The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2008
MPAA Rating: Unrated/PG-13
Feature running time: 102/92 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English/French Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish/Portuguese/Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian
Starring: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Eddie Marsan
Directed by: Peter Berg
Music by: John Powell
Written by: Vy Vincent Ngo & Vince Gilligan
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 25, 2008
"There are heroes. There are superheroes. And then there’s…"
Academy Award® nominee Will Smith (Best Actor, The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006) stars in this action-packed comedy as Hancock, a sarcastic, hard-living and misunderstood superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public. When Hancock grudgingly agrees to an extreme makeover from idealistic publicist Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), his life and reputation rise from the ashes and all seems right again--until he meets a woman with the key to his secret past.
I saw Hancock with my family back in July while out in California vacationing. I am a Will Smith fan and after seeing the trailer for Hancock I was intrigued. I thoroughly enjoyed the first hour of the movie. I thought it was funny, fresh, and drew some really solid characters. Then came the third act and I couldn’t figure out why in the world someone would think that was a good idea. It spoiled the film’s flow and just made the movie feel as though someone had a great idea but didn’t know how to finish the thought so someone without a clue did it for them. I am not going to discuss the story because I don’t want to give anything away. The unrated version is roughly 10 minutes longer and didn’t add anything substantial to the story. Jason Bateman is very likeable which seems to transcend even small roles he plays. This part seemed like kind of a waste for an actress like Charlize Theron but she did well and looked great doing so. While I didn’t like the later plot point I think that overall Hancock was lots of fun. It certainly puts a whole new spin on the superhero genre and its Will Smith so it can’t be all bad….
The rating is for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence, and language. The unrated version has one scene that contains brief sexuality.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Hancock comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.9 mbps.
Sony has been very consistent in the quality of their high definition offerings on Blu-ray Disc. Here is another excellent example of their commitment to high quality video encodings. I saw Hancock this summer while I was out in Los Angeles and from what I recall this video presentation mirrored it’s theatrical presentation. Images are highly detailed with resolute sharpness and fine rendering that is striking. It uses high contrast and reduced brightness which gives the video a dynamic but relatively darker overall essence. Blacks are very deep but gradationally crushed which also had an effect on shadow detail perception. Sequences with lots of light have good depth but don’t really pop. Colors are deeply saturated with hot primaries, excellent delineation and palette extension. Flesh tones are on the golden/orange side which gives the majority of the cast sun exposed complexions. They had enough tonal variety to prevent them from being unnatural in appearance. Grain is present and naturally rendered in fine layers. I didn’t see any video noise or compression related anomalies. Overall quality is excellent.
The lossless Dolby TrueHD soundtrack delivers well defined and punchy dynamics that elevate the perception of the multitude of sounds contained in this complex surround mix. Surround activity is quite engaging at times as it portrays an aural image filled with discrete/ambient audio that encapsulates the listening position. Panning sequences are seamlessly mated with the onscreen events regardless of direction. The track’s higher resolution was evidenced by its high level clarity and smooth tonal perspective. This applied to the rendering of dialogue as well. I was a bit disappointed with the depth of low frequency effects. This film is tailor made for room filling, high quality, deep bass extension but it didn’t have near the impact that I anticipated. That is not to say that bass was lacking because it was definitely present. There are a number of sequences where the room should have been kinetically charged with bass energy but instead offered response that was palpable but never attained deep room penetration. Two examples that come to mind are the train stopping/crash and super being battle sequences. The impact of the train slamming into Hancock had plenty of dynamic punch and metal crunching clarity but was missing the deep, quick, low frequency burst that should have underscored it. The result definitely felt less visceral. The same was true during the battle sequence as Hancock is literally hit over the head with a large tractor trailer. Lots of descriptive clarity and dynamic range but no gut punching sub bass impact. The scene at the bank fared better but still didn’t provide the rich solidity and deep bass presence that would have enhanced the tactility of the explosive onscreen action. There are some encodings where the low frequency effects channel is mixed too hot which can certainly be a distraction. This film doesn’t require a constant bombardment of 25hz bass extension however there were times here where it would have augmented the action and just didn’t. This is still a excellent surround mix though and I am sure that fans of the film will find it enjoyable.
Blu-ray Disc Exclusive:
- On set visual diary Bonus view PiP
- (HD) Super humans: The making of Hancock
- (HD) Seeing the future: A breakdown of 7 segments from the film
- (HD) Building a better here – 8 minute feature on visual effects
- (HD) Bumps and bruises: 10 minute feature on special effects/action sequences
- (HD) Home life: 11 minute feature on the designing of the sets
- (HD) Suiting up: 8 minute feature on designing the costumes/wardrobe
- (HD) Mere mortals: 4 minute segment - Behind the scenes with “Dirty Pete” (Director Peter Berg
- (HD) BD Previews
- BD-Live enabled
- D-Box Motion Code capable
- Digital Copy: Bonus Disc that contains a standard definition copy of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable playback device
Final Thoughts:Hancock left me feeling somewhat disappointed. It wasn’t a bad movie but it wasn’t a good one either. The first hour was really very enjoyable and is the real reason to see the movie. I am sure there are many who enjoyed it as a whole. Its debut on high definition Blu-ray Disc from Sony comes day and date with its standard definition counterpart. The Blu-ray disc contains exclusive bonus content in addition to all of the special features found on the two disc DVD edition. Overall audio/video quality is strong although not quite to the level that I had hoped for. I would suggest a rental prior to purchase.
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