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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I recall disliking the overblown, gimmicky and far too somber HULK
(2003); even if the creature’s leaping skills were a staple of the
original comic (an animated series of which from the 1960s I used to
watch as a kid), I found them especially silly in the live-action
version – thankfully, here, they’re relegated to the very end. Anyway,
when this was first announced, I had little faith that it would be any
good: at first, I even doubted Edward Norton’s suitability for the lead
but, seeing him in action as Dr. Bruce Banner, he brings the right
elements of intelligence, paranoia, tenacity and anguish to the role
(his relationship with Betty Ross – nicely played by the luscious Liv
Tyler – is very moving, making for one of the more compelling couples
in this type of film).
As for the Hulk himself, I’m still reeling from the ultra-fake look of the CGI technique: I know having a body-builder painted green (like Lou Ferrigno was in the popular TV series from the 1970s I’m also familiar with) wouldn’t cut the mustard in this day and age of blockbuster movies filled with large-scale gratuitous mayhem…but when the alternative is so unsatisfactory?! Incidentally, it was nice of the film-makers to acknowledge both actors from that earlier incarnation: the late Bill Bixby (the original Bruce…er…David Banner) appears in a bit from one of his other TV series on Brazilian TV(!), while Ferrigno is the lab guard whom Norton bribes with a pizza(!)…not to mention the character’s creator, Stan Lee (he has become a staple of these modern renditions of his work), who’s the old man infected with Banner’s blood at one point.
Another definite strong point to the film is the performance by Tim Roth: his typically riveting intensity makes up for the deficiencies of the character as written – so that he’s believable nevertheless as both a man of action and one who’s curious about the possibilities of science (as always, both the experts in the field and the military callously want to use the techniques to their own selfish ends rather than in the service of humanity); even more importantly, he’s an ideal adversary for both Banner and Hulk (when he’s himself transformed into the so-called Abomination). On the other hand, William Hurt disappointingly (I should say, lazily) hams it up in his one-dimensional role of the cigar-chomping General – one can’t help smiling at his apparent ability to summon all the heavy artillery employed in the pursuit of The Hulk at the bat of an eyelid!; having come to his senses by the end, he is seen taking a drink at a bar when he receives a visit from one Tony Stark…
The action is the slam-bang, give-‘em-all-you-‘ve-got routine we’ve come to expect in this form of mass entertainment – which, after a while, begins to look all the same (especially in the way Hulk seems to be impervious to practically anything they can throw at him!); besides, Abomination seems to throw in the towel all-too-easily during their showdown (I guess being a monster in love gave The Hulk greater motivation). Since romance in the usual sense isn’t possible because Banner’s accelerated heartbeat would constitute another transformation into the green giant, we get a bit of King Kong tenderness between Tyler and The Hulk himself in a cave but which, thankfully, isn’t carried on too far.
I’d never heard of French director Leterrier: looking at his brief resume' on IMDb, it seems he was chosen for this on the strength of his work on the actioner TRANSPORTER 2 (2005)! – he does seem to have an annoying preponderance for sweeping “helicopter” (crane/overhead) shots. In any case, his next film, looks like it’ll be another remake – this time of the Ray Harryhausen mythological opus CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981) which, for what it’s worth, had featured extensive shooting in Malta!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Don't make him
hungry! You wouldn't like him when he's hungry
Bill Bixby's infamous caveat, once again comically bastardized; in Ang Lee's HULK (2003), Eric Bana delivered it in Spanish at movie's end; now in 2008, Edward Norton delivering pidgin Portuguese - badly.
Neither a sequel nor an origin tale, THE INCREDIBLE HULK is an adrenalized shot to the sternum if it doesn't knock you black and blue, it will at least slap you and call you Susan.
The intro sequence reveals the origin back-story, allowing movie to hit the ground running, with skinny Edward Norton as Bruce Banner hiding out in an old-world Brazilian village, text on screen, "Days without incident: 158." Our first impulse is "Wha-?" This is Edward Norton after all, of renowned Thespian fame; maybe a tad overqualified to deliver lines like, "Hulk smash!"? Then it hits: it's EDWARD NORTON, no stranger to Dual Personality from his breakout schizoid role opposite Richard Gere in PRIMAL FEAR (1996), Norton delivers "second personality" like second nature.
