So my quest to find a bad movie to bag on remains unfulfilled. Hanna wasn’t great, but it also didn’t feel like parts of my brain were shriveling while I watched it, which is pretty much what I was looking for (see my review for the Warriors Way if you want a good example). It was a flesh wound.
Before I get into the story and specific stars and black holes, I will say this. It is an axiom of film, comic book, and video game that any attempt to genetically engineer a super soldier will inevitably result in one of those soldiers rising up and killing everyone who was remotely involved, and Hanna is not the exception to that rule. Also, in the lexicon of bad places to hang out in any kind of movie or video game, abandoned amusement parks always rank in the top three (along with abandoned schools and abandoned hospitals. Ironically, in my book graveyards don’t even hit the top 10, unless it’s a zombie film (Zombie image courtesy of the zombie movie t-shirts)) and Hanna lives up to the stereotype.
So the story is of a young girl, raised by a Grizzly Adams looking guy in the woods of a country in Europe (? Never clearly defined. They seemed in imply Scandinavia, but since I have license and am also a big Three Stooges fan, for simplicities sake we’ll call it the Kingdom of Moronica) where she has a typical childhood upbringing-killing animals with a bow, shooting stuff with a Lugar, and having her father train her to be professional assassin by constantly sneaking up on her and trying to kill her. In other words, a completely stable, wholesome upbringing with no chance whatsoever of massive psychological damage. (I’m being factitious here, of course. The girl is basically being raised in a blood lined Skinner box). It turns out that she was part of some super soldier program and her father took her away after her mother was killed by a woman with shockingly red hair. They summon the US agency that he used to work for that goes unnamed but for the partially seen seal on a wall is the Ce….. …………. …..cy. Subtle. Anyway, for no apparent reason he bails on Hanna, leaving her to deal with the spy hit team (also sent out for no apparent reason). She gets captured and ends up in a long chase across Europe, where she meets an English family, and is headed for Germany for something.
That’s really my only problem with the movie. There is a lot of lack of motivation for anyone to do anything. I spent the entire movie plagued by “wh” questions. As in, why didn’t they just leave and head to Germany together? What were they hoping to accomplish there? Why would the father take the time to train Hanna to be a super spy assassin, as well as educate her in at least five different languages and the weight of a blue whales testicles (no joke), but not bother to teach her what a passport is or what electric lights or a television are? What kind of spy doesn’t need to know that? What ended up happening to the family that helped Hanna? Why didn’t the super secure facility where they brough Hanna not have security grates on the air vents (or something. Not sure what she was running around in) to prevent escape, or for that matter even a padlock on the exit door? Why would they dress their prisoner in an orange jumpsuit that is almost exactly the same color as the desert rocks outside the underground facility? Why didn’t the trained military guys notice the open manhole they were driving over?
The list goes on. All these questions gave the whole story a weird, disjointed feeling.
Anyway, spy hijinx ensues. A number of trained, grown men are killed by a 16 year old girl. That’s pretty much the bulk of the story.
First, the stars. The girl who plays Hanna, Saoirse Ronan, does an amazing job for such a young girl. I expect to see her do some great stuff in the future. Two stars. As disjointed as some of the film feels, there literally wasn’t a dull moment. One star. Most of the European and African scenery was great, and shot to good effect. One star. Kate Blanchet was pretty good as the heavy, although her Southern accent felt really forced. One star. The father was also pretty good, at least once he shaved off his really bad beard and cut his hair. One star. There is one really good villain from the “effete German soulless killer” school that, while stereotypical, was entertaining. One star. They didn’t try to exploit the cute young girl with some lame love interest (the Professional). One star. I have my issues, but don’t want to bury this film in black holes, so I am going to give two more stars just on general enjoyment. Total: 10 stars.
Now the black holes. I could give about 50 for each of the “wh” questions that came into my head while watching this, but I will be kind and restrict it to three. This may sound petty, but the soundtrack (by the Chemical Brothers, whom I normally like) literally sounded like cell phone ring tones most of the time. I’m not kidding. Every time they changes scenes and a new track would play people in the audience were checking their phones to see if they had left them on. One black hole. I’m really bugged that I never found out what happened to the British family that helped Hanna, and when you see the movie you will understand why. One black hole. The British family, while kind of entertaining and integral to the story, also annoyed me by trying to crowbar in all the pop culture references Hanna, having grown up in the woods eating deer meat, couldn’t. One black hole. While almost all the action sequences were good and well choreographed, there were a couple, especially towards the end, that had me saying “duh”. One black hole. Total, seven black holes.
Grand total of three stars, which honestly is not bad. I don’t think you really need to run out and see this in the theater, but if you can see it cheap go for it. Definitely put it on your NetFlix list. You won’t feel like you wasted your time seeing this one.
I might go see something tonight, being yet another cheap movie night at Jack London Square, but my options are limited. Insidious looks scary as hell, Soul Surfer has sharks, Scream 4 is getting decent reviews, and Hop might put me into a sugar coma. None of the looks sucktastic enough to make a great review, although Hop is probably my best candidate. At least I can talk about the many childhood Easter traumas I experienced.