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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Despite the disconcerting fact that the Hulk does in fact look like a
juiced Shrek, this is not as bad a film as its detractors would have us
believe. With the masterful Ang Lee in the director's chair, the blame
for this production's lack of luster must surely be placed on the
shoulders of others more acquainted with mediocrity. Who better to
absorb such barbs than two of the semi-conscious principals, the
phonetic Eric Bana (as Dr. Bruce Banner, the unfortunate scientist
bombarded with gamma rays who morphs into our beloved green
muscle-blob) and the sensual-yet-wooden Jennifer Connelly?
Lee uses inventive filmic devices (such as inserting "comic book" frames moving about the picture screen, or creating establishing shots by panning outwards from the smallest subject of the scene, rather than the other way 'round) to craft a movie which progresses visually almost like reading a comic book. Yet for all his cinematic inventiveness, there is only so much Lee can do with his human charges, who mope about the screen like they're unaware that the director has called "Action!" This is surely one of those movies which does not grasp our interest until the Feature Creature - the eponymous Hulk - is upon us
And we all know what happens when Bruce Banner gets enraged: his body turns green and his pants turn purple and very, VERY elastic. Even his *socks* cannot withstand the Hulk's growth, snapping into shreds in homeopathic fury; pan up and sho 'nuff: purple pants tighter than the Beatles trousers.
Speaking of straining threads, Lou Ferrigno (TV's Incredible Hulk) appears in a cameo, as a security guard in a shirt 5 sizes too small, walking beside none other than Stan Lee (the Hulk's co-creator), playing a security chief.
As with Spiderman's new filmic incarnation, that which caused the Hulk's condition has been updated from "radiation" to "genetic engineering gone awry". In the 50's and 60's the big thunder was "radiation" practically everything, when exposed to Big Bad Radiation turned into something which either wanted to kill people or save people (rats, men, plants, insects nothing and no one was spared being exposed to Radiation to drive some puny plot down B-Movie Lane) and ever so gradually, movies of our modern era have all come to rely on another repetitive plot device Big Bold Genetics only doing so because, as with Radiation, First World Science once again believes it has identified one of the seminal forces of nature. We believe ourselves truly to be scientific colossi yet "Friends" closed out ten seasons on network television recently to grandiose acclaim.
Despite the derision aimed at the Hulk's CGI image, let's face it, people of earth - this is as good as it gets in 2003. The creation of this Hulk character is quite incredible!: a non-real, two-dimensional image that for all intents and purposes, is *as real* as it needs to be within its film medium; interacting and completely three-dimensionally at peace with its surroundings and the human characters it physically relates to. As "sophisticated" as we all think we are in this age of Gollum and Yoda Episode 2, I defy anyone to point out major discrepancies involving shadows, weight distribution, action arcs or moving musculature this image interacts with smoke, water, trees, sand, exploding debris it's quite astounding to watch if you allow your suspension of disbelief to over-ride the elitist desire to prove how "smart" you are. In truth, it's more "realistic" watching the Hulk's movements than any of the wire-fights in "Crouching Tiger", "Charlie's Angels", "Daredevil" or "Kill Bill", which are infuriating purely because the supposed "real-life" characters arc through the air "unrealistically" i.e. they change direction, hover, or are simply edited sloppily, where we see the arc of their flight interrupted by the tug of the wires they so obviously are wearing.
There is also much pathos in the Hulk's facial features; more than could be summoned by his girl-toy Jennifer Connelly, whose doe-eyed pining couldn't hold a candle to the Hulk's Oscar-worthy palette of emotion and neither could the Hulk's human counterpart, the puppet-faced Eric Bana. Instead of Nick Nolte (who played Bana's certifiably insane father more than satisfactorily), I was expecting GEPPETTO to appear, hoping that his son would become a Real Boy one day and able to move his facial muscles. Though they are merely ones and zeros, it is disconcerting to realize that the "cartoon" characters of this generation (the computer blips, such as Buzz Lightyear, Nemo, Gollum, Sulley & Monsters, Inc., Mr. Incredible, The Hulk, etc.) display a depth of acting talent that cannot be surpassed were they to be replaced by human thespians in those same roles.
It is for Ang Lee to weep. It is for George Lucas to rejoice.
