Tuesday, June 10, 2008

DNfromMN - Movie Review - Incredible Hulk

Release Date: 6/13/08

The Story: On the run for 5 years after a biological experiment gone wrong, General Ross (William Hurt) has finally tracked down Bruce Banner (Edward Norton). Banner’s spent the last 5 years working via 1980s style internet chat with an anonymous “Mr. Blue” to find a cure for hulking out (“You don’t want to see me when I’m angry.”). Ross’s daughter and Banner’s former girlfriend Betty (Liv Tyler) attempts to help Banner when she can. Gen. Ross has recruited Blodsky (Tim Roth), a career soldier, who becomes obsessed with tracking down the Hulk.

I had the same feeling watching this movie as I did watching Kung-Fu Panda. I’d seen it all before. It’s okay, but there’s nothing about it that I would say was remarkable (other than cameos by Stan Lee, Lou Ferrigno, and Robert Downey, Jr.). This was a combination of the recent Spiderman movies and every version of King Kong (even down to some of the scenes—the cave scene in particular). The Hulk isn’t supposed to be King Kong, the misunderstood and captured creature. It’s the other way around; it’s supposed to be about a man with an anger management problem, who is slave to a creature.

However good an actor Ed Norton can be, there’s nothing special about his role. This is not Iron Man, the far superior 2008 Marvel Comics blockbuster. I will say that they’ve done a better job of capturing the CGI essence of Ed Norton, and the 2008 Hulk is more lifelike than the Ang Lee/Eric Bana version; but it’s still CGI.

I prefer Sam Elliott and Jennifer Connelly in the Ross family roles to Hurt and Tyler. It could also have been a matter of the writing as William Hurt is one of my favorites at playing evil (see A History of Violence and Mr. Brooks for some recent malice). Tim Roth is another one of my favorites, and I was hoping he’d have more to do than gnaw on scenery (particularly since I fell in love with him again recently after seeing one of my favorite thinking movies of last year Youth Without Youth).

Why can’t they make a Hulk movie well? The Lee/Bana version was similarly lackluster. I have such fond memories of the old Ferrigno Hulk. It’s campy and dated by today’s standards, but it had a pulse. Maybe they had the time to develop the relationships between the characters over the course of multiple episodes, which they can’t seem to do in the film versions. Maybe it’s because the Hulk TV series was more about the story than the action set pieces. Or maybe, it’s because they had a human hulk.

What it’s Worth: $6.00. It’s nothing special, but if you spent a hot summer afternoon in an air-conditioned theater you wouldn’t be overly disappointed. It probably is better seen on the big screen due to some of the action pieces, but it’s not a movie people will be telling their friends that they have to go see. If you’re on a budget, I’d give a much stronger recommendation to see Iron Man.

What else opens this weekend:
The Happening – M. Night Shyamalan’s next crapsterpiece (per the movie buzz and lack of critics/pre-screenings). Honestly, I have to say I liked the idea of it, until I saw the red-band trailer, which tells you what the “3rd stage” of the happening is (only hinted at in the tv spots). It’s something that hurts me emotionally. I will probably see it, but I’m predisposed to not liking it.


Maja With a J said...

We bought a Wii yesterday. My husband got the Hulk game for it. He was up smashing and trashing until very late last night. Pretty sure he thinks he's the Hulk.

On a different note, I was terrified of that TV show as a kid.

MnGddess said...

DN -

I love your reviews. I read them before I attempt to watch the movies free online. Keep up the good work..


Anonymous said...

Their is something about Ed Norton that I don't like probably cause he gives the impression of a stuck up. The only thing I can say is since he comes out I will not go see the movie and from the previews it doesn't seem to impress me.

The Happening - I was really hoping that M. Shyamalan would do a better job from the other (flop) movies he has made so far. The exception is Sixth Sense that was his one and only good movie. Not sure if I will see The Happening since it is getting very bad reviews and the movie is not even out.

Anonymous said...

cyn - actually my tenure as a movie reviewer will come to a close in July.

I'll be moving, and they don't do preview screenings anywhere near where I'm living.

moira said...

I'm bummed to hear you'll be ending your run as CDAN reviewer, dnfrmmn! I also love your reviews, you make sense and have good taste. You will be missed!

Winston Ono said...

Oh no! Sorry to hear your reviews will coming to an end. Good luck with the move!

Unknown said...

that link to the 'the happening' preview is invalid.


brendalove@gmail.com said...

dn - If you'll keep reviewing, we'll wait to see the movie till you review it.

The only thing you neglected with this review is the clothes-ripping factor. How many outfits got ripped and did the leftovers fit reasonably tight after he ripped them?

Anonymous said...

mia: here's the Happening red band trailer

The link somehow got a blogger.com attached to it in the post.

brenda - I'm moving to a small rural town, the movie theater there is very tiny and gets things 2 weeks after they open. No point reviewing something that you can read a ton of reviews elsewhere. Thanks for the sentiment though.

And the clothes ripping factor:
1) shirtless scene with hot Brazilian yoga teacher who does weird things with his stomach muscles, and shirtless Ed Norton approx 2 minutes.
2) after first hulk out, Ed shirtless for approx 5 minutes as he wanders the jungle.
3) wearing only a towel after taking a shower followed by almost-sex scene w/ Liv Tyler
4) Shirtless Tim Roth as he undergoes an experiment; followed by shirtless Tim Roth with spray-on abs (really quite obvious they're fake)

That's all I remember.


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