16 Years In The Making
After adapting The Purge movies into serial format last year, it was only a matter of time before Amazon Studios jumped on the next film-to-TV adaptation given the moderate success the former achieved. With a full season arriving in March, the pilot episode to Hanna dropped today; a serialized adaptation of the 2011 film with the same name. With the basic plot briefly explained and an episode chock full of action from the start, it’ll be interesting to see what direction Amazon take this show given the blistering pace it’s started out with.
The episode begins with an agent breaking into a secret government facility where a group of babies lie in a darkened room. After snatching up one of the infants, the agent makes a break for it, scrambling out the facility and into a nearby car where his wife waits. What ensues from here are several chases complete with a flurry of gunfire and one persistent helicopter as they try to evade the officials chasing them. With little in the way of explanation around the facility, the babies or who these agents are, we’re given a whole lot of action to disguise this lack of characterisation.
When the episode does eventually slow down, after the fast paced prologue early on, we begin our tale 16 years later with Hanna all grown up and living a reclusive life with her Father in the forest. Trained from a young age, Hanna shows off an impressive array of abilities here including strength, agility, intelligence and evasiveness as she’s trained for an upcoming battle ahead. With her over-protective Father forbidding her from venturing past an outlined area deep in the heart of the woods, Hanna does what all teenagers do when they’re given rules – she breaks them.
As Hanna wanders off on her own, she comes across a logger by the name of Arvo. After a couple of socially awkward exchanges between the two, they eventually meet up again where they both travel to a nearby satellite installation where the two share an intimate moment. Unfortunately it doesn’t get any more serious than that as two guards show up with guns. After Arvo is captured by the guards, Hanna flees back into the heart of the forest and back to her Father.
Unfortunately, Arvo spills the details about Hanna and as powerful forces put two and two together, figuring out who Hanna is, what ensues is one final fight in the heart of the snow-covered forest resulting in Hanna being captured and loaded onto a helicopter. The episode ends with a final glimpse of Hanna’s father who remains undetected for now and the door wide open for the season to come.
If you look past the fast paced action and dizzying array of fighting and montage pieces, there isn’t much to go on in the way of character development or plot. We’re briefly introduced to the main antagonist of the series and given bites of personality for Hanna but not quite enough to make this anything other than an enjoyable but somewhat lacking pilot episode. It’s still early days though and it could well be that the season gets progressively better as it goes along.
Technically at least, the cinematography is pretty good. Action has a raw toughness to it and the gritty lighting plus handheld camera work all combine well for the feel of this show. There’s enough here to pique my interest going forward but a lack of clarity around important plot points is a little disappointing nonetheless. Those who have seen the film will likely be more forgiving of this but it’s an important point to mention nonetheless. There’s certainly enough here to look forward to the full season release in March and suffice to say if this one’s dropping in one go, this may be a good show to binge rather than watch as standalone episodes. Only time will tell.