions is becoming noticeably slim.

‘HANCOCK’

GRADE: C

RATED: PG-13 for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and language

STARRING: Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman

DIRECTOR: Peter Berg

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