In Brazil, Banner works in a bottling factory, performing body control exercises with a meditation guru who thrills in bitchslapping him incessantly; monitors his heart rate via a wrist readout and, unlike the rest of the
world, tries NOT to "go green," awaiting an antidote to his Hulk genes from an online mystery man in America named Mr. Blue, before he dares return home. (Banner's code name... Mr. Green. We didn't see THAT coming.) And running gags about stretchy pants abound
But General Ross (William Hurt) wants Banner's genes to utilize as military weaponry, so single-minded that he would risk his own daughter's life to attain that power. Typical pathological military jug head nothing we haven't seen in the real world. There's crazy. Then there's Army Crazy. Ross enlists the aid of hard army grunt, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), injected with a super-soldier serum (wink to Captain America fanboys) to take on the Hulk mano-a-mano and capture him for lab experiments which probably include examining the magical material in his pants.
The Hulk's first appearance is well-staged, in glimpses and silhouettes. When we see Hulk in full battle daylight, it is astounding! Not just due to the effects team (Gentle Giant Studios, among many) melding him with "reality," but because of the innovative motion-capture technology of Giant Studios. When the Hulk and the soon-to-be-birthed Abomination move, they are smoothly human; walking upright casually, interacting with debris, machinery, people, water rivulets cascading off flexing muscles and though his name reflects the 1962 Marvel Comics creation, no more is Hulk a bulky blob, but a svelte man-machine with a sexy v-shape. I especially like the way these creatures run full tilt, with the desperate lean and violent arm-swing of slim sprinters.
There are innumerable canonical nods and winks: Stan Lee as an unwary office guy who drinks a soda tainted with Hulk blood; Bill Bixby in a TV snippet from COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER; the *Lonely Man* theme from THE HULK TV series, where Bixby walks the lonely highway in snazzy bell-bottoms that will be shredded by the next episode; a cameo by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to synergize the Avenger Initiative; and not least, Lou Ferrigno!
When Banner gets back to the U.S. he looks up his old girl, the daughter of General Ross, Betty (Liv Tyler), who, like every woman whose love-of-her-life is on the lam, is time-serving with another guy. Of course, the part-time boyfriend is a complete dork who looks like Casey Kasem in a vest. (It's never a David Lee Roth circa 1980 Van Halen.) When Betty accidentally encounters tragic Bruce, she's all over him like a thousand-dollar hooker. If only all women were so devotional as to curl around you so urgently and intimately after years of separation. That's why they call these things "fantasy."
Betty and Bruce seek out Mr. Blue (Tim Blake Nelson), who has been hoarding Hulk blood samples like geekboys hoarding back issues. Mr. Blue doesn't really help Bruce, but he helps the plot, when Emil Blonsky, insatiable for monstrous power, forces Blue to inject him with Hulk blood; apparently, mixing super-soldier serum and Hulk blood creates a big vomit-colored, bone-splintering monstrosity called The Abomination which precipitates the TRANSFORMER moment: that point in any film where you realize everything on screen is computer-generated and that this eye-candy battle between two big things might as well be a video game and you're sitting here watching it even though you're over 30.
Still, the action surprisingly contains heart. Hulk becomes Hero. No matter the many incarnations that portray Hulk as brainless or fogged with gamma-amnesia, this Hulk retains a sizeable chunk of Banner-brain, and his fierce compassion bleeds right offa the emerald giant's computer blips. We sense that Hulk's most compelling battle is not with big things that go boom, but with himself. And as good as Hulk's battles are, I don't think many of us over 30 would complain had we been given more of the great Ed Norton doing introspective and sullen.
End frames set up the Avenger Initiative with Stark it is no secret Marvel are cross-pollinating their cameos; hope springs eternal that IRON MAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK presage a spate of quality Marvel offerings, and that the slated 2011 release of FIRST AVENGER: CAPTAIN America won't be as super-mundane as the 1979 TV series, with Reb Brown gadding about in a foamy muscle suit and plastic bike. As a Cap fan, that debacle made me very angry.
Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
Let's start with answering the most pressing question
No, the Hulk
doesn't fight roided out poodles in this one.
If you liked Ang Lee's take on the Hulk back in 2003 (ahhhh you're the one) then you won't be happy with The Incredible Hulk. For the rest of us, you're in for a treat. A reboot of a franchise this new is unprecedented but it was worth the risk. Think of it as a $100 million first draft.
It's rough for Hulk, coming on the heels of Iron Man. Iron Man was the best comic book movie since Spiderman 2 and quite possibly since the first Superman movie. While this movie isn't the roller coaster ride that Iron Man was, it was a solid cringe-free adaptation.
After a breezy retelling of the origin story, the movie opens with Bruce Banner on the run in Brazil. He's being hunted by the government - as governments are wont to do. Banner is in hiding as a day worker at a soda factory.
Ed Norton brings a brooding intensity to Banner but it's far from the star turn that Tony Stark was for Robert Downey, Jr. However, that is more indicative of the character than it is of Norton. Tony Stark is a drunk (on alcohol and power), loopy mess that has fun with his abilities and status both as Stark and Iron Man. Conversely, for all of the Hulk's power, Banner has virtually none. He's hunted, broke and tired. Tony Stark looks for cool robot technology to build cool robot suits. Bruce Banner looks for stretchy pants. It can be hard to compete.
Downey as Tony Stark is like Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow or Harrison Ford as Han Solo a performance so instantly iconic that you can't imagine any other actor in the role. Norton does a good job but it never quite reaches that level. While some of that falls at the feet of the screenplay, he co-wrote it we so can blame him either way. (In his defense, he is unhappy with the final version of the movie and is refusing to do press in support of the film. There is allegedly a pending DVD release with a whopping 70 minutes of additional footage, so time will tell.) The movie is much more serious than recent comic book outings with the exception of The Batman franchise. Unlike most superheroes, Banner/Hulk is a threat to the public NOT it's savior. This has always been a hurdle for the comic book and it's the main reason the show ended up as a green-tinted version of The Fugitive.
This movie definitely has more of the tone of '70s show but with less cheese and better effects. We get the footage of Banner ripping through his clothes and his eyes turning green as his inner-beast finally wins out. The score, while different, has the same sense of melancholy. And we get the same lingering shots of a lonely Banner walking dejectedly into the distance down an empty road.
The movie is a little slow paced in the first half. I took my 8-year old son and he got a tad restless around the 45 minute mark and he is a very good movie watcher (not to brag or anything). But the second half brings the noise, as it were, and we all get to see what we paid for: The Hulk smashing stuff. The final fight sequence clocks in at close to half-an-hour as The Hulk battles Tim Roth as Abomination for, um, well I don't really remember what for. Does it matter? It was Hulk vs. Bigger Hulk and there was much smashing and crunching and car throwing and it was good.
Overall, The Incredible Hulk was definitely worth the price of admission. Marvel Studios was smart to reboot the franchise. Judging by the hints they've been dropping and cameos that have been popping up in this movie and Iron Man, they appear to be laying the groundwork for the biggest comic book movie in the history of comic book movies: The Avengers and I for one, can't wait.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being Superman and 1 being Condorman, The Incredible Hulk gets a 7.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had watched Ang Lee's Hulk in the theaters in 2003, in high hopes. I was let down, as was most of you. I had said if they ever come out with a sequel, I would not watch it. Now I know this isn't a sequel, but a re-imagining. What's funny is that it seems this movie is an imagining of the television series and Ang Lee's version is an imagining of the comic books. For me, it is safe to say that I like the television series better. From the start, you can tell that the film is different, almost the entire first act takes place in a different language, a bold move for a tentpole film, but something well done. Everyone is on their A Game, Edward Norton booms as Bruce Banner, something that Eric Bana did not so well, I mean, Bruce Banner is suppose to be geeky, Eric Bana played freaking' Chopper. Geekiness does not shine well for Bana. Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, and Tim Blake Nelson round of the cast in a glorious visioning of a comic book. Yeah, Iron Man may be better, but that doesn't mean that this film isn't awesome as well. So go out, and see it, Now!!!
