Friday, August 15, 2003



A Film Review of "Hulk"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

The Exercise. This is what every comic book reader, fan and geek has to do every time they see a movie based on a comic book. Or at least, that's what they have to do if they want to try and enjoy the movie.

You get as excited about the movie as much as you want. You get to the theatre early, get popcorn and candy, tell your neighbors to shush and sit through the commercials and previews - then it begins. You take a deep breath. You close your eyes and forget everything you know about the source material. Everything. Then open your eyes and watch the film. The Exercise. Otherwise you'll hate it. You know you will.

The exercise is necessary for Hulk. Forget the Marvel comic book. Forget the bad 1970s TV show. Watch with a clean slate. You'll be mesmerized.

Ang Lee has created a deep psychological drama on the landscape of a comic book legend. Hulk works on both levels. This film will ever so pleasantly surprise the geek who has followed the instructions of 'the exercise.'

The Hulk looks like the Hulk of the comics. Many critics have complained about the totally CGI Hulk. Obviously they've never seen an "Incredible Hulk" comic book in their sheltered lives. Size, proportion and hue are perfect as well as the purple pants. The beast's voice although principally growls is also perfect especially when he speaks in a dream sequence. I would have loved a "Hulk smash!" thrown in but perhaps that's too much to ask for.

Surviving through from the comics is the original cast still intact sans Rick Jones (who could have easily a similar character here but that's a minor quibble). We still have meek Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) correctly named although homage is given to the incorrect TV series by naming his father David, played by the intense and looking very much like his mugshot Nick Nolte. We have the beautiful Oscar-winning Jennifer Connolly as Betty Ross the romantic interest and her father General 'Thunderbolt' Ross is perfectly cast in the being of Sam Elliott. Rounding out the original comics cast is Josh Lucas as Glenn Talbot who as in the comics wants in Betty's pants but is this time corporate rather than military. Also, don't blink or you'll miss Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno as security guards.

There is nothing wrong with the acting, it is as stainless as the special effects. There are incredible scenes of the Hulk versus the military that could have been stolen from the pages of any 1960s Stan Lee greenskin book. We even see the Hulk withstand outer space in one sequence. It's all very breathtaking especially when the final villain is revealed. You know when there are comic book fans in the theatre because they will all whisper at that same point "Oh my god, his father is the Absorbing Man!"

Hulk is a masterpiece that should thrill fans of the comics and folks who know next to nothing about the characters. The only people who will not like this are those who think that bad 1970s rip-off of "The Fugitive" TV series is what the Hulk is really like. Sorry, you guys are wrong and sadly in the minority. Ang Lee's Hulk rocks.

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