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Hulk Movie Review

 
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Colin
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Joined: 28 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 06.28.2003 12:31 am    Post subject: Hulk Movie Review Reply with quote

I am writing this review in response to all the negative reviews I have seen. I normally couldn?t be bothered, but I?ve seen overwhelming criticisms based upon overwhelming hot air. So, here?s my two cents worth.

First, I would like to say that I believe only someone who had child-hood dreams of the comic character would be able to do justice to the comic and bring the big green monster to the big silver screen. Ok, Ang Lee is not that someone. He is someone who has never even read the comic before. But that does not mean this is not a great movie. It means there will be differences between the comic character and the movie Hulk.

The original Hulk is a Frankenstein reincarnation. It is about man (Bruce and the military) versus monster. The movie altered this simple plot by removing one central conflict, and elaborating upon others.

There is no Bruce Banner versus Hulk. But there is still man versus himself. This is a good thing. Bruce is portrayed as a victim of a traumatized childhood, as a man who struggles with his repressions. In the original story, Banner always fought his inner demons, and struggled to control the Hulk, in search of a cure. In this story, Banner actually enjoys the transformation, and the sense of freedom that it instils in him, saying ?I like it?. This acceptance is plausible, given the fact that Banner has lead a tormented life due to his traumatized childhood and related repressions. We all wish we had the power of the Hulk at some time in our lives, to vent our frustrations, deal with our stress, and conquer our fears. That is what makes the comic character so appealing. Furthermore, the Hulk?s acceptance by Bruce allows us to sympathize with the Hulk, as an innocent, confused, battered being. That is what makes him a ?King Kong?, a ?Godzilla?, or more importantly, a super-hero. The alternative would have been to loathe him as a creature that steals the life of Bruce and mindlessly creates chaos and murders the innocent. Maybe such a storyline with such conflict will surface in a sequel.

Other conflicts are present. There is Bruce versus his father, Bruce/Hulk versus Glenn Talbot, Bruce/Hulk versus General Ross, and Betty versus her father. These conflicts provide substance upon which the blockbuster action revolves around. But more importantly, the father-child conflict offers two essential things.

Firstly, it provides additional credibility as to how the Hulk was created. The Hulk is created accidentally, but that accident is more believable given the fact that Bruce?s genetics are unique. But why are they unique? Because his father, David, performed DNA alteration experiments on himself, and the results were passed onto his son. Such a premise also goes a long way to explain how David himself acquires super-human form and is transformed into a formidable opponent as an ?Absorbing Man?. It took more than exposure to lethal levels of gamma radiation. It took a combination of that and unique DNA.

Secondly, the father-child conflict substantiates the man versus himself conflict. David is the source of Bruce?s tortured and traumatized child-hood. He is the reason Bruce has repressed memories. He is the reason Bruce grew up adopted, not knowing who he was or where he came from. This all contributes to Bruce?s psychological demeanour, and explains why Bruce is distant with Betty.

Since this movie is a ?summer blockbuster?, no review would be complete without mentioning the action. The Hulk depicted gruesome violence against mutated beings and humans. But what did you expect? The violence was apt, considering the story is about a monster, and not the typical super-hero. But what was up with the poodle? Mutated Doberman?s, Rottweiler?s, or Hyena?s would have been more terrifying looking opponents.

The cinematic special effects did justice to the comic book; The images of the Hulk flashing within the clouds during every lightening bolt; The image of the Hulk facing Banner in the mirror; And the multiple screen-shots, representing panels on the comic page.

The computer generated Hulk appeared more or less realistic, especially the way he acted and reacted to his surroundings. The way the Hulk flailed his arms around as he jumped, as if he was trying to maintain a sense of balance under such great momentum. The way he viscerally reacted to a fallen helicopter, roaring at it as if he was asserting his dominance over a living predator.

This computer generated Hulk also did justice to the comic book character. Yes, the Hulk is able to heal himself. Yes, the Hulk has bullet-proof skin. And yes, the Hulk is able to leap long distances. I have only one criticism. The original Hulk does not change size, depending upon how angry he is. It makes me wonder, what kind of pants was Bruce Banner wearing?
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the night watchman
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 06.28.2003 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It makes me wonder, what kind of pants was Bruce Banner wearing?


Purple. Wink

Good comments, Colin, especially about the much-criticized special effects. I was a little skeptical before I sat down to watch the movie; when I saw the Hulk in the trailers, I kind of winced. But within the context of the movie, the Hulk is no more "fake looking," nor the special effects used to generate him "bad," than King Kong in the 1931 movie, or Ray Harryhausen's hydras, skeletons, and troglodytes. No, the Hulk doesn't look "real," but his look suits the movie.
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 06.28.2003 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To tell you the truth (and I'm a bit embarrased to say so) - I think The Hulk is the third-best film of the year. I was pleasantly suprised by its psychological ambition. As for the CGI, I thought it was great, unlike many (though I can clearly see why some people don't like it, and the movie as a whole.

