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Hulk (Widescreen 2-Disc Special Edition) (2003)

A film directed by Ang Lee

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An honorable failure

  • Dec 17, 2003
  • by
Rating:
-1
Ang Lee is a great director...let there be no doubt. CROUCHING TIGER, ICE STORM, SENSE & SENSIBILITY. All TRULY outstanding films. So it comes as no surprise that he would try to bring greatness to a genre little familiar with greatness...the movie comic / superhero genre.

On many levels, Ang Lee did a great thing. He attempted to REALLY delve into the emotional angst of his characters...to show use in a "believable" manner how Hulk could have come into being. The opening credits for the movie are great, in my opinion, truly setting a mood while giving us a lot of backstory. The cinematography and unusual style of fade-in / fade-out that Lee uses throughout are highly suggestive of a comic come to life. It is a daring movie on many levels and really kept me engaged in the conflicts building up. I was able to enjoy not just the "superhero level" quandries of the characters, but their human problems as well.

However, the movie fails Lee (and vice-versa) in two fatal ways.

1) Lee is obviously a good director of experienced performers. Think of Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh in CROUCHING TIGER...probably their best work. Signourney Weaver in ICE STORM. Great. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet in SENSE...Oscar nominees. Lee must establish a wonderful rapport with his experience actors. In HULK, Nick Nolte is a bit over-the-top but actually quite frightening, and Sam Elliott is at his best. Jennifer Connolly gives a tortured performance. But newcomer Eric Bana is just NOT GOOD. He may look OK for the part, but he brings no emotional heft, no believeability to his role...and that's a REAL problem. If we don't buy Bruce Banner in all his anguish, we have a hard time making an emotional connection with him. (To a lesser degree, the inexperienced Josh Lucas is also miscast and unconvincing.)

2) THE SPECIAL EFFECTS STINK! When I think of the miracle of craft that Gollum is in LORD OF THE RINGS, it is inconceivable to me that the Hulk was allowed to come to an audience looking so totally and completely unconvincing. There are a few nice moments, such as when a sprinkler system is raining water everywhere, and we see it running off of Hulk. But I was AWARE of the thought that went into that shot...I was totally removed from the movie. The worst is when Hulk is prancing around in the desert...oh my God. '50s era monster movies weren't much worse!! It is simply impossible to suspend your disbelief as the film nears its climax, and thus the whole contraption falls apart.

Ang Lee will no doubt continue to make outstanding films. He (and we) should just chalk this one up to experience and move on. If you haven't seen this movie, I can't really think of a compelling reason. There are more clearly awful movies out there, true, but there is something sad about watching a movie that COULD have been really special fall so short.

