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Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) is a brilliant scientist working with his
girlfriend Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly) on nanomeds and gamma
radiation to cure physical ailments. A lab accident causes high
exposure of gamma radiation and releases the hulk within him. His
father David (Nick Nolte) had experimented on himself and transferred
some changes within Bruce. When Bruce was 4, an incident which he can't
remember caused Betty's father Gen Ross (Sam Elliott) to lock up David
Banner. Now David is back just in time to see the change in Bruce
release by the gamma radiation.
Director Ang Lee definitely put his own mark on this comic book movie. It's probably not what the fans or Marvel was looking for. This is a much more a Greek tragedy than a popcorn summer action flick. While it's the not the best choice, it does make it an uniquely interesting comic book movie.
The acting from Eric Bana is a little too bland. He's not really a favorite of mine. On the other hand, Jennifer Connelly is superb. She is the heart and soul of this movie. Nick Nolte shows that he can play crazy well. He definitely goes overboard but I sorta like it. Sam Elliott tries a little too hard. He should be able to play this part without trying. He doesn't need to yell and scream.
Then there is all the split screen and other visual tricks. Ang Lee is pulling inspiration from the comic books. However he may be too literal and more importantly overused this style. Luckily, it does make it more visually interesting when the story moves at a slower pace. There is something outside the normal comic book movie going on here. It is fascinating. It doesn't work that well. But it's good enough for me to recommend. It's worthwhile to check out at least once.
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 ***
Neatly written, poetically picturised and filled with terrific
performances, 'Hulk' is one of the rare comic book characters that has
been transformed beautifully into a mainstream film. Also add the
mesmerizing background score.
I loved the way the film portrayed the character of Bruce(Bana gives a brilliant underplayed performance) as a intellectual whose mind is filled with some serious trauma which he cannot remember initially. I felt empathy for Bruce whenever he has dreadful dreams about his past. Also the film tried to behave as a study of Bruce Banner's psyche rather than offering Hulk's stunts alone(which too were a great fun to watch). Bana and Connelly shared great screen chemistry which was emotional, realistic and far better than that of Spiderman's lead pair. The scene where Betty sees Bruce as Hulk for the first time and they stare at each other with mixed emotions was beautiful.
It is sad to know that this film didn't do well commercially as a superhero film normally does. May be the reason was it tried to visualize Hulk as a sad character filled with fear and due to the fact that the film was dark and depressing and without any humour.
I would compare this film with Christopher Nolan's work in Batman trilogy. All three films had dark styles and serious plots with very less humour(and were very good of course)but the second and third films were a great success commercially owing to the powerful villains in Joker and Bane. May be that is what this film lacked. Bruce's father was portrayed brilliantly but i couldn't understand clearly whether he loved his son or not.
That said this film was entertaining and satisfying for me and i feel that it is seriously underrated. I recommend this film for anyone who actually like to watch the issues that are troubling the mind of Bruce along with the thrills and macho stunts which only the Hulk can provide.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hulk is a superhero film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character
of the same title. Ang Lee directed the film, which stars Eric Bana as
Dr. Bruce Banner, as well as Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh
Lucas, and Nick Nolte. The film explores the origins of the Hulk, which
is partially attributed to Bruce Banner's father's experiments on
himself, and on his son.
Emotionally stunted Dr. Bruce Banner is part of a research team at the University of California at Berkeley. Corporate hustler Glenn Talbot takes notice of the lab and makes plans to take it over. Then Bruce accidentally gets hit by an experimental ray and grows into a huge beast, destroying the lab in the process. A creepy janitor who claims to be his real father, Dr. David Banner, starts to secretly use the experimental ray on himself. He creates some mutant dogs and sends them after Bruce's lab mate and ex-girlfriend Betty Ross. After Bruce saves her life in the form of the Hulk, she lets her distant father, General Ross, take him to an abandoned army base in the desert. However, Glenn Talbot takes over the operation and wants to patent the creature's superpowers for his own profit, so he holds Bruce unconscious in an isolation tank. When provoked, Bruce turns into the Hulk and makes a break for San Francisco, leading to a desert chase sequence involving military aircraft, tanks, and bombs. Only the sight of Betty can make him turn back to his human form. When he is eventually captured, Dr. David Banner shows up for a final confrontation with his son and his old adversary, General Ross.
