Aug 252011
 

Despite some plot holes, Hanna is an entertaining film with three great performances from Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Tom Hollander and a serviceable one from Eric Bana. As for the Blu-ray, the video is fantastic, the audio is bombastic and some of the best lossless audio I’ve experienced in a while and the features are alright if not forgettable.

 

 


Hanna (2011)


REVIEW NAVIGATION

The Movie
| Special Features | Video Quality | Audio Quality | Overall

 

Genre(s): Action, Drama
Universal | PG13 – 111 min. – $29.98 | September 6, 2011

MOVIE INFO:
Directed by:
Joe Wright
Writer(s):
Writer
Cast:
Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett

Theatrical Release Date: April 8, 2011

DISC INFO:
Features:
Commentary, Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Ending
Number of Discs:
1
Audio:
English (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1), French (DTS 5.1)
Video:
Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles:
English SDH, French, Spanish


THE MOVIE – 3.5/5

Joe Wright’s latest film, Hanna, is a suspense-thriller that draws inspiration on the Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

The story centers on a young girl named Hanna (SAOIRSE RONAN) who has been raised in the wilderness of Finland with her father, Erik Haller (ERIC BANA). We don’t exactly know her deal except she’s an expert marks… person who can hunt, a master fighter able to kick her father’s ass but she’s also a curious girl wanting to know more about the world, all of which she’s only been taught. After some reluctance, Erik agrees that Hanna is ready to be out on her own so he unearths a beacon he’s kept hidden and when she’s ready to go, she is to switch it on at which point those that have been chasing her, namely the CIA and Agent Marissa Wiegler (CATE BLANCHETT). When the time comes, Erik goes out on his own leaving Hanna to fend for herself and meet Wiegler face to face.

Wiegler, we discover later in a flashback, was Haller’s handler and as he tried to take Hanna and her mother away, Wiegler assassinates the mother and frames Haller for the murder. Now, one of my problems with the film asks why the beacon needed to be used at all. Was it some sort of rite of passage for Hanna? Why couldn’t father and daughter venture to civilization together, set up new lives via fake IDs (from a character named Sebastian – played by Jason Flemying – who has all of Hanna’s IDs and passport at the ready) and then implement some sort of plan to exact revenge upon Wiegler?

In any case, after a short but nifty fight sequence at the cabin in the woods, Hanna is brought to a secret CIA bunker where she’s debriefed by some creepy dude as Wiegler looks on at a bank of monitors since the interrogation room has been outfitted with multiple cameras on the walls and ceiling. Why were that many necessary? Who cares, it looks hella cool on screen! So, rather than risking her life, Wiegler sends in a decoy to speak with Hanna. Predictably, Hanna employs her lethal skill set and snaps the decoy’s head like a twig, gets a hold of a gun, shoots out the dozen cameras in the room, escapes through an intricate air ventilation system as an army of security chases and finds the exit up top where she lands in the middle of the desert where she meets two kids, part of a gypsy family. She eventually hitches a ride with the family as she gets closer to Berlin.

Meanwhile, Wiegler employs the services of nightclub owner named Isaacs (TOM HOLLANDER) to track down Hanna while she focuses on Erik’s trail where the two paths you know will eventually merge to a PG-13 rated bloody conclusion.

I know based on this plot summary I might sound cynical towards this film but in reality I found Hanna to be an enjoyable if not fluffy piece of entertainment where the story is fairly simple but tended to also be a tad convoluted in how it plays out between coincidences and unnecessary plot devices.

In the film, Bana’s character states to Hanna that the reason for using the beacon that she was the only one who could get close to Wiegler and exact revenge for her mother’s death. And yet when given the opportunity, Wiegler decides to stay on Erik’s trail leaving the B-team to handle Hanna. Surely he knew that once she knew he was still out there that he could’ve just as easily taken care of her and in a much easier fashion than hoping Hanna would get close enough and that Wiegler wouldn’t… you know… use a decoy.

Hanna was directed with efficiency by Joe Wright who has helmed two of my favorite movies of the past decade in Pride & Prejudice and, especially, Atonement. He also was behind the camera for The Soloist which despite being Oscar bait didn’t pan out quite as well. Even so, this is a bit of a change-up for UK born director but he does it with the same finesse and style I’ve come to appreciate.

In terms of the cast, Eric Bana is serviceable in his role, though nothing special as I’ve seen him emote far better in a film like Hulk (speaking of being overly complicated for a simple plot) but as the father figure, he’s alright. However, the film belongs to the two female leads. Saoirse Ronan plays up the killer girl just fine and has the physicality to pull off the role while Cate Blanchett is fantastic as the main antagonist. The performance isn’t exactly memorable or anything but at the same time it’s intense.

However, as great as Blanchett was, the award for scene stealing goes to Tom Hollander as the man in charge of hunting down Hanna and anybody who gets in his way. I might be overstating it here, but it’s at the very least worthy of a Golden Globe nomination and, if the competition is weak, maybe even an Oscar nod as well. Note, the last time I made a similar proclamation, it came true (Diane Lane in Unfaithful), so place your bets now…

The story for Hanna was written by Seth Lochhead making his debut with co-screenwriter duties from David Farr whose only other stint was on the British series, “MI-5”.

Overall, even though the entire movie is predicated on one plot point, I still found Hanna to be an enjoyable film with fun, high-octane action, some clever writing (for what’s essentially a revenge film) and solid acting by lead Saoirse Ronan.

PACKAGING

The DVD comes housed in a standard keep case with a matted slip cover with embossed lettering on the movie title.

SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5

Feature Commentary – Director Joe Wright provides a robust if not low-key commentary talking about scene specific items from set designs, on-location shooting, props and a variety of other tidbits. It’s not an entirely engrossing track as Wright could’ve used a co-pilot, but as it stands it’s a decent commentary.

Alternate Ending (1:28) – This ending doesn’t change the outcome and serves more as an extension to what happens after the finale. With this, Hanna returns to the cabin and after an inner monologue and packing up supplies, she goes back out into the wilderness.

Deleted Scenes (3:46) – Here we get a few inconsequential scenes that were rightly deleted such as showing Hanna getting into the van (and breaking the sunroof) and other scenes that only extended the running time without evolving the story.

Anatomy of a Scene: The Escape from Camp G (3:10) – Joe Wright gives his insights into the escape sequence and how he approached directing it. It’s not a great featurette and is more like a commentary but is a tad more in-depth as he can analyze specific aspects.

VIDEO – 4.0/5

Hanna is presented in its original 2.40 anamorphic widescreen and looks pretty good. There’s a decent amount of detail and a minimal amount of pixilation. Black levels also look quite good. For a standard def release, it’s a fine transfer suitable for any home theater owners.

AUDIO – 4.5/5

The DVD comes with a bombastic DTS 5.1 track (in English, French and Spanish) with crisp and clear dialogue coming from the center speaker and the front and rear channels helping provide depth for the action sequences. The LFE channel also gets quite the workout starting with Hanna’s initial capture where the floors and windows shake like crazy.


OVERALL – 3.75/5

Overall, despite some plot holes, Hanna is an entertaining film with three great performances from Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Tom Hollander and a serviceable one from Eric Bana. As for the DVD is concerned, the video is good, the audio is bombastic and the features are few and far between as well as forgettable.

 

 

Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Published:
08/25/2011

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