Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

7/4/2008

Review: Hancock

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:00 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent


Hancock

Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw the movie Hancock today.

After the movie was given less than stellar reviews, I was very pleasantly surprised by just how good this movie was. It may not be the best movie I see all year long, but I do think it will be one of the best. Certainly, I liked it better than the Incredible Hulk or even Iron Man. Of course, it’s much more than the simple superhero movie that it’s been billed as. Granted, it is a superhero movie, but it’s an original story, not something that’s bogged down with the weight of an entire comic-book universe and history like the Marvel movies are.

So, if you’re not familiar with the movie at all, it stars Will Smith as Hancock, a “superhero” with a drinking problem. And, can you blame him? I mean, as he says himself in the movie, he’s the only one of his kind. Super strong, virtually invulnerable, and he can fly, but people expect him to be a hero and to act accordingly. That has got to get old. So, he drinks. A lot. A whole lot. And he passes out on park benches. And swears. A lot. And, he doesn’t like it when people call him names, because, well, they do, since he’s not really a nice guy. At all.

Except, really, he is. He’s just an alcoholic. With super powers. Not a combination that lends itself to being loved by the public. So, when he saves Jason Bateman’s character from getting run over by a train, he invites Hancock home for dinner. At dinner, Ray Embrey, Bateman’s character, a PR guy trying to change the world, offers to do some work on Hancock’s image for him. Oddly enough, Hancock takes Embrey up on his offer. Hilarity, and drama, ensue.

It’s a brilliant story, really, the redemption of a super hero turns out to be a truly compelling story! Watching his transformation from broken-down drunk to a caring man who finds his soul again is no less compelling for the fact that he’s a super hero and Will Smith really sells the idea. It’s pretty amazing. And, of course, the effects are brilliantly done as well. In fact, so much so that you don’t hardly notice them, which is just how effects should be done.
There are plenty of great lines, too. Bateman plays his role to perfection, always believing in Hancock, even when we begin to doubt him.

Naturally, there are a few twists in this heroic tale, with at least one being provided by Charlize Theron. I have to admit, her mere presence in this film was a surprise to me, so the fact that her role turns out to be pivotal was just icing on the cake.

In short, if you haven’t seen this movie, even if you’re not a fan of super hero films, you owe it to yourself to get out to a theater and see it. Trust me!

Happy Independence Day

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

On this day in 1776, more than 230 years ago, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.

It is a national holiday here in the States, in case that wasn’t clear to my non-US readers. I think, though, that a lot of people here have forgotten just why the day is so important. Oh, sure, it’s nice to have a day off. In fact, I’m enjoying it now, having gotten up late and not planning an overly taxing day. But, the Fourth of July, Independence Day, is about a lot more than hot dogs, BBQ, fireworks, parades, and apple pie.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
(You can read more at Wikipedia.)

These words, these ideas, are the basis of all the rest of our government. Oh, to be sure, these principals have not always been applied well or without bias, but the are what underlie all our political striving in this country. We are far from perfect, and certainly there are things wrong with our government, but it is still, I think, the best, most free, form of government we have. It’s something our forefathers fought and died to create for us. It’s something that many have fought and died for since then. I think it’s important to remember that. There was a time in our history, which only spans a little over 230 years, that Americans fought and died for their freedom, our freedom.

I think we all need to consider that as things like the Patriot Act and the pseudo-security invoked with claims of protecting us from terrorism. I’ve heard all the arguments, too, how people with nothing to hide have nothing to fear, how we must do anything within our power, no matter how heinous, to prevent further acts of terror. I’ve seen my fellow Americans dehumanize detainees in Guantanamo Bay based on their religion of choice or the region of their birth. Gentle readers, there is no excuse, no justification, for the erosion of our civil liberties. There is no argument strong enough to convince me that erasing hundreds of years of good work, sacrifice, and service that so many have given so that I can do something as simple as write a blog, take pictures of public spaces, or attend the religious institution of my choice. That, my friends, is what our founding fathers were securing for us on this day in 1776, these freedoms that we so take for granted.

So, enjoy your hot dogs, have a slice of apple pie, watch that parade and admire those amazing fireworks. But, let’s not forget that today is more than the Fourth of July, remember that today is Independence Day.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
   --Mark Twain


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