Despite the profusion of computer-generated effects, which rousingly bring the green guy to life, I often felt, for better and for worse, that I was watching a comic-book movie reconceived as a piece of serious myth-making.While Ang Lee's ambitious film earns marks for style and an attempt at dramatic depth, there's ultimately too much talking and not enough smashing.But despite of its problems it has as a story, at least Hulk tried, honestly and desperately, to push the comic book move into new places emotionally and stylistically.It remains an entertaining film.
Director Ang Lee's 2003 "Hulk" is a worthwhile rendition of Marvel's
Hulk. Like the '08 version, it has its strengths and weaknesses. Let's
look at what works and what doesn't work:
- What I'm most impressed with is the serious, intelligent, respectable manner in which the story is presented. There are no goofy, campy elements to be found.
- Most of the casting is good: Sam Elliott as General "Thunderbolt" Ross, Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross and Josh Lucas as Glen Talbot.
- Ang Lee shows off his filmmaking skill with various creative editing/framing techniques (supposedly giving the feel of a comic book). I've never seen this type of work in any other film, particularly not to this degree of innovation. It works for me.
- I think they did an excellent job with the appearance of the Hulk. Since they were endeavoring to show the REAL Hulk, the one that throws tanks around and jumps across the landscape, they had no choice but to go the CGI route. They did the best they could with the technology available at the time and it holds up a decade later. Hey, it's better than a big body-builder painted green!
- Without doubt, the best part of the film is the 22-minute rampage of the Hulk that starts at the 92-minute mark. This IS the Hulk! The enthralling sequence realistically shows the Hulk taking on the military as was often portrayed in the comics. This is definitely one of the best action sequences ever put to film. Make no mistake, the DVD is worth owning for this 22-minute episode alone!
WHAT DOESN'T WORK:
- The drama is presented in a lazy, convoluted way that somehow detaches the viewer from the film, but I'm okay with it as long as I put on a pot of coffee, lol. This will naturally turn-off Hulk fans who were expecting a fast-paced, simplistic "Hulk will SMASH" story.
- Some of the casting is questionable, like Eric Bana as Bruce Banner. Some criticize him as "wooden" but this isn't what I object to as it's the point of the character. Although Bana is certainly likable in the role, and I've gotten used to him, he just doesn't exude Bruce Banner as depicted in the comics or the TV series; he's too much of a handsome muscleman who looks like he could kick some serious arse without turning into the Hulk, which takes away from the whole concept. By contrast, both Bill Bixby and Edward Norton fit the character. Then there's Nick Nolte as Bruce's father, David Banner, the "Absorbing Man." It took me quite a while to get used to his role in this film, but I'm okay with it now.
- Some may object to the deviations made to the origin of the hulk and that these changes slow the story down and needlessly complicate it. In the comic Bruce Banner became the Hulk after accidentally being exposed to gamma rays from a huge government test-bomb in the desert. In the film the Hulk's origin is complicated by being tied to Bruce's mad scientist father who experimented on him when he was a little boy. Although one has to allow some latitude in comic-to-film translation these changes definitely slow the story down and make the origin less immediately gratifying. BUT it does offer a father/son conflict to the table.
CONCLUSION: The positive aspects noted above make "Hulk" at least a 3/5 Star film. What I like best is the highly mature tone (Roger Ebert called it "a thinking man's superhero film") and the enthralling 22-minute rampage, which is worth the price of admission. But the changes in the origin story slow the film down and are presented in a generally convoluted way that lacks drive. Yet, at the same time, I appreciate the yin/yang extremes of the plot; it makes for a unique viewing experience.
