Friday, July 4, 2008

Wanted and Hancock

The Double Feature

Movies are so expensive nowadays, I feel like we’re all entitled to at least two movies for the price of one. Rarely, do I leave a movie and think that was definitely worth 12 dollars. So my way to stick it to the man is to simply walk into another movie free of charge.

In order to complete this successfully, you need to find a theatre that is big, spread out and has inept employees that don’t care. It is helpful to know the times of each movie so you can strategize accordingly. The tools needed for the successful double feature are a bag of snacks and a cell phone. The bag of snacks: they will replenish you during the movies so you’re able to concentrate and be comfortable. The cell phone: as you walk from movie #1 to movie #2, pretend to be on your cell phone. Nobody ever bothers you when they think you’re on the phone; this make you look busy and important (just ask every girl and poser who’s on his/her phone at a bar.) Pretending to be on the phone is also very effective when trying to avoid people from Green Peace or when sneaking up for better seats at a ballgame. This will mask your fear, and give you the confidence needed to break the rules.

Backup Plan

Just in case a rogue movie theatre employee tries to save the day, have a backup plan. If they ask for a ticket, I show my credit card receipt because it doesn’t have the movie title on it, but is proof that I bought a ticket for something. My second plan is to explain that I wandered into the theatre to say good-bye to a friend. My third plan involves using the force. And finally, if none of these works, and they call for backup, I run like hell.


I was psyched to see this movie. I’d heard comparisons to The Matrix; would this be the next movie to revolutionize the action genre? The answer is…not really. Wanted had some cool action scenes that will make you shout out loud. But after the main character tells off his boss and beats up his backstabbing friend, there’s not much left.

The formula is pretty basic:

1)a normal dude gets recruited to join the assassin club
2)training is too hard so he quits (repeat 3 times)
3)a hot chick convinces him to stick with it
4)he becomes an assassin
5)takes on the bad guys
6)learns a lesson

The main character is played by James McAvoy who is just awful. He makes you cringe in almost every scene, and he’ll make you yearn for Keanu Reeves. I hate to call this guy a d-bag, but he kind of is in this movie. I wonder how much better Wanted would’ve been if anyone else had played this part.

You get to see Angelina Jolie coming out of a bath which is cool, but I’m pretty sure, it’s a butt double and she’s looking a little worn out anyways. She has one monologue, but it’s unnecessary, and she is dressed, so it’s hard to show any true interest.

I was surprised to see Morgan Freeman playing a role usually reserved for Samuel L Jackson—the cool, ominous leader of a mysterious group who does nothing the whole time.

Overall, the movie is visually entertaining, but it's not very good. If you like dark, intense action movies with minimal plot/climax and a heavy metal soundtrack, then you’ll dig this a lot. But if you’re looking for a decent plot, developed characters, and clever dialogue, Wanted is not for you.

The Tom Cruise Rule

Will Smith is so cool that despite all of his successes, people still don’t hate him. He is a complete anomaly to the Tom Cruise rule which says: If people get too big and successful, the media and/or people will turn against him/her. (See Oprah, A-Rod, Britney Spears, etc.) Will Smith is the exception to that rule. He’s good with the media, a solid family man, and not a scientologist (at least not yet.) With Hancock, Will is attempting for his 9th movie in a row to rake in over a 100 million dollars. How do I know this? I just saw his true Hollywood story on the plane—quite informative. I also learned: in West Philadelphia he was born and raised, and on the playground that’s where he spent most of his days. Intriguing stuff.


Hancock is a fun, harmless, action movie. Much like Wanted, the first hour is kinda fun, and the second hour is messy. Hancock keeps it light, plays with some cool special effects, and has some laugh out-loud moments.

It has a great concept—a super hero that doesn’t give a sh!t. But inevitably he starts to care and flexes his muscles for the people of LA. But unfortunately, he has no conflict in the end except for his own past. Although that might make for an interesting philosophical discussion, it’s not very satisfying for an action/superhero movie.

Overall, Hancock is not a great movie or a bad movie. It’s OK. Things blow up. You laugh a few times. Will Smith is cool. But in the end, you wonder why they didn’t do more with this cool story idea and character.

Where are the Bad Guys?

Hancock and Wanted suffer from the same problem. There’s no real villain. If you break down some of the best action movies of all time, the antagonist is almost as likable as the main character. Take Die Hard (Hans), the original Batman (The Joker), Terminator 1 and 2 (the terminators), The Matrix (Agent Smith)—these characters balance out the action movie. If the antagonist is brilliant, scary, and/or bad-ass, it gives the main character a challenge. And in the end, we get a climax where we actually don’t know what’s gonna happen. Wanted and Hancock spend so much time developing their heroes that in the end, they have nobody to fight against.

You can even take Iron Man as an example. I enjoyed it, but the reason it was only a good movie and not a great movie was because there wasn’t a brilliant, scary and/or bad-ass antagonist. It seems to be a theme with Summer 08 Blockbusters. Wanted and Hancock provide a fun story, with cool effects, but in the end, there’s not much for the hero to do. As a result, neither movie stood on their own and was worth $12. But put ‘em together for the 2 for 1 double feature special, and you’ll get your money’s worth.


josh said...

I'm with you, Paul. Rarely do I feel that I got my money's worth at the movies. There is def. a sensation of being robbed for the most part upon leaving, especially paying $8 for a bag of popped corn (really?!). I do love to see them on the big screen though; it really adds an element. I'm sure the new "Batman" movie will make up for some of those disappoinments!

Robby said...

wanted and hancock are dessert no real substance