Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Review: Incredible Hulk

NOTE: Movie reviews take a long time, and I honestly think there are better things to be doing. There might not be as many reviews on this blog as there have in the past.

I read the reviews. They were less than overwhelming. But I went and saw it anyway.

The Incredible Hulk stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, the scientist turned not-so-jolly green giant. This is a deviation from Norton's usually serious, edgy roles, a gamble I'm sure he didn't take lightly. But given the unslowing success super-hero flicks have seen since the 2002 release of Spiderman, it was probably one he was confident with. Seems American and international audiences facing real world tragedy can't get enough of fantasy world triumph.

The Incredible Hulk continues the story from where the fairly recent production of HULK (not incredible) left off. Other than vaguely following a congruent timeline, though, this is a clean break. New studio, new cast, new writers and directors. It almost seems like cheating for the owners to "reboot" a franchise so soon after it flopped, but it's something we're seeing more often. Think 1989 Batman, devolving through Returns, Forever, & Robin, all they way to Catwoman in 2004, then rebooting with Batman Begins in 2005. I read back when the first Austin Powers sequel was in theaters that franchise films were the studios' new cash cow. Seems they've found a newer formula, don't just recycle the film, recycle the whole franchise. Rest in peace, original creative content.

That being said, they followed the formula, and it paid off for (mostly) everybody. The movie pulled in over $55 million at the box office, and it was pretty entertaining.

Banner is persued by his former employer, General "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt), who is bent on turning Banner's blood into a super-soldier syrum. Ross enlists the help of Emil Blonsky, a sort of super soldier in his own right. Blonsky is highly trained and refuses to move on to more docile tasks. In his own words, he is a fighter, a trait that proves problematic later on.

Banner, in an effort to cure himself of the anger-induced HULK transformation, contacts his old girlfriend, and daughter of Thunderbolt Ross, Betty Ross, played by Liv Tyler. He also enlists a university researcher, Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson) specializing in cell mutation.

In short, The General is obsessed, Betty is weepy, Blonsky is Abominable, Sterns is Smarter, and Banner is Smashing.

It's everything you'd expect. No surprises here, except a few amusing cameos. I thought maybe Captain America would show up. He didn't, but I wasn't far off. There were some people upset about the character animation of the HULK himself, but the effects are essentially photorealistic at this point. If it isn't good enough for you, I'm sorry. It's pretty dang good.

Hulk is an interesting case in comparison and contrast. Let's take a look, shall we?

Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, in the same Marvel Universe, and similarly portrayed, self-made super-men:
Screen versions:
The countless comic book incarnations of the Hulk:

Other characters, "Big and Green":

Now I'm just getting silly:

1 comment:

patrick said...

this new Hulk is a lot more fun than the first one with Eric Bana; plus Ed Norton is in his element, doing the "split personality" role