Hulk, Dir: Ang Lee - Cert: 12A
comic strip favourite brought to life in the story of when a geneticist's
experimental accident curses him with the tendency to become a powerful
giant green brute under emotional stress and bears the tagline 'The inner
beast will be released'.
Before the main feature, why not catch the trailers;
Some readers may recall the television series The Incredible Hulk from
the late 70s which saw scientist David Banner (Bill Bixby), on the
run whilst searching for a cure to a freak accident which causes a transformation
into a large green monster (Lou Ferringo) when under great emotional stress.
Well apparently in the 21st century theres apparently
nothing Incredible about The Hulk if you go by the title,
however theres the rub. For a big screen adaptation of a Marvel
comic this is some very good entertainment, combining a great cast with
a decent screenplay and superb visual imagery throughout, reminiscent
of those Steve McQueen classics Bullitt and The Thomas Crown Affair.
The opening titles comprising of snippets of a scientists notes along
with glimpses of his experiments, a combination of slick photography blended
into a comic book style of framing, leads into the setting of the story
before a leap 30 years into the future and present day San Francisco.
Bruce Banner (Eric Bana Chopper, Blackhawk Down) is a research
scientist, assisted by his very recently ex-girlfriend Betty Ross (double
Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly), who in an effort to save a colleague,
suffers exposure to both gamma radiation and biological agents. This little
mishap which should leave him dead, in fact leave him feeling better
than fine. albeit with a few after effects including blackouts and
the surfacing of repressed childhood memories. To some actors this may
have provided problems of credibility however Bana gives a very creditable
performance, without slipping into over indulgence of dramatics. He has
the perfect foil in Connelly who imbues her character, also with repressed
childhood issues of her own, with a believable level of concern and distress
at what is befalling her former partner.
The re-appearance of his father (Nick Nolte), along with the military
interest in his work, generates the stress which leads to the first appearance
of Mr. Green (baring a striking resemblance to Meat Loaf), a lab trashing
effects fest and a demonstration of the amazing durability of American
clothing materials! Following the labs destruction our hero is confined
to his home by the military, in the guise of Bettys estranged father
General Ross (Sam Elliott We Were Soldiers Once) and obnoxious
former aide Glenn Talbot (Josh Lucas).
During the ensuing sub-plots and adventures, centred around Talbots
attempts to make his name from Banners research and Banners attempts to
avoid him and save Betty from various accidents, the story cracks along
at an above average rate. Some periods between Green Giant Mayhem
may prove too long for younger viewers to endure, however the story should
keep the older viewer happily entertained up to the set piece finale with
some nice touches of humour, along with a very Romeo and Juliet
like sub theme.
I had feared, from viewing the trailers, that the scenes featuring Hulk
would scream Special Effects on the large screen but I was
pleasantly surprised at the degree of reality the 15ft green man had.
Only a couple of his daylight exploits looked computerised, and they were
insufficient to detract from the overall quality.
A couple of questions remained unanswered by the end of the film. Mainly
What does it take to make people realise shooting at an angry green
man is not a good idea it only makes him more annoyed and
therefore bigger. But perhaps more importantly where can I get
a pair of those super tough, abrasion/bullet/water proof jeans? Im
sure Old Navy didnt have them in when I last looked!
Perhaps a little long for the younger viewers at just over two and a quarter
hours, certainly explosive at times, thoughtful at others and very stylish
visually throughout, I for one was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly
enjoyed it. 8/10
As they say there are 'two sides to every story' - so click
here for an opposing view.