On a similar note, here's my top 10 for this year so far:

1. Whale Rider (4/4)
2. Nowhere in Africa (4/4)
3. The Hulk (4/4)
4. The Quiet American (3.5/4)
5. Bend it like Beckham (3.5/4)
6. Holes (3.5/4)
7. Finding Nemo (3.5/4)
8. The Matrix Reloaded (3.5/4)
9. Better Luck Tomorrow (3/4)
10. Down With Love (3/4)
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Last edited by Danny Baldwin on 07.01.2003 2:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 06.28.2003 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the inherent problems with CGI is that the effects are clearly never sharing space with the actors or sets, which, for me, becomes instantly distracting. At least models and guys in Wookie costumes shared "real" space with the "real" action. Still, this is not to attack the use of CGI. It is a field yet in its infancy, and no doubt the technology will improve. I find it difficult to criticize THE HULK for looking fake--and it certainly does--when the computer effects are some of the most advanced yet produced. Surely that deserves some level of credit?

Eric
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 06.28.2003 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for a top ten... I wouldn't even want to begin drawing up a list at this point. However, so far my favorites include Hero, Ten, Invincible, Finding Nemo and the belated American debut of Pontecorvo's The Wide Blue Road. I also enjoyed Bend It Like Beckham, 28 Days Later, Love Liza, Mighty Wind, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, but none of them are even close to "listworthy."

The worst? Darkness Falls, The Guru, The Believer, The Way Home, and The Happiness of the Katakuris.

Eric
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ra
Grip


Joined: 21 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: 07.21.2003 1:45 pm    Post subject: Hulk Reply with quote

I agree with much of what i have read in this room thus far. however, I feel compelled to add that as someone who has grown up reading many different Marvel Comics (including the hulk) - I have to admit that Only Superman, Spiderman & The Hulk do the comics justice -in that, when one watches these films it really does stimulate the imagination and makes one actually want to be that charachter (sad as it seems).

I thought the hulk looked woefully unrealistic in the trailers but watching the film, i see that they would have struggled to make it look realistic using a human being. I also reckon thats why Lee tried to make the film look like a comic.

I loved the fact that Banner liked being the hulk (I know I would), and the inconsistency with the trousers is something that has always existed (even in the comics) - you cant really depict the private parts of the Hulk, imagine how grotesque that would look!!

Also, I have to admit that for all the Hulk comics I own, I never really liked the charachter of Banner so simply ignored him. The film actually taught me things that have completed my understanding of the Hulk, and Banner's relationship to him.

I reckon that they do the Hulk justice by giving him charachter and not just making him childlike & mindless (as the Hulk we saw was a manifestation of Banners repressed childhood feelings). Things like the Hulk slapping the Turret of the tank into his palm as he approched another was very like the intelligent hulk i am used to reading.

After watching the hugley disappointing X-Men 2 (i can't believe what they did to my babies) i have to say that the Hulk has actually restored my faith in hollywood even if they do cater to the 'family' audience which leads to the enevitable watering down of our favourite charachters.
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The Third M?n
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Joined: 09 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: 09.09.2003 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved the film. Granted, it had its flaws but its pace was near perfect and it was incredible in many aspects. Lee's direction was excellent and the CGI exceeded all my expectations, while the acting was very good, too.

I can understand people not liking it, but so much hatred makes me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry...
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 09.11.2003 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
One of the inherent problems with CGI is that the effects are clearly never sharing space with the actors or sets, which, for me, becomes instantly distracting. At least models and guys in Wookie costumes shared "real" space with the "real" action.


Okay, okay, I'm quoting myself. But that post was rather old, and this new post somewhat relates.

I was reading iMDB, and came across this piece of news: Apparently producer Frank Marshall plans to shun CGI for Indy 4, saying ""We didn't have computer effects in those days, we couldn't easily erase things and I think one of the unfortunate by-products of the computer age is that it makes filmmakers lazy. You become more creative when you have to hide ramps with a tree rather than erase it later as you can today. In Raiders Of The Lost Ark, that's a real ball rolling behind him so Harrison really is in some danger running in front of that; these are real situations and that adds to the excitement and the creative energy on the set. "

I must admit, I agree with every word. My eyes often glaze over during CGI spectacles--the technical achievement just doesn't have much to do with my interest in cinema and its human possibilities. One of the things I valued about Italian Job was its lack of CGI; it's ironic that our technical "advances" have only made us appreciate the old-fashioned ways of doing things.

