Hancock - Hidden motifs and symbolism in movies

The movie Hancock, is a super hero movie with a difference, with an apparently unique theme, but I discovered that it had many motifs borrowed from fairy tales and myths. To say that is not to belittle the story, as it is impossible for any story to be absolutely original. The motifs in our fairy-tales came from mythology, and myths evolved along with human evolution.

Ashoka the Great
Ashoka the Great

The basic thread of the story is how an outcast becomes the favorite. The ugly duckling theme, that is. Will Smith transforms from an undesirable, inefficient super hero to the darling of all. A bit of the beauty and the beast theme, too. He is a Fallen Angel, and also a Prince in Exile, the theme I had explored many hubs ago. But there is another interesting parallel, this time in history.

King Ashoka the Great, India's greatest emperor, ruled from 273 B.C. to 232 B.C.

In the beginning, he was a bloodthirsty usurper of kingdoms, and was known as Ashoka the Cruel. He turned over a new leaf after the Great War of Kalinga. He lived and planned for the welfare of his subjects, and his reign became known as the Golden Age. He was called Lokapriya and Priyadarsi. In Sanskrit, one name means one who loves everyone, and the other means one who is loved by all.

The message is that if you love the world, the world will love you. Hancock loves no one and is loved by no one in the beginning of the movie. In the end, he loves all, and everybody loves him.

The Fairy Godmother

Ray Embrey, a P.R. agent, is the fairy godmother to Hancock's Cinderella. He is the guru who succeeds in creating not only a terrific public image for the charmless super hero, but also empowers him and boosts his self image. And just like the fairy godmother gifts Cinderella a beautiful ball gown, Ray gives Hancock his costume.

The Declaration of Independence

And of course, the name Hancock cannot escape its inherent symbolism: John Hancock's signature is one of the most prominent ones in the Declaration of Independence. So much so, that "John Hancock" is slang for signature. The super hero wants his independence, but forgets his responsibility. When the founders of America declared independence, they affixed their signatures understanding their responsibility.

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funnebone profile image

funnebone 8 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

And yet another insight...I am too busy trying to quietly open my licorice to read into movies this well.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Then I should probably see meanings in that, and also explore the symbolism of popcorn! :) Thanks, Funnebone!


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

Up to standard and exceeding all expectations.

Thank you


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 8 years ago from Calcutta

I do not know the story of 'Hancock'.

Is there really any relevance of this 'slang for signature' in the story or that is your

.....what shall I say.... your viewpoint ?


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hancock is on the movies right now...coincidence? LOL hmmm this is quite interesting kenny.

By the way, speaking of 'you'...check this hub out. http://hubpages.com/community/They-HUB-Among-Us

Thanks


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Thank you for the kind comment, Frank. I feel so proud!Dear Shyam, thank you for asking that. The relevance is that the hero grows from just wanting to be free to somebody who understands his responsibility. My point is that even names carry some symbolism.Not coincidence, Michelle, I saw the movie only last week. Yes I saw that hub, (after you told me,)and it made my day! Thank you, O Kind Angel!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

I've yet to see the movie as I'm still in the 'wilderness' roughing it (camping in an RV is really tough...) with my sidekicks. My friends and I are going to the movies next weekend to see Hancock. I'm really curious about the movie now.

This time I'll be watching for your extra symbolisms

regards Zsuzsy


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

That's the life, Zsuzsy Bee. I was in the countryside last week, breathing in the good air.

Watch the movie and give us your insights, too. :)


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

Kenny,

I have seen this film advertised on TV, and i have just watched the trailror and it looks like a brilliant film that has to be watched! and im now armed with your observations which i will look out for and impress who ever is sitting next to me while viewing!

I am also a big Will Smith fan!;)

Thanks again Kenny, for sharing!;)


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Impress them in the Intermission, Compu-Smart! I love Will Smith, too!

Thank you, and happy to add to your already terrific smarts!


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

the depth of knowledge and wisdom in your hubs never fail to captivate my spirit. will look for a dvd of this film, watch it with ripplemaker and "see" that which you have seen and maybe more!:)


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Surely you will see more, Dayzee! I shall await your insights. And Michelle's. :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

I have not been able to see th emovie yet, but I appreciate your explaing the symbolism behind it. Elegantly done, as always. Best wishes!!


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Elegant? Why, thank you, Patty! :)


Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 8 years ago

Interesting, Kenny! I haven't seen this yet, but now I want to!


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Delighted, Isabella! :)


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Kenny, dayzee and I watched the show yesterday. I now understand what you meant about the superhero and the turning around from ugly duckling into a swan or the beast into the prince that he was. I got teary eyed when I saw how one person's belief made all the difference to another. That is the gift of love - to see beyond the imperfection and to see the good inside. So beautiful. Thank you for this review and the hidden motifs and symbolism...that made us watch the movie. :) It was truly nice.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

A demonstration of love brings tears to the eyes of those who feel love. Your testimony is moving, too. It also proves the theory that, when a story is told, half the upliftment is due to the reader's or viewer's own experience.

I am grateful to you, Michelle, for returning to share your experience and insight.

