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|Index||652 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Somebody owes Ang Lee an apology. Actually, a lot of people do. And
I'll start. I was never interested in the Ang Lee film Hulk, because of
the near unanimous bad reviews. Even the premium cable channels seemed
to rarely show it. I finally decided to watch it yesterday on USA
network and, wow....
SPOILERS FOR ANG LEE'S HULK AND THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Was it boring! I almost didn't make it through Ang Lee's Hulk. Eric Bana was expressionless, Nick Nolte was horrible, Sam Elliott was unlikeable (and that's no fun, he's usually a cool character). In fact, I honestly think they chose Eric Bana because his non-descript face was the easiest to mimic with computer graphics - and it was clear that the Ang Lee Hulk was meant to facially resemble Bruce Banner in his non-angry state. When Hulk fought a mutant poodle I was ready to concede Hulk as the worst superhero movie ever.
But then something happened. About 3/4 of the way through this tedious movie, there was a genuinely exciting and - dare I say it - reasonably convincing - extended action scene that starts with Hulk breaking out of a containment chamber in a military base, fighting M1 tanks and Comanche helicopters in the desert, then riding an F22 Raptor into the stratosphere, only to be captured on the streets of San Francisco. This was one of the best action sequences ever made for a superhero movie. And I have to say, the CGI was quite good. That's not to say that the Hulk was totally convincing. But it didn't require much more suspension of disbelief than is required in a lot of non-superhero action movies. And that's quite a feat.
Of course, the ending got really stupid with Bruce Banner's father turning into some sort of shape-shifting villain but the earlier long action sequence put any of Iron Man's brief heroics to shame. And overall, apart from the animated mutant dogs, it really did seem like the CGI in Hulk tried hard to convince you that he was real and really interacting with his environment. It was certainly better than I expected.
OK, but what about The Incredible Hulk? Guess what... It's boring too! It has just a few appearances by the Hulk and here's the thing - the CGI in this movie is horrible. Maybe the Hulk in Ang Lee's version looked fake at times and cartoonish at others - but it had its convincing moments also. The Incredible Hulk looked positively ridiculous. It had skin tone and muscle tone that didn't even look like a living creature, just some sort of computer-generated texture. It was really preposterous. The lighting, environment and facial effects didn't look 5 years newer than Ang Lee's, they looked 10 years older. And there really is no excuse for that. We truly are living in an era where computer programmers can ruin a movie just as thoroughly as any director, actor or cinematographer ever could.
Worse, the writer and director of this movie seemed to learn almost nothing from Ang Lee's "failure". All the same mistakes are made. Bruce Banner is practically emotionless. The general is so relentlessly, implausibly one-dimensional that he seems faker than the Hulk. The love interest is unconvincing (I have to give Liv Tyler credit for being more emotional than Jennifer Connelly, though both are quite easy on the eyes). Tim Blake Nelson overacts almost as much as Nick Nolte, even though he's only in the movie for a few minutes. The Hulk really doesn't do much in this movie, certainly not any more than in Ang Lee's version. The Incredible Hulk was slightly more fast-paced, but since nothing really happened anyway that's not worth much. Oh yeah, the villain is every bit as phony looking as the Hulk. He's actually much more interesting as a human than as a monster.
This is how I can definitively say Ang Lee's version was better: if I ever have the chance to see Ang Lee's version again, I might be able to sit through it to see the good action sequences, or else to try to appreciate the dialogue a little more (more likely I'd just fast forward to the good parts). But there is absolutely not a single scene in The Incredible Hulk that is worth seeing once, let alone twice. It is truly at the bottom of the heap of superhero movies. The cartoonish CGI is an insult to the audience - at least in Ang Lee's version it seems like they were trying to make it realistic (except for the giant poodle, of course).
It is absolutely mind-boggling how the filmmakers intended to erase the bad feelings associated with Ang Lee's Hulk by making almost exactly the same movie.