Saving the best Bruce Banner one-liner (from "The Incredible Hulk" TV series) as the last line of movie dialog was an inspired in-joke and then for Eric Bana to say it in Spanish! "You're making me angry you wouldn't like me when I'm angry".
Yes, but first let's learn how to PLAY angry, shall we Eric?...
(Movie Maniacs, visit: www.thedunmore.com/POFFY-MovieReviews.html)
What could have gone wrong with 'Hulk'? It's based on a comic book
series, is directed by an accomplished director, has some great
actors...so what happened? Well, to start, there isn't enough action
and Hulk is introduced almost after the first 45 minutes. While many
have complained that the story was too intelligent which is why the
film wasn't well accepted by the masses as they were expecting an
action film...well, that doesn't bother me. In fact, I loved movies
that tell a good story but it wouldn't have hurt to add some more
action. The pacing is very slow. Even though it gradually picks up
after hulk is introduced, it slows down again. I found the overuse
splitscreen (to create a comic-book panel 'effect') irritating. If it
wanted to give the feel of a comic book, why not go the 'Sin City'
way?I have never thought of Ang Lee to be among the greatest director
as I very much disliked 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' and here too he
does not impress much. The CG effects are quite poor. It reminds one of
the mid-90's films.
On the bright side, I liked how the characters of Bruce Banner/hulk and Betty Ross were written. They're not your typical comic book characters. 'Hulk' is blessed with some good performances. Eric Bana is very convincing in the main lead. The ravishing Jennifer Connelly is equally effective and she's a lot more than a clichéd love interest. Both actors share great chemistry. I thought Nick Nolte gave an imbalanced performance. At times he seems to be informed and at times he hams. Sam Elliot does well with what he's given. Cinematography's quite alright and some of the landscape locations are stunning. The psychedelic dream sequences are dazzling too.
While I appreciate that the makers tried to tell a good story, 'Hulk' fails to impress as a whole. Still, I'd say it's an okay movie. If the film was a success, a sequel could have been expected. Perhaps they could still do one by avoiding the flaws of this one.
Ang Lee's 'Hulk' has always received a bad reputation and twelve years
on, its critical reception is not likely to change. Despite being
superior to the 2008 reboot, it has not been given the recognition that
Bruce Banner works as a scientist with his ex-girlfriend. They are trying to achieve cell repair in animals, but to no avail. One day, Bruce is exposed to gamma radiation when a machine malfunctions; mysteriously he survives the incident. Only to discover that he changes into a ranging green monster, whenever he experiences high levels of stress.
Eric Bana as Bruce Banner does a serviceable job, you buy into his character, but Bana lacks the required enthusiasm on screen. He appears as a blank slate and you just wish that he would provide more emotion when it really matters. The tormented character is the driving force in the film and sadly Bana offers little extra. Jennifer Connelly as ex-girlfriend Betty Ross is more commendable, bringing tenderness to the role and thereby selling her affection for Banner in the process. Nick Nolte as Bruce's estranged father is a scientist gone mad from his past failures. You never can tell what he is capable of doing on-screen. The times we do spend with Nolte are indeed the most compelling segments of the film.
'Hulk' is still sure to split the opinions of audiences in half. What some may consider being an interesting take on the tragic hero, full of emotion and character depth, others will be overwhelmed by its admittedly self-indulgent length (at 138 minutes) and disappointed with a lack of scenes that consist of Hulk smashing up anything that he comes into contact with. Unfortunately, the CGI can create a jarring experience, from the effects looking solid to poorly animated.
'Hulk' does indeed benefit though, with a smartly written screenplay by James Schamus. This is a more thoughtful and nuanced approach to a hero that many will not be expecting. It is concerned with the psychological aspects of Bruce Banner and how his relationships with his father and his ex-girlfriend shape him. If you are comfortable with the story taking its time to set up characters and plot points, darker than your average super hero flick, then you are bound to enjoy watching 'Hulk'. If not, then I would re consider whether watching this film is worth your time.
