A Hologram for the King animated sequence

Despite the fact that it’s directed by Tom Tykwer, based on a book by Dave Eggers, and stars Tom Hanks, A Hologram for the King came and went earlier this year without making so much as a ripple. It made a paltry $4 million in U.S. theaters and scored a so-so 71% on Rotten Tomatoes — neither good nor bad enough to make people wonder. Heck, our review of it was titled There’s a Tom Hanks Movie in Theaters and You Didn’t Even Know About It.

But now that it’s made its way to home video, you’ll have another chance to check it out. And that seems like as good an excuse as any to check out a longer version of the film’s first and best sequence, a partially animated fantasy from Austrian animation studio NÖT. It’s weird and colorful and feels kind of desperate, in a way that really suits the movie. Watch the A Hologram for the King opening sequence, which features a cartoon Tom Hanks and a choreographed dance sequence, below. 

The A Hologram for the King opening sequence was significantly cut down for the theatrical edit. On the one hand, it’s easy to understand why if you’ve seen the entire movie. Thematically, the scene fits with the rest of the movie, which follows a middle-aged salesman (Hanks) heading to Saudi Arabia for one last do-or-die pitch, but tonally and stylistically, it’s an aberration. The film that follows is less fanciful and much more grounded.

On the other hand, though, this opening scene is probably the film’s best or at least most memorable. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see the full version. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say it’s a shame the rest of the film lacked the inventiveness of this sequence. It’s not a bad movie — Hanks is as sturdy and reliable as ever, and a late-breaking romantic plot is sweet if predictable — but it’s not one that really stuck with me. Maybe a dancing, animated Tom Hanks would have helped.

A Hologram for the King is now available on VOD / home video.

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