Thank you. :)


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

hahaha, i see michelle has revealed our "teary" moments during the movie. yes thank you kenny for making this hub, else we may not be interested on this seemingly violent-filled action movie. it was a good surprise to find that beneath all that violence is the need for love and purpose. i used to tell my children's theater trainers to be sensitive to the needs of their students for behind those angry shouts may be a cry for help, a need for love.

i guess the movie targets the audience that needs this message the most in this seemingly violent world -- give yourself a chance, give others a chance, give love a chance.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Dayzee, you are another angel come to bless my hub. :)

You're right. Absolutely. Anger comes from a lack of love.

The movie's biggest challenge must have been to say all these things with the risk of being dismissed as 'corny.'

Thank you. :)


Adjust profile image

Adjust 8 years ago from Earth

I didn't even know what this was about because the name made it sound like something else entirely. It's a different type of movie then Will normally does but he did it well. It's about time we had a new super hero movie that wasn't based off some comic or something. I really enjoyed this movie and the plot was well thought out but developed a little too fast and I wish it had been longer. I would say this was a good family movie but there are some bad words to be noted if you are considering letting little ones watch it. Still it was great to watch.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Thanks for that personal review, Adjust.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 8 years ago from France

I haven't seen this film yet, but now I will know what to look for -apart from looking open mouthed at Will Smith!

Thanks for the insight :)


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Thank you, Princessa! Tell us what you think after you watch it. :)


ulises profile image

ulises 8 years ago

I saw the movie, but i really didn't like it, the story was, weird. i was expecting something got something else, but it was not as good of a surprise, like a roofie in my coffee.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Oh, ok, you didn't like it. One man's meat is another's poison and all that. :)


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Kenny...As always an enlightening hub and haven't seen this yet either but will be more interesting now...and how are you? haven't heard from you in ages and did you ever read my "Angel in India" Hub? It was about you...hummm ...and how is the family? and the children? and YOU and of course the wife? My Hugs to all..and Have missed you a lot...G-Ma :o) hugs


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Thank you for coming here and telling this stupid chap that he's neglecting his friends! I quickly went to your hub and replied! I felt so good after reading it, and shall read it again and again whenever I feel low! :) Big hugs!


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

What do you say???awww... maybe you can show me how to try??? to be more like you...what do ya say???  you "rascal"...G-Ma :o) hugs


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

No, no, G-Ma! I will never want to make you like me! It's enough for you to love me, hehe!

We want you as you are, exactly the way you are now, which is perfect!


mikeq107 8 years ago

Great Hub...You could be an advisor on the Shrek set LOL!!!

Mike ;0)


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Sigh! I wish I were something like that. Thank you for that compliment, Mike!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

Kenny - some great analogy there - loved the movie - am a great Will Smith fan and loved the way you've gone behind the scenes here :)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

I still haven't seen this although it's on my 'must see' list. I think it's out on DVD now, so I'll probably catch up with it over the Christmas holidays. The trailers for it looked promising when I saw them at the cinema, and it's the kind of comedy drama with special effects and a good moral, that I usually enjoy! Thanks for posting this review.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Thank you, Shalini. I'm a Will Smith fan, too.

Have fun, Amanda, and thank you.


newcapo 7 years ago

This was an entertaining film.

The are parallels you drew from history are very intriguing- I can't help but agree- thanks for the great hub, Jared


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

Thank you, Jared! Delighted that you agree :)


49er profile image

49er 7 years ago from USA

I thought Hancock was a very good movie, despite getting many mediocre reviews from some. It is very interesting to look at Hancock from this perspective.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

Thank you, 49er, you think like me. :)


Iðunn 7 years ago

intriguing synopsis. you always bring such a unique and in depth vision even to things that on first glance might be ordinary.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

Aw, thank you, Iðunn! You make my head swell up like a balloon. :)


Iðunn 7 years ago

O.O haha, I'm in for the ride! *attaches string*


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

*floats high up in the air*


Iðunn 7 years ago

*dangles around giggling with delight*


Mackenzie 7 years ago

im not sure if anyone put this, but i think when erin gives hancock the dinosaur in jail it symbolizes that his kind is almost extinct. Or i may just be imagining things :P


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

Could be, Mackenzie. Most likely.

What we have to tell ourselves when we interpret a work of art - a book, movie, song, painting, sculpture - is that we are one-third of the experience, the other two being the artist and the piece itself. So our interpretation or imaginings are also important, as it is one-third of our experience.

So that the dino in jail symbolizes that extinction of the likes of the hero is as important as what the makers intended. :)


rrw 7 years ago

what of the symbolism of the eagle that constantly shows up during the movie? Also when his mate appatently dies on the bed in the hospital her mortal husband and son are there. remember this man lost his first wife during childbirth. and when he stands there looking at her the rebirth begins. hancock moves away from them all realising what he must do to save her and in the same breath accepting his new role in the world. she then comes back from death and in essence a rebirth has taken place for all of them.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

Thank you for that insight, rrw :)


joyceann0129 profile image

joyceann0129 6 years ago from philippines

like this movie^^


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 6 years ago from Chennai Author

me too, Joyce :)

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