'Hulk' is certainly better than its reputation would suggest. Ang Lee finds a way to make us care about a character that is essentially a giant green monster filled with rage. A sharp script helps to engage the audience, even if the running time is patience testing at best. For those that can appreciate what 'Hulk' does eloquently with its ambitious story and artistic sensibilities then they are sure to have a rewarding and satisfying experience that is among the best that Marvel has to offer in the early 2000s.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hulk (2003): Dir: Ang Lee / Cast: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas: A tremendous vision of the popular comic book hero. It regards massive problems that affect us mentally. For Bruce Banner that would be a childhood trauma that resulted in the imprisonment of his father. He realizes that a force surfaces inside him when his anger peaks. Detailed setup introduces Banner and co-worker Betty Ross, played by Jennifer Connelly testing research while an ominous figure poised as a janitor observes. Spectacular work by Ang Lee who previously made the excellent Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Eric Bana is engaging as Banner whose past is a blur but he fights to use his condition towards good. When he transforms into the raging green Hulk he is misunderstood by all except Ross. Connelly provides understanding and sympathy as she is targeted for danger yet protected by Hulk. She knows in the end what viewers are given a glimpse of when all seems gone. Sam Elliott plays her military father who previously shut down the lab. Now he faces new dilemmas that involve his daughter. Nick Nolte brings forth a father functioning by mistakes. Josh Lucas plays a sinister former soldier attempting to force Banner and Ross to work for him. The Hulk's battles against tanks are impressive mirroring our expectations. The production is as massive as the Hulk itself. Score: 10 / 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
That movie got suck into my head for days after watching.
Especially the scene with Hulk literally "swimming through the road" was shocking and amazing.
I enjoyed the pace of the movie, the gradual built up and the explosive turn of events during the later part
I really empathized with Hulk. He was all alone, chased, hated and feared but was still standing.
For me, when a movie makes you feel worried and really care about a character then it's succeeded.
It's sad that the rating is so low (currently 5.5) but who knows, maybe it will be appreciated more in the years to come (just like what happened to Shawshank redemption rating )
I watched Hulk recently on TV, and was just reminded of how good it is
compared to ALL other movies, not just comic adaptations. Especially
since it is not your usual superhero story with a boy who gets
superpowers and gets to fight crime, bla bla bla...
The best of the movie for me are the facial expressions of Hulk - they are done so well here with the CG that I am starting to believe they hired the real Hulk, filmed him and then added some shaders to give it a CG feel :D But seriously though, the story is really moving, and Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly and Nick Nolte really pull the movie in the right direction.
So if you are reading this "review", go watch it, you won't regret it no matter your taste of movies.
Much more effective rendition of big green than 'The Hulk', the first act ably captures the feeling of perpetual roaming that is such an important element of the character, emphasising Bruce Banner's humanity through his human contacts. Meaning no disrespect to Eric Bana, but Edward Norton is more believable as the cerebral Banner, and Liv Tyler with her glasses on is sufficiently bookish for Betty Ross. A great cameo by Tim Blake Nelson (with a hint of Simpsons' nutty professor) is just manic enough without being overly comedic. Unfortunately for a Marvel flick I feel that it was let down by the action sequences, but I suppose it could have been worse, I could have been viewing in 3D, good enough in the end, but roll on The Avengers.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I grew up on the Hulk. Let me start over I grew up on TV's (Bill
Bixby's) The Incredible Hulk. Oh, that and Wonder Woman (on TV that is
Superman was my movie hero) were it for me. Glued were my eyes
whenever those two superheroes were on the small screen.
That said, I had an open mind about the first (of two. Three?) Hulk outing on the big screen knowing that they'd probably revert back to the true legend of the Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde comic book character. Personally, I wanted the big-screen version of the TV show where no one knew who David (not Bruce) was and he was always on the run. But that wasn't in the cards.
After watching Ang Lee's 2003's art-house take I had mixed feelings. I knew I wanted to like it more since it was one of my childhood favorites. I even watched it multiple more times in theatres and at home, because that's all I had for a "new" Hulk vs. all the TV reruns. I'm guessing people might have done the same when Star Trek: The Motion Picture was it for trekkers before The Wrath of Kahn came to pass.
To this day, eight years after release plus one reboot, I'm still divided. Much like Jar Jar, I hated the father story then, and still do. There's other problems with the movie, but the number one is the complete father story. Eliminate that and it would've been oodles better. Notice: not replace, for it was far too long anyways.
Adding in more Hulk burst-outs, heck have at least one during the first 40 or so minutes and stop that annoying split screen/comic book look could have also aided in the movie's recovery. But these are here nor there, what's done was done.
