Monday, June 16, 2008

The Incredible Hulk, or How yeah it smashes, but is it a hit?

The Incredible Hulk
Dir. Louis Leterrier
Starring: Ed Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth and William Hurt

First off I should say I'm in the minority when it comes to Ang Lee's 2003's Hulk. Cause I liked it. Sure, there was not 'enough' smashing, but that was okay with me. I might also be biased cause I liked its cast so much: Eric Bana, Jennier Connelly (of married to Paul Bettany fame!) and Josh Lucas (!) - how can you go wrong with them?  But of course, the movie gods couldn't be happy with a superhero flick that didn't appeal to the 13 year old male demographic (who couldn't have cared less about Lee's Oedipal storyline, and would have liked more 'smashin' y'kno?') and what they came up with was Ed Norton's The Incredible Hulk. Which is good, it's just... too 'smashy smashy' with (un)healthy doses of brooding and being emo (see poster).

4 Things I would have Smashed right out of this movie!

1. Ed Norton's brooding portrayal of Bruce Banner. We get it, you're tormented. We know, it's hard being green. But do we need so many shots/scenes of you looking down, with a furrowed brow at all times? At one point, even the Hulk broods and shakes his head before continuing his fight with the Abomination.
2. Betty's boyfriend. What does it add to the storyline? Other than, you know, a plot device that allows Betty and Bruce to be found easily by her dad. [Though I did enjoy Hurt's delivery of "Where does she find these guys?" after the BF lectures him on his parental skills]
3. Implausible scenes like: "Hello random (white) stranger who's wearing nothing but some torn oversized pants in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle, come on in and I'll drive you to the nearest town." (wtf?)
4. The endless 'pants' jokes. We get it, you go green and your pants rip. Hah-larious. Oh, what's that Ed, you don't want the purple pants that I got for you to give a nod to the original Hulk character design? Okay. It's funny either way, cause we're so meta.

4 Things I found Smashing in this movie!

1. Tim Roth as the psychopath Emil Blonsky. He plays Emil as a desperate, crazy bitch without ever overdoing it. The scene on the campus when he asks the Hulk "Is that all you got?" and gets a kick that sends him flying got the strongest response from the audience in the entire movie. 
2. The CGI. The Hulk looked very 'realistic' (if you look hard in his first appearance, you can see he has a stubble!) and the fighting scenes (especially the ones in NYC) were very impressive, if a bit too long. Moment I loved: when he grabbed a cop car and made himself two 'fighting gloves.' 
3. The Robert D. cameo. It was sort of a cop out that it was put BEFORE the credits (doesn't anyone reward people who stay through to the end of 'em anymore?) since it ruins Norton's meditating smirk partnered with his greeney look as the last shot in the movie, but seeing Robert made me wanna watch Iron Man all over again.
4. The Bourne-like chase sequence in Brazil and the initial Hulk-encounter. It's the only time the film works the 'less is more' approach, refusing us a clear look at the big green guy for a long time, and instead creating a sense of chaos cause no one knows what's happening. 

Yes, you've heard right: The Incredible Hulk is good, but not Iron Man good. And not Hulk (2003) good either. Now, to wonder what Norton's "final cut" looks like. B+

1 comment:

Vance said...

OH someone else who liked the original Ang Lee version! No wonder I keep reading your blog!

I actually thought Hulk (Lee's) was pretty good. Like an indie drama that happened to have a big green blob at the end.