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

A film directed by Ang Lee

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The Hulk; Where’s the Humanity?

  • May 12, 2004
Rating:
-1
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 Xmen, Iron Man, Spiderman, and Thor. The Incredible Hulk, well he was not a must read, if I came across an issue I’d read it, but I didn’t find the mean green giant very interesting. Ditto, for the television adaptation of the comic book staring Lou Ferrigno. So when I heard The Hulk was coming to the silver screen I had to stifle a yawn, and needless to say I did not rush right out to the premier; I waited for the DVD release.

Plot Line

In the classic Marvel Comic, the Incredible Hulk, Doctor Bruce Banner was plummeted with Gamma Rays during a military experiment, which unlocked his alternate self, the other we keep buried deep within us, unleashing it as a giant, angry, green uncontrollable human wreaking ball.

Scientific Sidebar: gamma rays—for those itching to know—are a form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation: a high-energy photon emitted after nuclear reactions or spontaneously from the nucleus of a radioactive atom that lowers the energy level of the nucleus. Gamma rays do not carry any electric charge or mass and share the high-frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum with X-rays, which have similar properties.

In the movie, the writers took liberty with this plot line, adding a generational level of mad-scientist single mindedness in the guise of Banner’s long lost father. Now, the gamma rays, take on a new more plausible aura; i.e. instead of being a mere plot device, they are actually a trigger for something that was already present in Banner’s bloodstream, put there by daddy-dearest by injection when he was a mere babe, and genes. So now the usually shy, reserved and emotionally distant young doctor Banner has a reason for being shy, reserved, emotionally remote, and oh yes angry; his father and those nasty gamma rays made him that way.

Directed by Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - 2000, Sense and Sensibility -1995, Eat Drink Man Woman – 1994), in this big-budget computer generated behemoth, simply called The Hulk, Banner is portrayed by little know (at least by me) Australian actor Eric Bana (Black Hawk Down - 2001, Troy – 2004), who is in love with his fellow scientist Betty Ross portrayed by a decidedly (too) slender Jennifer Connelly (House of Sand and Fog - 2003, A Beautiful Mind - 2002, Requiem for a Dream - 2001, Dark City - 1998, and Mulholland Falls -1996), who is the daughter of the antagonist Army General Ross (Sam Elliot), former (and present day) nemesis of Banner’s scientist father Nick Nolte, looking very much like himself.

Impressions

The central premise of course is that when angered Banner loses it and pushed by those again, nasty gamma rays, turns into The Hulk. Problem, well there are two really, is that it takes an awful long time for the first appearance of The Hulk, and even then it is quite unexpected, out of place if you will. The second problem—did I say there were just two—is that when transformed The Hulk is so obviously, well, a computer animation, that he is instantly dehumanized, not worthy of Betty’s pity, or ours for that matter. Sure the effects are nice; seeing The Hulktoss a tank is cool, but without an emotional connection to protagonist I might as well have been watching a video game, or a cartoon.

I was not particularly bolded over by the human performances either. When he first appears on screen I was not sure who or what Bana is supposed to be, he was almost hidden behind his equipment. The dialog was dry and emotionless; it’s as if Bana was sleep walking through most of it. It was only half way through film that he shows any signs of life at all. And Jennifer (lord knows I love her acting), was devoid of emotion, even her eyes did not speak to me, it was if she wanted to be some place else, any place but where she was. Nolte, however, gave his usual sterling performance, in fact he was the only one alive, other then scowling Sam Elliot, who had a perpetual chip on his slender shoulders, and enough eyebrow for a bird to nest in.

Conclusion

In the final analysis, this is just a so-so movie, destined not to go down in the annals of great comic book adaptations for film, like Superman, the first and second Batman movies, or the Xmen, or Spiderman. 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. Even the Xmenmovie with it cadre of mutants manage to keep it real!

Rated PG-13, 138 Minutes, Universal Pictures


Recommended:
No

Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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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 . 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 . December 17, 2003
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 …
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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Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #189
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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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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