The Source for Parents

Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

Hancock (11/25/2008)

Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and language.
Directed by Peter Berg (The Kingdom, Friday Night Lights and The Rundown)
Starring Will Smith, Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron

Todd's Rating: Rental

Hancock is not your average superhero.

John Hancock (Will Smith) is a reluctant superhero who is edgy, sarcastic, misunderstood and recently depressed, so he has started drinking…A LOT. Sure, he has saved countless lives in the city of Los Angles over the years, but in the process he has destroyed buildings, trains, roads, cars, and anything else that gets in his way. Like the time he captured several criminals during a high speed chase, it cost the city over $9 million to fix the damages. The public has had enough of Hancock, and they want him gone. Then one day, Hancock saves Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), a Public Relations executive who makes it his personal mission to change the public’s perception of Hancock. Ray's wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), believes Hancock is a lost cause and doesn’t want anything to do with him.

Peter Berg is one of my favorite directors and I love his darker, edgier way of telling a new story about familiar topics. In Friday Night Lights, he took the high school football story and gave it that darker, slightly edgier feel, and it worked. The entire two hours of The Kingdom was an edge-of-your-seat, can’t-watch-this-part movie, and it was awesome. Now he has tried to do the same thing with the superhero genre, and honestly I didn’t love it.

Although it is Will Smith staring in another 4th of July blockbuster, this one was just a rental. It's fun and pretty entertaining, but doesn't compare to Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk or Batman: The Dark Knight (OK I haven't seen Dark Knight yet, but come on we know its going to be awesome).

This time the character he plays is darker and more complex than anything we have seen him do before. But he pulls it off and I found myself caring about him all the way through. As for the rest of the cast, Jason Bateman delivers a hilarious performance filled with his typical sarcastic humor and Charlize Theron was great.

My biggest criticism is the language, especially hearing children swear which happens more than once. Reminiscent of Marty McFly’s, “No body calls me a chicken” lines from Back to the Future, we see Hancock overreact every time he is called an a-hole...which is a lot.

I was also disappointed with the lack of action sequences (if you have seen the trailer, you’ve seen them all). The majority of the film focuses on character development, but in the end we are still left with several unanswered questions (which could mean Hancock 2).

I’m sure it will be another huge hit for Will Smith, but for me it’s worth just a “rental.”

Please be careful with this one. Most superhero movies have been getting a PG-13 rating because of the comic-book action and violence. This one is more about language and adult themes. Although there is no nudity (well, you do see a little of Will Smith’s butt), the language was surprising.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?

  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?

  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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