OK fight fans here we go. First let me get started by declaring I am the only person I know who actually liked the Ang Lee Hulk movie. So for me this is not an essential remake. I thought that movie had a magnificent sense of pathos. But here we go the great things with modern super hero movies is just like the comics we can re-imagine them as and when the film makers see fit, and in this case it has been done well. Marvel is on a bit or a role here as they have now surpassed my expectation with both this movie and 'Iron Man' This movie seems to cleverly run on from Lee's version whilst giving you an altered history in the opening credits. We have Bruce Banner now holed up in Brazil a fugitive trying to understand his so called disease. Whilst General Ross is desperately searching for him to cultivate his research into a weapon. Where this film differs from the first is that it is action pretty much all the way and very well done it is too. Hulk seems a little smaller and therefore more accessible but the CG is good and the rainy sequence trick is used once again to help the blending in of scenes. Also where this film will work for the fan boys is in the appearance of a proper comic book villain in Abomination. Abomination's back story is handled well and Tim Roth gives a good hammy performance to match the stellar efforts from the rest of the cast. (I have heard Edward Norton is unhappy with the cinema cut and would like to see the cut he preferred, and would really hope he makes himself available for any potential sequels). There was some good homage's to the past with a TC clip of Bill Bixby, a cameo by Ferringo and the inevitable Stan Lee cameo and a real plus for me they even worked in a little bit of the old TV theme tune. A real unexpected treat.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
People told me not to see the 2003 release of "The Hulk" and so I
didn't see it. I expected the same news for this release, but I was
told to see it. Having not seen the '03 version, I anticipated this
would be a sequel and I wouldn't like it since I missed the first one.
To my surprise though, "The Incredible Hulk" was no sequel, rather its
own take on the character Bruce Banner and the Hulk.
Unlike some other superhero movies that I have seen, this had a plot that I found interesting. Rather than just being about a giant, angry green man who unleashes massive destruction, it's about the real man underneath who wants to change. Such a unique idea shows that the lead actor Edward Norton, who helped wrote the script, is more than just an ordinary thespian.
Norton was a great choice for Bruce Banner/The Hulk. He's believable, engaging, and at times funny. Liv Tyler (still beautiful as ever), is another a good addition to the film as Banner's romance. Together, Norton and Tyler made the film even more intriguing. It was also nice to see Tim Roth, who later becomes the Hulk's archenemy in the movie. I've only seen him in a couple of other films, but he always played a decent villain as he does in this.
Like with all other superhero movies, there's a lot of CGI. I won't say I was impressed by it like I was with "King Kong" or even "Transformers", since it's almost in every action flick, but the fight sequence between Hulk and Abomination at the end was quite a feast for the eyes.
But there were several things that left me hanging at the end of the film. I'm not going to say what they are, but I found them rather bothersome. Then again, this leaves room for a sequel. I will say though that the last scene in the film has an appearance of Tony Stark from Iron Man. This leaves clear evidence that "The Avengers" is underway for the big screen. 8/10
When Ang Lee made the Hulk people were not disappointed but not
satisfied. So it came as no surprise that the film makers decided not
to make the two other Hulk movies planned. So when The Incredible Hulk
was in development I had major doubts.
But all these doubts became deafened by the good trailer and me seeing the actual movie.
The movie made the right choice for casting Ed Norton as Bruce Banner and all the other actors particularly Tim Routh as Emil Blonsky worked pretty good to me.
The movie is far more action oriented, great with a more understandable origin and a more vulnerable Hulk. Hence why they would make the Abomination a superior match to the Hulk. The acting and the hyper-realistic tone are all done very well and it is a great movie. I like how they were able to put in the Leader as a nice little hidden bonus for fans and Tony Stark revealing the plans about the Avengers.
My two regrets are that this new General Ross is not as menacing as Sam Elliot and that it did not have some of the science explained enough.
