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Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Mini-W Reviews: Hancock

Hancock, starring Will Smith, Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron, is packed with fun and excitement. Although the story is not your average generic plotline, and the special effects show just how far Hollywood technology has gotten these days, the film was overall mediocre and disappointing. My mom didn’t agree with me but she's old.

The story starts out with a burnt-out alcoholic who just happens to have superpowers. As he saves people while causing damage, the crowds sneer at his sad efforts to help. One day, Hancock saves a grateful man (Jason Bateman, who I really liked) and is introduced to his family. He eventually agrees to let Bateman help him with publicity. Hancock reluctantly enters jail, and works on “cleaning up” The movie started to get so boring at this point that I got some money from my mom and got some candy and came back.

Finally some action comes when Hancock is released and learns that being a superhero isn’t as easy as it seems. The aspect of the movie that most disappointed me was the twist. It almost ruined the whole story, and was not well thought out. It was like suddenly I was watching a completely different movie. Hancock is okay, definitely not as good as Wanted, but definitely something to think about seeing if you’re a Jason Bateman fan.

I saw Hancock in The Cinerama Dome at the Arclight Theatre in Hollywood which is cool because it’s right by Amoeba Music. The Cinerama Dome is leftover from a million years ago in the 50s when they tried to make movies go completely around you or something. That’s what my mom told me but I don’t get it because it makes you dizzy so whatever. We also saw Pan's Labyrinth there last year and I was so traumatized.

Unless you are a big Will Smith fan, which I am not, I would wait to see this movie on dvd. I want to see the Dark Knight but my mom hates crowds so we have to see a stupid matinee. But we’ll see it this week and I’ll review it next. I’d give Hancock a two out of five jelly bean rating, overall.

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Belzecue said...

"The Cinerama Dome is leftover from a million years ago in the 50s when they tried to make movies go completely around you or something"

-- Indeed, the Dome is a fascinating bit of 50s cinema tech, MiniW.

But did your mom tell you also about a related development: the so-called 'cine-whirl' (

The problem they had with projecting movies on a 360-degree screen was: the viewer could only focus on one part of the screen at any time, so of course they missed vital plot developments happening elsewhere on the screen out of view.

With the arrival of Cinerama Domes, now the audience needed eyes in the back of their heads to follow the story.

Max Lichtenbulb ( , a retired projectionist, was the first (and only, AFAIK) inventor to come up with a working solution: the 'cine-whirl.'

He proposed that cinema seats could be mounted on gimbals and motors. These would rotate the individual seats at up to 40 miles per hour -- tests with chimps suggested any faster would lead to dizziness, blood clots, hyperanalgia, and in some extreme cases, the rare 'Pygmy Tarsier' response. (My grandfather was a test pilot in the 1940s, and he contracted PTR after ejecting from an X-4 Bantam when it disintegrated during a sharp climb --

Given the not-inconsiderable cost of fitting out their theaters with the new 'cine-whirl' seating, the major cinema chains of the time had to be convinced. So Jack Warner (head of Warner Bros studio, D'uh!) personally invited the chief of the Association of American Motion Picture Theatre Owners, Stu Something (I forget, google it), to experience the cine-whirl prototype. Stu immediately saw how it solved their Cinerama Dome problem. He loved it, the cinema chains were on board within a month, and this invention revolutionized the cinema-going experience.

Now, not only did the audience get 360 degrees of wrap-around screen, they got to see each projected frame at up to 25 rotations per frame -- that's the person rotating 25 times, not the film projection rate (easy mistake to make).

Think about that for a minute... that means the audience are spinning in their chairs 25 times/frame x 25 frames/sec = 625 revolutions per second. That's only 125 revolutions slower than they how they train astronauts in the NASA cyclotrons! Pretty cool.

Anyway, we don't have cine-whirl seating in our modern cineplex cinemas, so what went wrong?

Simple. With all the scientific testing and careful prototyping going on, not one of the test subjects -- and certainly not Stu Whatshisname, head of the AAMPTO -- thought to sit in that 625-revs/sec spinning chair while holding a 40-ounce Giant Gulp frozen Coke cup.

Keep these awesome reviews coming, MiniW. In particular, lets hear your Dark Knight review once you twist Julie's arm. I just missed out on a session tonight 'cos it was full up, boo hiss.

EddieM said...

I don't know anyone who really enjoyed Hancock. I've heard some talk about the script being solid, but as for the movie, not so much.

Wanted was bad-ass. It had a lot of stuff that could have been categorized as silly, but the way it was all put together just worked for me. A lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

Hi all......

Saw Hancock....I give it a zero out of ten!

I heard from a Reader(full-time) in LA that the reason why Will Smith and his crew wanted to make "Hancock" is because Will Smith still cannot forget himself for rejecting the sci-fi screenplay/movie classic "The Matrix". Will Smith wants an iconic sci-fi movie real bad and desperately.

Joel Silver offered Mr. Will Smith the role in "The Martix" but Will Smith turned it down.

So far Will Smith hasn't made a classic or iconic movie in his life!

Hancock just prove that Will Smith is on his way out, just like Tom Cruise with his sci-fi loser movie called "Minority Report" - worst title ever for a movie, just like "Hancock" - second worst title for a movie.

Feels good, I got this off my chest.