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More Hulk (2003) reviews
review by . August 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
CHARACTER DRIVEN FILM DESERVES CREDIT
      HULK      People hate this film and honestly I don't know why, seriously I have no clue what the problem is. I will agree that this movie is not a classic but I really feel like every time I see it I have watched a truly entertaining film. I think this film is a lot like the comics or at least a lot like some versions of the comics, and it is really a great story. I think that this film has a lot of heart which is unusual for this type of film, most …
review by . August 04, 2010
HULK SNORE!!!!
You know, screwing up the Hulk is like messing up instant pudding.  With pudding, pour mix into a bowl, add milk, stir, let cool and then eat.  Hulk is a guy who when he gets mad, grows into a 10 foot green monster of a man who's super strong, can leap into low orbit and has boundless rage once he gets going.  It's a big green monster who smashes up anything in his path.  How do you mess that up?  Well heres one way to do it.      I would love …
Quick Tip by . August 05, 2010
Sleep inducing and arty piece of a comic hero that should be anything but. When the action starts, it's good but otherwise, pull up the blankie and pillow
review by . April 29, 2009
What could have been a great movie, slogs through the first hour at an excruciatingly slow pace.  Very weird directing where the screen splits into four different scenes, does more harm than good.  Bruce Banner, a child of parents that lived in a military base that tested nuclear devices like Los Alamos, grows up to be a scientist too.  When he is exposed to a dose of gamma radiation, the genetically mutated cells in his body go crazy and he is transformed into the Hulk using Shrek-like …
review by . June 13, 2008
4.5/5 stars     "Hulk" 2003 is very different from what you would expect from a typical summer popcorn creature-feature. From the advertising campaign it appeared to be a mindless special effects extravaganza with little to no plot whatsoever; AKA Summer Fun. For those who went to see it with that mindset it was undoubtedly a not so pleasant surprise. Most of whom who saw this on its initial theatrical release obviously had not foreseen Ang Lee's philosophical drama, and they …
review by . June 20, 2006
True the movie starts slow, with admirable character development. By the time the Hulk appears, every one's motivations are known with each personality sharply distinguished. I have to admit that I was taking aback on how he look on screen. Alot of people describe him as "Shrek on Steroids" or "Angry Shrek," which I don't blame them because that's not the way we know the Hulk.     Ang Lee loves showing humanity and human frailty in his stories as he has done exceptionally in …
review by . May 12, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Special effects…     Cons: Special effects, acting     The Bottom Line: The Hulk suffered from an over use of computer aided graphics, and it destroyed the movie for me. I like my hero’s powerful, but somewhat human thank you.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. As a young boy growing up in middle, well okay lower middle America, I dined on a regular menu of Marvel Comics. My favorites were …
review by . February 05, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
What could have been a great movie, slogs through the first hour at an excruciatingly slow pace. Very weird directing where the screen splits into four different scenes, does more harm than good. Bruce Banner, a child of parents that lived in a military base that tested nuclear devices like Los Alamos, grows up to be a scientist too. When he is exposed to a dose of gamma radiation, the genetically mutated cells in his body go crazy and he is transformed into the Hulk using Shrek-like animation techniques.The …
review by . November 11, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
"Hulk" was a disappointment. I hate to say it, but it's true. This movie had so much potential, but it fell flat from the word go. The story dragged on for what seemed like a lifetime, and Ang Lee's comic-style editing became annoying after the first few minutes. The highpoint of the movie is, of course, the Hulk. If you are blessed with a DVD player, simply skip over the parts that don't include a CGI graphic, and you'll have a good time. Eric Bana didn't win me over as Bruce Banner, and as much …
review by . June 17, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Not Much     Cons: Bad acting, boring script, dull action.     The Bottom Line: A bloated excess of a film that is not only a waste of the fine talent, but a dull waste of time.     Raging inside Dr Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) is a monster waiting to be unleashed. Anyone familiar with the comic book or the TV series that starred the late Bill Bixby will be familiar with the setup of “Hulk” the new film version of the classic …
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I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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About this movie

Wiki

When the Hulk gets angry, his movie gets good, so you wish he'd get angry more often. Accepting this challenge after the triumphantCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, director Ang Lee has created an ambitious film, based on the Marvel comic created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, that succeeds as a cautionary tale about mad science and traumatized children coping with legacies of pain. That's the Hulk's problem: After accidental exposure to gamma radiation, scientist Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) turns into the huge, green, and indestructible Hulk when provoked, and repressed childhood memories fuel his fury. Hobbled by the obligatory "origin story" (to acquaint neophytes with the character's Jekyll-and-Hyde-ish fate), there's room for little else in a sluggish film that struggles to reconcile Lee's stylistic flair (evident in his visual interpretation of comic-book technique) with the razzle-dazzle of a megabudget franchise. What's good is good (Jennifer Connelly essentially echoes her role fromA Beautiful Mind, and Nick Nolte is righteously tormented as Banner's father), but the movie's schizoid intentions remain largely unclear.--Jeff Shannon
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Details

Director: Ang Lee
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: January 11, 2007
Runtime: 138 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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