It is to Edward Norton's credit that he seems to be distancing himself from this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For all the CG brute force on display, this is one lame flop-along of a
flic. The same constructs we've seen in dozens if not hundreds of other
movies are rehashed, and why? Because what can you really do with a
raging bullfrog on steroids? A second, even bigger, bullfrog? A
Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde meets Beauty & the Beast in stretchy pants? The
thinking man's King Kong on a self-help quest? They just can't help but
fall back on the same clichés and feeble structure with good ol'
time-warps to fast-track to the climatic fight scene -and prep it up
for the sequel before rolling the credits. Depravity is when you have a
super-bezerking giant on a havoc-spree toned down to pg-13. One-liners
as motives for us to swallow; "You don't deserve the power!" and so
much homage-fromage as filler, it's downright cannibalistic.
Two-dimensional bad-ass co-workers, what would heroes do without them? The babe they harass comes across as a cowering doe, nothing wrong with that I guess...
Overnight the Hulk runs from Rio to Guatemala, that's more or less from New York to Alaska. But he panhandles/walks the rest of the way home...
General-Colonel-whatever, answers to no one, heads his own shop for years on end, runs a military op in Brazil, on university grounds, NYC, no inquiries, no hell to pay, nada...
'Stanley' (clever, eh) the pizza-place... every home-coming-hero-on-the-run has one, older guy with a spare room upstairs, money to lend, keeps a tab on everyone- Banner; Is she seeing someone..? Stanley; "He's a head-shrink. They say he's one of the best(sic).. but a really nice guy..." (thank-you, Stanley..)
Bribing a security guard with a free pizza to not catch hell for a non-delivery on a pizza? Bribing another guy in the computer lab with second pizza..? How gullible and gluttonous and famished and broke must regular folks be made out to be...?
Betty's tag-along setup - "Well, at least let me walk you to the station."
Swallowing the disk-on-key before turning into the Hulk, how would Banner know the Hulk's stomach juices wouldn't dissolve or at least ruin it?
Of course the Hulk can't outright kill any foot-soldier, his rage is against machinery, movie-taboo exception would be anyone within contraption such as the helicopter crew...
Pawning a necklace to buy a second-hand pickup and pay for gas, they abandon the wheels because of roadblocks into NYC and then pay off some other guy to ferry them across... and then pay some maniac cab-driver for another, mindless, hi-speed sequence...
Abomination swatting all them blind pedestrians- blind because they're impervious to his standing there, his motive; looking for a real fight... soldiers trying latest shoulder-missiles, they don't work so they drive in reverse till they bump into pile-up, cab driver (must be that same maniac) drives right into 12' monster, fear-stricken soldiers stay in place while Abomination goes 'give me a real fight' before slamming cab into them...
The helicopter crash-lands into the church ruins, but try as they might to get out, an unconscious/dead soldier is propped in the only opening so that Betty exasperates in her struggle to escape as the fuselage catches fire (only for Hulk to hand-clap it out)...
For all the violence they inflict one on the other, and for all their super-strengths, it's an indestructible chain that allows the Hulk to subdue Abomination. And it's Betty that stops the Hulk from killing him, he's vanquished, right, so just let him be...they'll super-handcuff his ass to a super-cell till the sequel...
Every such finale must entail a crowd, no matter how preposterous for people to show up.
Hulk departs a la Spidey minus cobwebs...
About 1100 reviews on the old IMDb and I am going to do something I
have never done before -- review on a bell curve.
Seriously, before you start listing all the things you DIDN'T like, ask yourself how many live action Hulk movies have there been outside of the Avenger ensemble acts? Answer: Two. Only two. Just two.
And the entry from Ang Lee was so wretched, so horrific, that this one gets a push up the curve.
It is actually a solid film. Roth makes a great villain. Tyler was a great love interest. (The scene where Hulk becomes a giant fire extinguisher is one for the record books and memorable). And Norton is arguably the highest-level A-lister to ever play the role.
(Or, also arguably, to ever play it again -- notice he was gone from the Avenger movies. Also notice that the two solo-Hulk movies did so poorly at the box office that this one actually ends with a promo for the coming Avengers, suggesting that the suits at Marvel are no longer interested in gambling on Hulk in a film by himself and all your future Hulk movies may be of the animated variety).
