After The Ice Storm and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon , I was looking forward to Ang Lee s next movie. When I heard he was doing The Hulk , I was excited because he is a gifted director who could potentially bring a fresh look to a comic book movie and I thought he could do a fantastic job. The reviews started coming in, and they were negative, but I still wanted to see the movie, both as a comic book adaptation and as an Ang Lee film. Maybe I would see something that the reviewers did not. Unfortunately, I did not. The Hulk is awful.
The movie begins with the necessary origins story. While readers of the comic may be familiar with the origins of Hulk, the viewer needs to be introduced to how this all happened. This is necessary, but it is also a drawback because it takes a half hour to tell. This is a half hour of exposition where the title character does not make an appearance (though we are given hints and teases of what is to come). Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) is a scientist who, because of an accident in his laboratory, is hit with Gamma radiation. This causes Banner to turn into the Hulk when he gets angry, in part because of a lot of repressed memories of his father, David (Nick Nolte). David Banner was also a scientist engaged in similar research and it is in part because of David s science that Bruce was affected the way he was. Telling any more with spoil the revelation (if anyone cares).
Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly) is also a scientist working with Bruce, and it is hinted that they had a past relationship, though they still obviously care for each other. She becomes the damsel in distress, as well as the bait laid out by her father, General Ross (Sam Elliott). When Bruce becomes the Hulk, the military gets involved (as well they should with a rampaging green creature about). The real showdowns come between Hulk and the military, under the command of General Ross.
The first three quarters of the movie wasn t that good, but the last quarter just got downright ridiculous and silly, and nonsensical. There was the whole side plot with Bruce s father that got pushed to the front and it didn t really make too much sense in conjunction with the rest of the plot, and that dragged down the movie to be even worse.
Part of the problem is simply the Hulk himself. The CG Hulk was extremely well done, but it was all too easy to see that he isn t part of the environment. Perhaps it was the bright green color, but unlike the X-Men, Hulk didn t seem real even as part of the movie. It was too obvious that he was CG when everything else is real. Plus, the movie was just a bit cheesy, and dull.
What I did like, and what I thought was done very well was the use of split screen frames, just like the comic book frames. Sometimes they didn t seem to be used very well, but at other times, it added immensely to the movie and was one of the best features of the movie. A couple scenes standout in my head, in the use of the split screens, but I ll leave it to the viewer to figure those out because revealing the scenes will spoil what the scene is about.
The Hulk should have been a better movie, but I was just disappointed. Eric Bana was uninteresting as Bruce Banner, and with all the potential that there was, this was a complete let down. Even Daredevil was a better movie with more human emotion. Skip this one, even if you are a fan of Marvel Comics.
2 out of 5 pugs
I took my kids to it, and they were completely lost in the story. Unlike Spiderman.
I do agree with Pug...this had some potential...but the crappy story really swallowed up any chance for this to be a good movie.
It was the whole physical characterization/cartoonishness of the Hulk that kept me from seeing it.
I really enjoyed the series when it was on TV--and the Hulk was a super- sized human, rather than a super-sized monster.
It pretty much sucked. What a waste of time! Ang Lee - I'm pissed! I want that 2 hours and 20 minutes back.
Glad I was able to sell my DVD on Half.com already to salvage my money! :)