In any case, the 22-minute rampage that starts at the 92-minute mark is the Hulk to a 'T' and one of the most entertaining comic-action sequences in the history of film.
Despite being based on a comic book (and TV show), "Hulk" is not a fast-food comic flick like, say, the 90's Batman films. This is an intelligent, well-crafted piece of cinematic art that just so happens to involve a rampaging green behemoth. At 138 minutes the film's a bit overlong, but that's okay. Just put on a pot of coffee (you're gonna need it, lol), kick back and enjoy the movie magic. This is what I just did and the film gave me a great time.
I value the '03 and '08 versions equally, but I prefer the way the Hulk looks in this version; he's more realistic whereas the Hulk in the '08 version comes off overly cartooney, albeit grittier.
I can see why this got a low rating and some highly critical reviews. When you think "The Hulk", you don't just expect action, you expectation A-C-T-I-O-N. The very essence of disappointment is failed expectation. And this movie was far from action-centered, although not lacking in the action when it sparked. Man, once Hulk got going, there was no stopping him. No. This was a story about a character, more a drama than anything else, set on the canvas of a sci-fi legend. Interestingly enough, the TV show, that aired for several seasons, wasn't an action-centered show either. But, these days that's all people seem to want, which is why the latest rendition of the film with Ed Norton and Liv Tyler was more warmly praised and appreciated - a movie that I also thought was smokin' hot awesome. But, the director of this movie is not American. He is going to approach every movie with a non-western/non-American perspective. he took the essence of the real story and brought out all of it's best elements, particularly expressed Eric Bana's portrayal of the emotionally tormented Bruce Banner. Like I titled this review, if you want a good story with action as a seasoning to the overall stew, you'll love this movie.
I may be the only person I know who actually likes this movie,and the only one I know who believes it to be superior to the new hulk movie. This is a very different comic book movie,one that takes time to develop the inner conflicts of a character,and here that is very compelling. We witnes Bruce Banner's tortured past,how he is holding onto a dark seceret. This add extra layers to the film as his father comes into play(the reason he is so tormented) The story is about him manifesting all his internal problems physically,enter the Hulk. The Hulk is the opposite of Banner,barbaric and powerful. able to accomplish incredible feats of superhuman strength but simple in intelligence. He is everything Banner isn't and is able to express the rage banner has bottled up. I find this story very compelling,the actors are all well cast and strong and the action scenes are very good. One thing I could never understand is why people ripped on the special effects in this movie,they are startlingly real looking and astonishing to look at. I also believe that the action scenes in this movie are more epic and emotionally fueled. From the dog fight to the epic battle in the desert to the final confrontation,it is epic
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really liked this film but this film has gotten a mixed response from both audiences and critics. I was quite surprised but I can understand why. It's trying to be more of a serious film than your average popcorn film. It's trying to tell a story rather than have lots of action and I think that's what Ang Lee (the director) was trying to do and I really liked that. The performances are really good particularly Eric Bana as the Hulk and Nick Nolte as his father. Like everyone else I would have liked to see more action and the biggest one takes place in the desert. It would have been funner if the Hulk was in the city and smashing buildings up but I can't have everything I want. A thing that I had mixed feelings for was they were trying to make it look like a comic book and it had this annoying cross dissolves thought that was a bit annoying. I didn't like Jennifer Connely as I thought she was pretty useless. Overall I think this is the most overlooked superhero film ever made and I like this one more than the Edward Norton film that came out in 2008
Bruce banner a man with a monster inside him and he's completely unaware of it but one day during a freak lab accident he's inner beast is released and he becomes the most powerful creature on the planet the hulk Ang lee is an awesome director he doesn't make the whole movie a action galore porno he shows the struggles of a one mans life and his perspective of how to handle his anger it gives a message how we take every little thing to seriously and we let are anger get the best of us and it turns us into something ugly and horrible great story line and great dialogue and great actors Eric banna is the best as Bruce way better than Edward Norton(in my opinion) go see this movie i highly recommend it
*** 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.
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