All done, this is a much better film than the reviews would suggest.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Action without story is boring.
A film with a bad script is boring, it can even be painful and anger-inducing...;-) A film with mostly good actors in it (good in other films..!!) that of course cannot save the film, as the script is so baaaaaaaaad!!! I like Ed Norton and I liked him in this, little as there was...
I rejoiced at seeing Bill Bixby, Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno, nice touch for fans, of course not important for the film.
Chase scene through favela - watch City of God. Though at that point I was still interested, nice cinematography, okay plot.
Then they shoot the dog - bad move in my book, I'm annoyed.
Then they chase Bruce in the factory....and chase....and chase...oops, I thought - you're losing me!! THEN they don't really show the Hulk - what, like we don't know that Bruce turns into him? Like, trying to make it more exciting, he's like Alien on the spaceship? At that point I started to be bored.
Sadly, nothing much interesting happened after that. In fact, totally dim-witted things happened after that. Tim Roth: Military man with long hair. William Hurt (whom I adore!): Almost more stupid than that military guy in Avatar. Liv Tyler: Unconvincing, looking over-concerned and distressed or soppy.
The most intelligent pieces of dialogue were the computer chats...;-))) Why don't they talk about the last five years AT ALL? Oh, he's there, oh, I'm shocked and happy, oh, you come with me. But we only chitchat.
Too much military for me. Mostly quickly coming out of bushes exactly when needed, sadly totally useless...oh my...
No, this was not for me. I had thought this really might be about how Bruce learns to harness his powers, but that is only hinted at. The scene in the lab is just stupid.
3 points because I really like Ed. I even like the Hulk, but not this one.
There ought to be a law for relaunches of a franchise less than five years after the last attempt: every negative must be destroyed if it winds up being even worse. From start to finish, this was a total mess of a film that seemed more interested in finding room for not-so-subtle cameos and wink-nudge-grins than telling a functional story. Knocking out the Hulk's fabled origin story during the opening credits may have freed up the rest of the picture to explore new territory, but it also killed the basis of the cast's relationships and removed any reason for the audience to care about them. Ed Norton and Liv Tyler turn in genuinely rotten performances, with a black hole of chemistry as an on-screen duo, that are neither true to the original characters nor interesting in the slightest. Bruce Banner never comes off as remotely intelligent, let alone the super genius he'd have to be to come up with the formula that turned him into the Hulk, and actually spends more time running from grossly generic government operatives than using his brains. That effectively kills the intriguing contrast between he and the Hulk that should be fueling the story. Both characters are mindlessly running, just in opposite directions. Corny dialog, predictable twists and turns, weak CG, flat characterization and sleepwalking actors - this blew up in Marvel's face.
I was not one of those who hated Ang Lee's 2003 portrayal of the Hulk.
I did enjoy it to an extent; it was a bit slow-moving and there were
some parts that needed some improvement, but it was overall a decent
film. I do agree that Louis Letterier's 2008 film was a vast
improvement, though. It improved on all of the issues I had with Lee's
film. The film is a reboot of the dying franchise: Bruce Banner has
been hiding in Brazil, attempting to keep a low profile while he
searches for a cure for his condition, but General Ross becomes aware
of his location and enlists the aid of Emil Blonsky, a soldier with a
mean streak. A bit of non-sanctioned experimentation later and Blonsky
becomes a creature rivaling even the Hulk in power.
One issue I had with Lee's 2003 film was the slow-pacing; the film felt as if it dragged forever between action scenes. It wasn't necessarily the fault of the cast, but seemed more to do with a story that didn't really grab me. Letterier's film amps up the excitement and interest levels a bit with a stronger story and better action sequences. The Hulk's fight against three gamma-irradiated dogs in the previous film doesn't even compare to the Hulk's battle against the Army on the college campus in this film. I didn't see the Hulk from 2003 as being overly-cartoonish in appearance but I can see how some others did. The new film gives the Hulk a grittier, stronger, more realistic style (as realistic as a 9-foot tall green giant can be) and the Abomination looks just as good.
