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Hancock

Will Smith stars as Hancock, a sarcastic, hard-living, misunderstood superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public and is in desperate need of an extreme makeover. Enter idealistic publicist Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), who helps Hancock improve his public relations.

Even with less-than-favorable reviews, Hancock delivered another July hit for Will Smith with a $227 million box-office take—but the critics were justified in their lack of praise. The first act sets up the main character and exposes his personal flaws, but midway through the second act, the story falls apart. The concept had some potential, and with Smith as the star, I expected a lot more—what a letdown!

The AVC encode isn't one of Sony's better efforts, but the problems have more to do with the principal photography than the encode itself. Color saturation is excellent, although the contrast is on the hot side and crushed blacks permeate the production. Close-ups look spectacular and longer shots provide some nice depth, but the CGI is obvious because it's much softer than the rest of the photography.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, Hancock delivers a lot more than you'd expect in a comedy. Dialog is intelligible even in the most action-packed scenes—and there are many of them. Imaging across the front is very good, although the surround speakers can go for long periods in virtual silence, especially during the dialog-heavy sequences. Bass has a strong presence, but it doesn't shake the foundation as I've heard from other day-and-date titles recently.

The bonus features are on the sparse side, especially for a summer blockbuster, but at least they are all in HD. If you're a fan of deleted scenes or director's commentaries, you'll be disappointed here because Sony decided not to include either in this release. The only supplements are seven featurettes on different aspects of the production, an "On-Set Video Diary" PIP track, and a digital copy of the film provided on a second DVD. Much like the movie itself, they are uninspiring.

I consider myself a big Will Smith fan, but Hancock is a waste of his talent. The concept has some merit, but the execution is sorely lacking with a horrendous screenplay that completely falls apart in the second half of the movie. Not recommended.

Release Date: November 25, 2008

Movie: 4/10
Picture: 8/10
Sound: 8/10

Review System

Source
Panasonic DMP-BD55

Display
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Electronics
Onkyo Pro 85 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

Speakers
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Cables
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

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