Whether it's because the original thread has come unstuck too early, or the ending couldn't quite tie up loose ends, but when a film jumps genre it usually signifies a loss of confidence. It might have been plain sailing for an hour or so but now it's time to abandon ship. That's not to say that every comedy should end on a joke, for example. Nor every tragedy a death in the closing credits. Just enough evidence to suggest that the entire film had come from the same, single script. Some films deliberately latch on to an ending that they -and we- know came out of nowhere, while others accidentally stray into unfamiliar territory and just hope that they come out in one piece. And then there are those films that leap from one genre to another so suddenly, they leave their audience suffering with whiplash. Below are ten examples of films that, for reasons good or bad, found themselves jumping between genres. Contains spoilers.
10. Hancock (2008)Comedy to Drama/Fantasy
Or more specifically, superhero movie pastiche to superhero movie played straight. For when Hancock
crashed onto our screens, it was a welcome change from the caped triumvirate of Spidey, Supes and Bats. Our hero isn't devoting his life to delivering justice or battling an identity crisis with the man behind the mask; no, Hancock (Will Smith) is an alcoholic whose superpowers invariably do more harm than good. For example, saving a man from an oncoming train may have prevented an immediate tragedy, yet derailing the train and inadvertently injuring its driver wasn't quite the clear-cut 'mission accomplished' we've become accustomed to. At first this was a fresh and interesting concept: these are the consequences of 'saving the day' that we don't see, the parts other superhero films seemed to skim over in favour of a happy ending. We may not have liked his personality yet Hancock, for all his flaws and good intentions, seemed the most human of all heroes. And so, when his latest crusade results in millions of dollars of damage, the city of Los Angeles decides it can do just as well without its lawman-turned- liability. Fortunately, the man who Hancock had just rescued from the railroad tracks happens to be a PR spokesman named Ray (Jason Bateman), who wants the world to see his saviour as favourably as he does. Yet his wife, Mary (Charlize Theron) doesn't seem to share Ray's enthusiasm. And once the reason- with its rather arbitrary origin story- is rolled out, it's difficult for us to care, too. For Mary and Hancock have a history like no other; it turns out that they have enjoyed a god-like existence for over 3,000 years. She explains that she, too, has been gifted with immortality- but as she and Hancock are the last of their type, they must never be together. The others had paired off and, growing mortal by the minute, died away. It's as confusing for poor Ray as it is for us. At this point the film practically detaches itself from its previous hour, before running up to an obligatory third-act battle in which Hancock selflessly rescues Mary with his healing powers and thus saves the day after al- hang on a minute. Healing powers? Immortality? Isn't this the sort of stuff that set Hancock aside in the first place? When it poked fun at conventional comic-book showdowns, we laughed along, knowing that Hancock
wouldn't follow that well-worn path. But it did, in one of the most flagrant examples of a film truly having its cake and eating it. In purporting to parody these tropes, it ultimately presents not an alternative to your derivative fantasy nonsense in which the plot is secondary to special effects but simply another
derivative fantasy nonsense in which the plot is secondary to special effects.