In general, I also dug the new cast better than the previous. Ed Norton was great as Bruce Banner, giving him a great blend of meekness and inner strength. From what I understand, Norton is a huge fan of the source material so you know he must've given this role everything he had. I enjoyed Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, though there were times when I missed Jennifer Connelly, and Tim Roth has long been one of my favorite actors so it was great to see him go with the villainous side this time around as Blonsky. William Hurt was a fine General Ross though, just as Liv Tyler, there were times when I thought Sam Elliot would've put in a stronger performance (plus, there were a handful of instances where Hurt came off as over-acting a bit, in my opinion...).
It's great to have the character of the Hulk back in the hands of Marvel and they've done a great job of rejuvenating the franchise. I loved this film and, while it wasn't on par with 2008's Iron Man film, it was a great superhero flick. The action was brutal, the story was entertaining, and the cast was near perfect. My only real issue with the film was the ending; without going into detail, I thought the resolution of the final battle between the Hulk and Abomination was anti-climactic. I remember first watching the scene and the only thought that popped into my head was "That's IT?!". Otherwise, it's a great movie and a good way to spend two hours.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Incredible Hulk is a tough character to adapt and I really think
any filmmaker would have trouble making a good film version of the
green guy. When a comic book film is adapted to the big screen the
movie goer wants a story to balance the action and in this movie we
have no story. The entire film is a special effects extravaganza
wrapped in between pieces of bad dialouge and characterization.
Creating an effective Bruce Banner is key to making any Hulk adaptation
work and it hasn't been done yet. The original Incredible Hulk series
that is beloved by so many plays like a melodramatic continuation of
Adam West's Batman series, and Ang Lee's Hulk, which I feel is still
the best adaptation of the story, tried to add too much dramatic
Norton structures the story as a fugitive film where the Hulk is constantly on the run from Ross and his endless search. Ross enlists the help of Emil Blonsky, a skilled agent from the British Marines to help him find the Hulk. Blonsky eventually becomes a super villain which leads to one of the most painfully fake looking CGI battles ever seen.
The main problem with this film is it's script but the acting isn't good enough to salvage it. Edward Norton doesn't really give me a reason to pity him or feel bad about his condition. Sure he says he is haunted by the prospect of the Hulk hurting people but I didn't get any sense of those emotions in Norton's performance. I don't know what went on because Norton is a very talented actor. I sense he tried to underplay this role. On the other hand William Hurt looks like he wanted to overplay the role and he gives the worst performance of his career as General Thunderbolt Ross. I honestly thought he looked silly in the Ross wardrobe and make-up. Hurt overplays this role and his performance is silly. Liv Tyler is a beauty but her methods of soothing the CGI beast look forced and unreal.
Tim Roth is the exception, he is terrific as the villainous Blonsky. He gets too little screen time in my opinion because the way the super soldier injections drive him mad could have made him a more effective villain if he were given more screen time. Roth is underrated actor and he uses the most of his screen time. His dialogue is bad too but he has terrific presence with it. When he bulks up himself the build-up is disappointingly taken away by bad effects and terrible video game dialogue but the performance is still very good.
The action scenes are somewhat interesting and they are well imagined but I just felt that they could have done more with the human aspects of the character or at least have him battle more than just the military.
The Incredible Hulk ends the same way it began, Bruce Banner is on the run and I am still waiting Hollywood to produce a decent adaptation of this character
This is Pander-fest 9000.
If words confuse and irritate you, if logical action sequences strain your mind and you yearn for something easier to understand and desire visuals to motivate your thinking, than look no further!
Leterrier's Incredible Hulk has all of the watered-down clichés you've seen a million times before, so it's all comforting to know that there's nothing new to shock you with, and challenge your brain.
Motivation for the villain not your cup to tea? No problem! There is none in this movie. he just looks mean and smashes things.
Tired of Hulk transforming when he's angry for various reasons, and tired to figuring out what those reasons are (oedipal complexes!?! boring!) - Look no further! This movie has the simplest Hulk motivations!