The positives were the casting Eric Bana was great as Bruce Banner, Jennifer Connelly wonderful as Betty Ross and most of all, Sam Elliott was excellent as her father, General Ross. Also, despite the all-but neon green hulk, he did look real on the screen, for the most part. In addition, whenever he attempted lifting or smashing, it looked pretty real to what in my mind would happen. Case in point: when he tries to first lift/break the "gamma" emitting sphere and he hadn't counted on it being too heavy. And, with the tanks with/without his strength, he would have some problems pulling them apart. These are just two examples of what they got right.
Ang Lee admitted prior that he was not a fan and further, never picked up a Hulk comic book. He just wanted to make it from his mind. Sad. I'm not going to produce and star in a Shakespeare play without ever reading it. That's ignorance.
And his showed. He tried far too many artsy ideas that normally work in his movies, but not in a COMIC BOOK MOVIE. He got so caught up with making it swank he forgot his (MINE) fan base. Unless it's a comedy, I don't want to see Pride & Prejudice & Predators.
In one of the best scenes, the Hulk is tearing up an underground government lair and at the most inopportune time, Lee reduces visibility with his multiple comic book panels. I was p*ssed and didn't want to pay any attention to what Lee wanted me to see on the screen other than the one that showed the Hulk smashing and prancing about. Lee also went further by switching back and forth between the styles: real time and his cartoonish freeze-frames and "Batman POW!" shots. It was as if he, himself, had little faith in what he was doing.
It's not a basic plot another problem for a COMIC BOOK MOVIE but here's the quick synopsis: Daddy Banner (I refuse to call him what they named him, let's just say he was played horribly by Nick Nolte) was involved in mysterious experiments and after injecting himself against orders by General Ross, he inadvertently fathers a child who, of course, grows up and out as Bruce Banner.
Daddy's locked away, while now-grown Bruce does similar experiments and blunders which triggers a jolly green "angry man" (their name for it, bleahh.) Everyone knows it's Bruce and everyone wants a piece of the green to make, well, more green.
From there, it gets pretty over-complicated again mainly from the Daddy-Issues. Suffice to say, Hulk will make just a few more appearances, some a little too big and even making it into San Francisco.
Let me stop there. Much like The Lost World: Jurassic Park, how disappointing was it when you have a real-looking giant (sorry, Godzilla) enter a city for just a few minutes? But, even with the few precious moments we had him in a city setting, the movie absolutely should've ended right there because
In one of the worst endings in comic book movie history (or just about any film) come following. I do spill out spoilers in my reviews, but I won't ruin the ending for anybody curious. Suffice to say, one word: RIDICULOUS.
Thank God, they did give Hulk another shot five years later though not much better, but it was a bastard Hulk, thankfully. That's another story. As for 2003's Hulk, eh, give it as least one viewing. As bad as some of the film was, it could've been a lot worse.
I hope this entry in the Marvel character films does not prevent
someone from bringing back the Hulk in another future movie. The Hulk
is too much of a favorite to die off with one bad film.
I give credit to Ang Lee for trying something different and thinking outside the box, but the split screen came off as just being a big distraction - not artistic.
I personally liked most of the scenes with the big green guy, especially the fight scene with the tanks and the one where he's latched on to the F15 jet. But this film tried to go too far into the back story and scientific side of the Bruce Banner character and ended up really bogging down the film.
Good performance: Sam Elliott - this guy can almost bring any film or role some legitimacy. His performance as General Ross really bolsters the latter scenes of the movie when the military is going full force after the Hulk.
Bad performance: Nick Nolte - Nolte looks completely loaded - what did this guy do - throw his script in the crap can, chug a bottle of bourbon in his dressing room and just wing it for the rest of the movie! (sure looks like it) his final scenes are awful.
Please - somebody who knows what they're doing - Bring back the Hulk and do him justice. Maybe a battle with Thor - yeah! I'd pay admission to see that!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Definitely not Ang Lee's best work and most assuredly NOT Marvel's best
make of a comic. However, this may be the truest to the comics.
Acting not the best. Connelly has definitely done better work, i.e. Requiem for a Dream or Dark Water. Bana was better in Munich and Troy even.
FX poor. They did however manage to make the computer version of Hulk look just like Banner. And the Hulk wasn't as bad as he could be.
Not really worth your time.I only watched it because it was on SciFi on a Sunday afternoon. Don't let the previous writer fool you.
The best scene though is where Banner sees Hulk in the mirror, as Hulk is taking over the human side of Banner.
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