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    The Hulk

    Critic: Aaron

    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 bio-technology.

    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 Hidden Dragon.

    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.