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Movie Review: "Hulk" (2003)
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.
"Hulk" is a film project that was in development hell for nearly an entire decade before it was finalized and released in Summer of 2003. Based on the popular Marvel comic book character of the same name, "Hulk" is the story of Bruce Banner, a scientific researcher who becomes accidentally exposed to nanomeds and gamma radiation that transforms him into a humongous green creature with immense strength.
"Hulk" presents with the origins story of the titular character, beginning with his father, David Banner, who was also a scientist attempting to screw around with human DNA in an attempt to improve it. When Lt. Colonel 'Thunderbolt' Ross learns of these experiments, he shuts it down, resulting in David's backlash that causes the rupture of the gamma reactor. However, the testing he did on himself passed on to his son, aiding in his transformation.
Ross pursues Bruce, fueled the hatred for his father, and doesn't like the fact that his daughter Betty happens to be one of his scientific colleagues. Aiding him is Major Talbot, who happens to be interested in the nanomeds which Bruce was working on before his transformation. What follows is a mish-mash of cartoony action. Was I watching a live action film adaptation of the Hulk or was this just another 'Toy Story' sequel?
The one good thing I can say about "Hulk" is that the performances are done very well. Ang Lee really had a great cast to work with. There's Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Josh Lucas, heck even Nick Nolte was there (and he ate up every scene he was in). It seemed as if Ang Lee had all the right ingredients to work with, including a big budget and over ten plus years of anticipation. Oh, what could have been...
Paging Dr. Christopher Nolan, please report to the Hollywood Emergency Room. Patient is a green male, very large build, suffering from a sudden onset of Schmaucher's Disease.
The big problem with Ang Lee's "Hulk" is that it's overly flashy, over-the-top, and the editing just plain out sucks. I could have sworn Joel Schmaucher made this movie because when I went to visit "Hulk" at the address I was given, the movie was having dinner with another turd called "Batman & Robin."
What they tried to do here in the editing room is something I like to refer to as 'comic book editing'. For instance, in some scenes, the screen is split into four shots displaying all-at-once, giving us multiple points of view within that one scene. The end result is just distracting. It may work in a comic book where you would have time to read and examine what's taking place, but in a movie, it's a different story.
The action alone is done in absurd fast-paced fashion. I can easily picture some nerdy guy with glasses editing this on his computer at home, his palms sweaty and ten empty cans of Red Bull are littered about on his desk. That's the impression I got from the editing of "Hulk."
The Dark Side of Shrek
You would think Hollywood would have learned their lesson after Jar Jar Binks, but no...
"Hulk" lives on an overuse of CGI graphics, from the action scenes right down to the character himself. Just by looking at the film's poster alone, it's not that far-fetched to assume that this movie just may be an animated film. Was it really necessary to CGI-up the Hulk character? It's not like the Hulk is some giant monster like Godzilla or King Kong. The TV show from the '70s/'80s, "The Incredible Hulk", and the TV movies that followed featured a real actor in the title role.
The Hulk from the TV show was a hundred times more believable to look at than anything in Ang Lee's "Hulk" or the 2008 remake combined. In fact, speaking of "Batman & Robin", the physique of Bane from that movie could have easily passed for a visually realistic film version of the Hulk.
When looking at the Hulk in this film, the only impression that I get is that Shrek beat up his wife, got divorced, then beefed himself up at the gym. He's basically the darker side of Shrek here when you think about it. With all the state of the art special effects we have now, they decided to simply animate the freaken Hulk character. Laziness is just as bad as crack itself.
Remedies for "Hulk"
- Hiring someone who's had a little less caffeine to handle the editing job.
- Making the Hulk look as realistic as possible and not like a cartoon freak.
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