Friday, June 13, 2008

The Incredible Hulk (6.13.2008)

Director: Louis Leterrier
Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt
Co-Starring: Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell
Watch for: Stan Lee, Lou Ferrigno, Robert Downey Jr.
Editor(s): Rick Shaine, John Wright
Would I buy it: Hoping for an extended cut, but yes.

what Ang Lee's Hulk would've been like if you removed the entire storyline regarding Bruce Banner's upbringing, and shortened the origin to be contained within the opening credits, and you'll roughly have the same plot as The Incredible Hulk.
While this is surely a summer action movie, with some very impressive visuals and a style that's very easy to get into, I found myself lacking any sort of pull for any of the characters. I didn't really learn anything about them that the two-minute trailer didn't already tell me.
Banner is the Hulk, and wants to cure himself of it. Betty Ross is the girlfriend, who is ready to do anything to help him. Her father is the general who is after the Hulk, seeking to regain military property, and Tim Roth is an aging soldier, who after learning of the Hulk's powers, is unwilling to allow himself to remain as another normal person.
And that's about it. In the opening credits we see a nice twist, in that Hulk severely injured Betty during his first transformation, and though we don't realize this until later, she has never actually seen what he's like during the change. They really didn't tell us that at all, until we get a line from General Ross to the effect of "Now she'll see him". I was like "Oh, wait. She hasn't yet? Weird."
Tyler and Norton's interaction throughout the movie is awkward at best. While their characters have been apart for a while, if they were anything like my friends from my hometown, no matter how long we spend apart, when we meet back up again we always fall right into the same familiar groove. I'm not sure what was missing here, but I didn't feel any sort of strong emotion from either side.
When they start leading into "the sex scene", I basically thought to myself "Well, this is completely necessary." They ended it with a humorous note though, rather than taking it too seriously, so I suppose that makes up for it.

Hulk himself does look pretty good. I think the CGI was better in the last film, which may be attributed to its larger budget, but I do like the more lean, grittier styling of the character. There were some amazing close-ups of him, not even necessarily of his face (i.e. when we see his massive arm sitting next to Betty in the cave), that really sold it for me.
I think I ruined some of the movie with expectations, as I thought I had read somewhere that the Hulk/Abomination fight was like twenty minutes long. I don't think it was even five. It was cool, nice seeing these two brutes pounding on each other, but I really wanted more action out of this movie.
They did chop out a few shots from the trailers that looked kinda rushed, and that makes me wonder if maybe those shots were just for the trailers since they easily show the versions in the film (like what Hulk does to Blonsky at the end of their second encounter, or Banner's fall from the helicopter).

The BIG thing I was looking forward to with Hulk was the Marvel tie-in. While
Iron Man pushed the limits by bringing in Nick Fury, that's a character who doesn't currently have a running series. It's a nod to the universe, but not something previously established. Right before the credits, we get a scene with Tony Stark, as played by Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man.
I was so. Freaking. Happy. It's not even a big important scene, but the simple fact that the Marvel universe is finally tying into itself in the film world is a very big step for comic movies everywhere. I have high hopes for where they're going with this. In the opening credits, the "Stark Industries" as well as S.H.I.E.L.D. logos appeared over tech screens showcasing blueprints, among other things. Very nice.

The Incredible Hulk did reference a lot of it's own history as well. Edward Norton has a brief scene with Lou Ferrigno (who played the Hulk when he'd transformed in the old TV show), where they have a cute exchange with something along the lines of "You're the man." Then there was a moment featuring a nod to the TV show's old theme as well. What I didn't realize until today when I looked it up on IMDB is that Betty Ross' boyfriend in the movie is 'Dr. Samson'.
Doc Samson is a supporting character in the Hulk storylines, I think sometimes helping him as well as fighting against him. This is probably equivalent to featuring Dr. Connors in the Spider-Man films. You just
know they'll get to the Lizard later.
I was looking forward to a Hulk film with the Leader, but I believe that a storyline could easily feature the both of them if they wanted.
EDIT: Wow, I totally missed it. I was reading Wikipedia, and going from topic to topic, as it's done there. Through a line of Marvel topics, I found the Leader's page... and I totally forgot the moment with Samuel Stearns, Mr. Blue, being infected with Banner's blood. His head swells.
Well, given that I only have a basic understanding of the Leader, I didn't realize Samuel Stearns was his real name.
Excellent. I can't believe they just slipped two of Hulk's future villains into this movie. Excellent work, guys.

So, basically the things I like about this film are the action, though it could have had more, the style in which it was presented, and the Marvel universe tie-ins.
What I want out of it is more story. What they showed us was interesting, but it wasn't really anything along the lines of character development. It was more like watching them move through a situation.
From reading the net, I learned that the "Edward Norton cut" of the movie was close to three hours, but his much-rumored dispute with the filmmakers lose out, and they chopped it down to a much more managable two hours.
There were several shots and even scenes from the trailers that were not present in the final screening. I think that releasing an extended cut to show us exactly what was missing would be a very wise decision.

My guess is that this is where all of my character development went.
Oh, and before I forget, one of my absolute favorite things about Hulk was his voice. Lou Ferrigno also supplied that again for this movie. In
Hulk we only hear him speak a couple times, "Puny human", and "Take it all!!". While there aren't many more lines in The Incredible Hulk, I have to say that the first time he speaks just plain gave me chills.

"Leave me alone."

No way, Hulk. You're coming back for more.


Patrick Roberts said...

this new Hulk is a lot more fun than the first one with Eric Bana... plus Ed Norton is in his element, doing the "split personality" role

*_*Antoine*_* said...

Haven't seen any new movies lately?