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.11.2003 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, more or less, in regards to CGI used for action sequences, with the exception of the Matrix movies and some others. But what about movies like Jurassic Park, or The Lord of the Rings? Would costumes and stop-motion animation really have been preferable in creating the dinosaurs, or Golum and the Ents? (What about the little double-headed salamander in eXistenZ? Wink ) Personally, I don't think so. I think CGI gets a bad rap because of lazy filmmakers who use the process poorly. But when it's done well it's just as legitimate as any other special effect technique.
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Last edited by the night watchman on 09.15.2003 1:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.15.2003 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To read my review of Hulk, why not click right here... or simply read on:

When I heard that Ang Lee would be directing the movie adaptation of Hulk, I was not the least bit skeptical about this. Having been enthralled by his previous movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, pull it off I knew he could, but has he really? The answer is simple: indeed he has. Ang Lee has crafted a complete tour de force, which has enough drama, action and visual effects in order to satisfy hungry comic book nerds, geeks, fans and general moviegoers alike. It might not be the “masterpiece” some were hoping it to be (although it ain’t too far), but, let’s be honest here, this could’ve turned out a mess had it been done incorrectly. The movie remains faithful to its source and also serves as a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, King Kong and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde simultaneously, all these in the same package. Okay, so I didn’t grow up reading the comic books and very seldom watched the Hulk television series with Lou Ferrigno or the animated ones, but one thing is clear: I loved the movie, I loved every single minute of it.

After a gripping preamble to the movie (which contains one of the most extraordinary credit sequences I’ve ever seen), we’re introduced to Bruce Banner, a young science researcher who, after the apparent death of his parents, has adopted the surname “Krensler”. While working on an experiment with a fellow scientist and his past girlfriend, Betty Ross, something goes wrong and Bruce is exposed to Gamma rays. Surprisingly, and to the astonishment of his ex, he isn’t killed and feels “better than ever”. However, from that moment on, every time he gets angry he suddenly turns into Hulk, a huge green creature that causes mayhem and destruction. Not knowing the motive for his darker alter ego, he will have to delve into the secrets of his past to discover the real truth, while the US Army, led by Betty’s father, is committed on trapping Hulk, as he supposes a danger to society.

Lee takes time and care in both presenting and developing the characters, showing us their feelings and emotions with incredible ease and confidence. This is of course an excellent thing, as character depth and development is one of the most crucial things that are missing from nowadays’ films and it seems as though Lee is not afraid of doing it. The acting is fine and adequate, with Eric Bana providing a subtle performance in the lead role. Connelly is no exception and gives an equally good performance, and the rest of the cast, Nick Nolte included, is solid, too. The story begins to unfold slowly yet Lee makes sure that the audience’s interest is kept high throughout the whole running time; never did I feel as if it left me unengaged.

Visually, the film is a sensation. Making clever use of the split-screen technique, which enables the audience to see the same action from different perspectives or two images occurring simultaneously but in different places, Lee gives the film an even stronger comic book feel. Some might argue that this is confusing and might get somewhat abusive, but I had absolutely no problems with it. Sure, it doesn’t advance or improve the story in any way at all, but it doesn’t slow it down or make it worse, either. The special effects, created by George Lucas’s company, ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) are mesmerizing and totally credible, way more amazing than what I expected. The computer generated Hulk is utterly realistic and its movements varied, and the action sequences are very well executed, the helicopter scenes being standouts. Few people would have thought that things like these could be accomplished and there’s no denying that the visual style of the film is as breathtaking as it is its own.

However, though minor, there are some slightly negative things in the movie. The movie feels somewhat overlong and, like its title character, it sometimes seems as if it suffers from an identity crisis, as if it didn’t really know what it was. The film balances on psychological drama and action, yet it is never self-centered, it doesn’t know what and where its real place is. It might be noticeable that the movie often takes itself too seriously, and being a comic book adaptation, this ends up being harmful to it. Hence the fact that Ang Lee once described it as a sort of “Greek tragedy”.

Despite its flaws, one has to be sincere and admit that the film is sheer spectacle. Sure, it’s no perfect but meticulously, confidently, masterfully, Ang Lee has created a truly brilliant film with a heart and a soul, a film with amazing special effects and a convincing story that surpasses all expectations and does even more. On the whole, Hulk is one of the best pictures of what we’ve seen so far this year and is possibly the best comic book adaptation to date. Terrific, hypnotic, magnificent, Hulk is an immense movie, a must see for any comic book lover.

B+ (****/*****)

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