From that brilliant poster of Ed Norton dressed all in denim walking away from the huge frame of his alter ego the Hulk to the superb end fight that shows the makers of Spiderman 3 how it should be done this is a great film. Not by any means a brilliant film but a truly enjoyable superhero romp none the less. Gone is the emotion that Ang Lee tried to inject into Hulk (2003) and back is the smashing and shouting and smashing. Plagued by his demons and his uncontrollable green counterpart, Norton plays Dr. Bruce Banner a scientist with a secret, desperate to find a cure. Hot on his heels are the army lead by Emil Blonsky (Roth) under the command of General Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross, who just so happens to be the dad of Banners girlfriend Betty (Tyler), who wants to know how he gets all angry and use the technology to create 'super soldiers'. Plus Iron Man Tony Stark is in it. That then is about it, what you get is a chase movie with some great characters, some great effects and a couple of amazing set pieces including the end fight between the Hulk and the Abomination. All in all it's smashing stuff that should leave other superhero films green with envy.
This was without a doubt one of the most enjoyable movies I've ever seen simply because it is awesome to see one of your favorite comic book characters on the big screen in all his might.The 2003 version was beyond disappointing because it was far from the source material,too long and boring and of course not enough Hulk smash action.Thank God director Louis Leterrier fixed the mistakes Ang Lee made and created one of the best comic adaptations ever.The cast is great and Eddy Norton once again proves he's one of the best actors of his generation and the perfect man to play the tormented Bruce Banner.The rest of the cast is great also:Liv Tyler is a great Betty and is really sympathetic with the monster just like in the comics.Tim Roth is a great Blonsky and an even better Abomination,he's just pure badass evil.William Hurt is the best General Ross ever!!!He is literally pulled from the pages of the comic-divided between the duty to capture the rampaging monster and the love for his daughter he really nailed the part.One of the biggest improvements from the previous film is definitely the CGI-The Hulk looks as real as he can be-the skin coloring,textures and shades are all superb bravo to the effects guys they did a fantastic job.Abomination looks great too.His final clash with Hulk is something to talk about for a long time.This is what I call an epic fight.In conclusion I'd like to say that if you are a Hulk fan you must absolutely see this film and I bet you will love it.If you're not a Hulk fan you will enjoy it still.One of the most entertaining action packed movies for years.
I'll start by saying that I actually liked the 2003 Ang Lee Hulk and
was initially disappointed when I heard they were rebooting rather than
continuing, but when this movie was over and my friend said, "that was
a zillion times better than the first one," I had to agree.
With Louis Letterier's The Incredible Hulk, you get a much more down to earth streamlined version of the Hulk everybody wanted the first time around. This is not to say in the least that it's nothing but a CGI fest, all the contrary. The script is smart, not just in its science but in its dialog and handling of the otherworldly subject matter. Letterier, with the help of Edward Norton and company do a remarkable job of convincing you that this could actually happen, even though we all know it couldn't. Characters are strongly developed with well paced tension that eventually builds to a heart stopping climax on the streets of New York. Your movie ticket's gonna buy you heart, humor and loads of thrills and action folks.
It's a little disheartening to think that this film's success may easily be hampered by movie goers who still have a bad taste in their mouth from 2003, I wanna address that. This is not a sequel to Ang Lee's 2003 film. This is a complete reboot, they started again from scratch, to make amends and they have succeeded. The movie does a great job of starting over by giving you only snippets in the form of early flashbacks to show how the Hulk was created and what sent Bruce Banner on the run from the law. This sets the movie into action in record time. We catch up with him some years later, he hasn't seen the love of his life, Betty in all that time and she has yet to see or even realize what Bruce's problem really is. Bruce is hiding in Brazil and has been off the grid for about six months, but when a freak accident catches the attention of his pursuers in the U.S. he's on the run again, and eventually forced back home.
Ironically, considering a common complaint of the original movie was its inaccuracies to the comic book, this film draws more from the 1970's TV series for its back story and the tone even follows suit somewhat as well. With Bruce on the run we get a lot of action and suspense even when he isn't green and we get our heart from his relationship with Betty. Some comic relief comes from this as well. The movie is much darker in tone than some of the more recent superhero movies and the action gets pretty intense too, they definitely push the boundaries of their PG-13 rating. If you've liked Marvel's other ventures you will probably like this film, but if you're a fan of the original series, the comic and or cartoons, or quite frankly a fan of action adventure movies in general, go see this movie, you WILL like it. I'll say it again, cuz I want Marvel to continue with what could easily be an amazing franchise. Go see this movie!!!
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