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HULK

My earliest memories of The Hulk are probably from the old comics, but actually what stands out more is the action figure from what I believe was Mego toys. I remember that my cousins and I had one, but one of them had a broken off arm, so we used a bolt to reconnect it. It always bothered me that that Hulk figure had a big flash of silver in his arm, because dammit, he should be all green.
Then of course came the TV show, which I never really liked. I mean, I liked the pilot episode, because there in all his green glory was a live action Hulk. Sure he had weird hair, but dammit, Hulk was on TV!
But then I realized the show was an adult drama, with nary a super-villain to be found.
Damn, growing up was hard to do.

Eventually I left comic books and toys…only to get older, and thanks to 1989’s Batman, jump back into comics and toys with an unabashed glee and wonder which basically led to addiction. And yes, among the many, many, MANY comics I bought on a weekly basis, was The Incredible Hulk. A lot had changed since our first encounters. This Hulk, as written by genius comic book scribe Peter David, was a cool amalgam of both brainy Bruce Banner, and the rampaging Green Goliath. He was still huge and green (occasionally gray, actually), but he spoke intelligently. No “Hulk Smash!” here.

A few years back, I had the pleasure of seeing CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, an amazing spectacle of a film by director Ang Lee. I didn’t know much of Lee, but he had introduced me to Kate Winslet in Sense & Sensibility, which despite my rampant heterosexuality, I enjoyed a lot. And he had also been the first to show me a more grown up Christina Ricci in his film The Ice Storm. So obviously, I owe the man my thanks and respect. When the rumors started, and his name was mentioned as a possible director for a big budget Hulk feature, my heart soared. The man makes quality films, and now he was gonna make a Hulk flick.
Let the anxious waiting begin!

Well, as hyped as I was for this movie to finally start, I was bound to be disappointed.
And I was.
It’s definitely flawed.
And it’s kinda trippy, and kinda weird.
But you know what?
It’s fucking amazing!

“Puny humans” are gonna bitch. They’re gonna say that "Hulk" looks fake.
What these people don’t realize is the amazing technological achievement they are witnessing when the green guy’s on screen. It’s mind blowing.
The emotion conveyed in this creature…in his face. In his actions and motions.
Amazing.

And the acting…
Very nice.
Jennifer Connelly follows up her Oscar winning role in A BEAUTIFUL MIND with a great performance. She’s more than just the romantic interest here, and her expressions of awe and compassion are perfect.
I’m glad she was in this movie, because she added a sense of class and subtlety.

Nick Nolte is pretty over the top as David Banner…hmmm, name sounds familiar.
Still, I have to admit that he does a pretty good job, though ultimately my disappointment with the flick revolves mostly around him and his character…

The there’s Eric Bana.
When Australian Hugh Jackman was cast as Wolverine in X-MEN, I was like, "who is this guy?!?". Then I saw him in the film, and he stole the show. Fellow Australian Eric Bana doesn’t steal the show here. He can’t. I mean, come on, there’s a seven foot green guy in the flick…no human can compete. BUT, Bana does a pretty good job here as Bruce Banner…especially when he’s angry. I liked him when he was angry!
Really, he has a good grasp of the intensity needed for the role. And the kind of just one step away from insanity glare that some body living that character’s life must have…
I dunno if he’ll become a household name, but I say kudos for a job well done.

Three writers are credited with the screenplay for Hulk, James Shamus , who wrote the story, John Turman, and Michael France. These gents get a little trippy for my taste at times, but overall, they did a great job of finding the essence of the Hulk character. But I feel that most of the credit goes to Ang Lee. It was his vision. There are some amazing visuals in this movie. Technical, obviously, but also viscerally. Amazing technical artists came up with the special effects, but Ang Lee told them where to put them, and how they should look, and he deserves all the acclaim he’s been getting, and hopefully will continue to get. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets an Oscar nod, but since Peter Jackson got snubbed last year, who knows in fickle Hollywood.

I can’t really say how close to the comic book this movie comes. I can say it’s not too much like the TV show, but it is in many ways. I can’t even say it’s all that great of a movie, in general terms. But Hulk definitely achieves something special. I need to see it again, and possibly again after that to truly take it all in, but I am definitely impressed.

A+

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