- Entertainment and Media»
- Movies & Movie Reviews
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.
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.