In fact, Betty is in peril so often, you can make a drinking game out of it!
And who hates the military? Tentpole movie audiences, that's who! With their evil plans and reckless decisions! It's so simple!
So sit back, relax, and forget that moody talking movie with their complex characters, well-formed narrative structure, and other conceptual ideas you don't want to have to think about, and enjoy Leterrier's Incredible Hulk.
It's just like Ang Lee's (without all that brain stuff)!
This one definitely belongs on Failblog.
I seem to have the diametrically opposite opinion as some other commenters in here, in that where Ang Lee succeeded in actually creating characters for us to like, no such attempt is made in this movie, and thus we couldn't care less about the white, black, green and yellow characters on screen.
Apparently, the team here decided to totally ignore the previous installment of Hulk, both by changing the title from Hulk 2 to The Incredible Hulk, and by ignoring the story that precedes this installment. So, basically, we're starting from scratch. Let's see.
"We must explain how the characters know each other, why they're supposedly in love, why they hate, etc., let's get that over with during the opening credits." Fail.
"If we cut the fundings for CGI effects, we'll have more money for marketing!" Fail.
"'Wroooarrara roowowoaraaa Wrrraaaahh' makes for good dialogue." Fail.
"The Hulk smashes things, so the point of the story must be to smash things." Fail.
And this last point is exactly why Ang Lee got it right. I can understand if some people who left their trailers and Oprah on the television would find it hard to have to endure in excess of an hour being fed plot and character construction before the Hulk finally gets around to throwing around tanks and soldiers, but that's exactly what's needed to makes an over-sized angry Apache-smashing green guy become recognizable and worthy of empathy, and not just become a joke worthy of laughs. Which is what happens in this second Hulk movie.
Ang Lee's Hulk worked because of this, Spider-Man works because of this, Iron Man to some degree also, but this? This? This is just awful. You hate the characters on screen, each and every one of them, because they didn't earn your caring. I find myself commenting on Tyler's "Nooo!"s with, "Why don't you just shut up?!", and The Hulk's "Hulk smash!" with, "We knooow, why not try something else instead?" I'm sorry, but bad CGI and smashing stuff, including the army firing miniguns from choppers at residential buildings in downtown Manhattan (what's that about?) just doesn't make a good movie. It makes for audience disrespect.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What a summer Marvel is having! Iron Man hitting big was great but
Incredible Hulk may even top it. I caught a pre-screening and I can
assure everyone that the Hulk delivers more action and maybe more fun.
If you are concerned that this film is another Ang Lee type misfire,
don't be. It's about 100 times better then the version of five years
ago. Unlike the Ang Lee effort, it's presented in a way that can be
savored. The pacing is perfect and the action is relentlessly awesome.
What's amazing is that they managed to play both sides perfectly. It's
far deeper then I would've thought given the subject matter. Each frame
is packed with action, emotion, drama or intensity. I was expecting to
see a crazy green giant destroying the landscape and fighting another
crazy green monster for two hours. I was shocked at the complexity of
this movie. Given Edward Norton's involvement, I don't know why I'm so
surprised. The action is certainly there but the tone is perfect, a mix
of the TV flavor with all the action from the comic books. Hulk does
indeed "smash" but it's more then just dumb action with no plot. It
truly is an all around exceptional film. Also, I'm amazed at how far
the CGI came since the first teaser trailer. This remarkable CGI works
very well and it offers the chance to savor a complete movie going
experience without being pulled out of the film. This trimmed downed
Hulk looks perfect and his opponent is truly frightening. The final
battle between the two will go down in movie history as one of the
greatest fights of all-time. Overall, a summer movie that's superior to
everything else that I've seen this year, with the possible exception
of Iron Man. Again, who would've thought that Marvel would be a perfect
two for two this summer?
Speaking of Iron Man (*Beware SPOILER*)
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) does indeed show up at the end of the film(they cut from Banner and that green eyed smile we've all seen in the TV ads right to the Stark scene and the hairs on your neck will stand up)
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