By | April 13, 2019

I do not care for the new Amazon series adaptation of the 2011 movie Hanna.

While the 2011 movie with Saoirse Ronan was excellent, this new version manages to miss every beat the movie hit with panache, and the actors are all much worse — with the exception of a chilling and understatedly fiendish Mireille Enos.

Nearly everything in the series is lukewarm or just plain senseless. I’ve never seen Esme Creed-Miles in any other work before, and a lot of times bad acting is really bad directorship, but she’s as passive as a frozen fish most of the time. Ronan’s Hanna could be cold and calculating, but she was also animated and sometimes-ebullient, excitable and passionate, while also full of doubt and fury. I am not sure exactly what the Creed-Miles’ Hanna is. She’s a cipher who reveals nothing, seems to want nothing (despite what her mouth says), and moons through the world making absurd mistakes that don’t make any sense when considering her training and capabilities. Yes, she’s a teenage girl, but the whole point of Hanna is that she’s just young, not a dunce. Ronan’s Hanna made errors due to her inexperience, but she never made dunce-level mistakes as Creed-Miles’ Hanna does constantly. It detracts from the work and it does not accord with the training she’s had or her innate capabilities. It seems inserted just to drive the plot when it could be driven so many other ways. Ronan’s Hanna was a pale-eyed Valkyrie who, though being a little scary, you could identify with, that if you were at all normal and met her in the real world, you’d empathize with her and want to help and protect her. The Hanna in the new series, though, who can tell what she wants or thinks because she never acts enough to even hazard a guess.

As I said, I don’t intend to attack Creed-Miles. In Star Wars, despite being a quite capable actor, Natalie Portman seemed as wooden as a redwood tree. Thus, I don’t know what the true story is here, and her performance is not nearly the only flaw of the series.

Examining it from a larger perspective, they’ve expanded a two hour movie into about seven hours of screen time without really adding anything at all of consequence. It seems there is more content present just to pad the series out rather than to allow us to deeply inhabit Hanna’s world. We could’ve learned what it’s like for a young girl to grow up in the woods, dozens of miles from anyone else, essentially alone, but we don’t. We could learn what caused Marissa Wiegler to become so diabolical and merciless, and to be such a hypocrite, but we don’t. Or if we do I haven’t seen it, because I could not yet make it all the way through the series due to my frustrations.

I don’t know if I’ll finish the series. Probably not. I am getting very little from it. Even the fight scenes aren’t well-choreographed, because even though Hanna is augmented and far stronger than a normal person, she’s not using techniques that would be particularly successful against those who mass much more than she does.

The series, as noted, has a lot of problems, not least of which is that you could watch the 2011 movie and get far more enjoyment and genuine thrills in far less time.

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