Let me start by saying that when I
went to see this movie I was not as excited about seeing it as I have
been about other movies like X2 or The Two Towers. I was not expecting
great things from this movie and simply went to be entertained with a
story and some cool fighting. Once my mind was set on “just watch the
movie” I was not disappointed.
Following in the tradition of great
opening sequences, this opens up with the Marvel style (like X men and
Spider-Man) where we are magically flown through a never-ending
labyrinth of computer generated genomes and science stuff. Yea, that
was cool the first time I saw it. It seemed to take an oddly long time
to get through the opening credits because they decided to tell some
back-story here reminiscent of the music video at the beginning of James
Bond: Die Another Day. So when we actually start the movie we already
know something of some key characters i.e. Bruce’s father. Basically
he’s a scientist working for the US government and of course he’s some
genius who is way ahead of his time doing experimental work on animals.
From here we spend the next 30 minutes
getting to know the characters Bruce Krandler (or whatever they decided
to use to screw it up but later learns his real sur name is Banner.) and
Betty Ross. We learn before even seeing Betty that she and Bruce have
broken up recently. When we finally meet her it’s as if the two of them
are still together. It’s a very fairy tale break up of “I still want to
be best friends and work with you spending a lot of time together…but
not in that way.” I got absolutely NO feeling that they are sad
about the breakup.
During these agonizing 30 minutes we
go through some drawn-out work that they are involved in. This is shown
to us as we look at some super high-tech equipment that only NASA should
have mixed with a nice attempt at some made-up science lingo all of
which is run by 3 people. Wow! These are the 3 smartest people in the
universe. After you get past these little hurdles you can sit back and
enjoy some real story. So far the movie has only told us minor details
of what they are using gamma radiation for. Some kind of super healing
A malfunction happens during a minor
updating of our “NASA machine” here (sarcasm people) and the
insignificant character (i.e. Star Trek red shirt guy) gets in trouble.
Gamma radiation is about to turn him into a puddle of lizard spit in
about 15 seconds but he freaks out and doesn’t know what to do. Bruce
jumps in the way of the gammas to save his life. BANG! Hulk. Well,
not really but its all that’s needed to get him going later. This is a
much different version than the comic version. This is more technical
and story involved from the comic version.
Here’s where the acting moves to the
back seat. Betty is supposed to be torn up inside because Bruce was
supposed to die during his heroics. For someone who was put through the
trauma of watching a loved one die in front of you (as he was
supposed to do) she expresses only a mild to moderate display of
emotion. Or maybe I just missed something. The acting should have
convinced me either way.
There are also a lot of repressed
memories that are key to the story, I felt, that didn’t come up unit
late in the show.
The acting was such that I never
really felt any kind of connection between any of the characters at
all. Even between Betty Ross and Bruce Banner. Everyone just seemed so
distant and bored with their lines. All except General Ross (Betty’s
father) who seemed to be in rage mode 24-7. He would get mad at almost
nothing…like if his pen ran out of ink he would fly off the handle and
start raging all over the place. Betty does break down at one point in
which I was very impressed with her acting.
I also found that director Ang Lee’s
choice of music throughout was not at all in sync with the theme of The
Hulk. If I closed my eyes I could have been watching Crouching Tiger
Then we come to Bruce’s dad. Issues!
That’s all that can be said about him. I have never liked Nick Nolte
and his performance here did not change my opinion of him. I thought he
did a good job at being odd and screwed up which may or may not have
been “acting”. But once you see him in this roll its hard to think of
who else might have done a better job.
I enjoyed watching the Hulk fighting
against the dogs more so than the military. I found the fights with the
military lacking a sense of a real battle. His first encounter was with
4 tanks in the middle of the dessert. OK. Why send only 4 tanks to
fight him? Where did they come from? I would not have sent tanks to
him at all. They were watching the Hulk on radar running all over the
place jumping miles in a single leap. How are 4 tanks going to keep him
at bay? He handled the tanks with great ease. They only really beefed
up the military once they are all out of ideas outside of nuking him out
of existence. They send a few helicopters at him this time and try
their best to put him down. Of course they underestimate the Hulk’s
abilities but it was a better more realistic idea of what would happen.
I found the CG here a little thin on believability. I would like to
talk to a real military helicopter pilot to see if they can fly in a
manner in which the movie suggests in this sequence.
I enjoyed the cinematography. It felt
like I was watching a comic book at several times. The idea of showing
multiple frames (like the Fox hit TV series 24) was great!
I loved to watch the Hulk totally
destroy stuff. I especially loved the fight with the dogs. It was
great to see the big guy trashing stuff like I have always seen it in my
head all these years. It was great when a tank fired a round at him
from not even 50 yards and all he does is rub his chest like he just has
heartburn and commence to obliterate the tank. There are numerous
events that I really enjoyed.
Some people get stuck on the fact that
the Hulk was CG (computer generated) and that it looks CG. DUH! It was
CG! I thought it looked great for what it was. I think CG has a long
way to go before it looks indistinguishable from the real thing. I
loved watching him jump from place to place leaving gaps of several
miles in his wake. I heard a guy at the office talking about his
dislike of this fact about the Hulk but I don’t think he really is a
follower of the comic. Nor does he have a complete comprehension of his
abilities as most people don’t.
Watching this movie was reminiscent of
watching X-Men. It was way too slow. Even the dialog was slow. I
found myself on the edge of my seat thinking “Come ON! Get going! I
got that much already! I can grasp the concept of what you want me to
think! Move on with the story!” Everything seemed to be in slow
motion. This was very frustrating for me. After watching Spider-Man we
can see that Marvel is able to produce great movies with the concept of
introducing several main characters without slowing it down. The
original Batman movie was the same way in that you were given the back
story to 2 main characters and still had plenty of story and action to
keep you going.
Overall I think it was a fun movie to
watch. There are some movies that when you watch them you think to
yourself “Man! I need to see that again to get it all.” This is not
the case with The Hulk. I pretty much got it all the first time around
but that does not decrease the amount of pleasure. ;-)
I will, of course, buy this movie when
it comes out. Overall, I enjoyed watching it and would like to see it
again if I have nothing better to do or am bored with all the other
movies I currently own. It made for an entertaining 2 and-a-half hours.