Movie Review of the Week

--Review by Riposte101 @ 6/25/03 00:01 PST.

The Hulk

Director Ang Lee has demonstrated his command over the medium of film unfailingly over the years. He has helmed such diverse faire as Sense and Sensibility and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. He holds an elite place among his peers in that he has yet to take a misstep in his filmmaking career. The only other living director that comes to mind is Ridley Scott. However, with The Hulk, all the signs indicated that his great run of films would end here. The film ran overdue, the budget ballooned out of control and negative buzz for the film ran rampant as a prerelease copy of the movie was leaked to the public. Those on the internet, having watched the unpolished cut and believing it to be the finished product are in for quite a surprise.

Taking a line from KenshiroKing's the Hulk video game review. HULK SPEND!!!! After a reported 150 million dollars, the Hulk looks pretty damn good. Water moves around our green hero realistically and he interacts with the environment seamlessly.

Lee, defty avoids all the pitfalls that come along with a film of this magnitude and a movie based on this subject matter. Only a few years ago, I can remember going into the X-Men movie fearing that Bryan Singer would single-handedly ruin Marvel’s premiere ensemble franchise, but I was proven wrong. While Bryan Singer made a respectable film, Ang Lee takes the next step and succeeds in creating a work of art. This shows how far comic book to film adaptations have progressed since the days just before the X-Men movie release.

The movie captures the true essence of who and what the Hulk is. In lesser hands, Joel Schumacher comes to mind, the film could have easily gone down the “HULK SMASH!!!” route, but this film rises above a mere summer popcorn actioner and presents the audience with moral issues and Freudian dilemmas. The entire cast performed admirably especially Nick Nolte’s surprising turn as Bruce Banner’s (Eric Banna) tortured father. However, the real star of the film is Tim Squyres, the film’s editor. The screen transformed into pages of a comic book as the action took place on multiple frames. This is a genius story telling device that kept my attention riveted. The transitions were inventive and arrestingly visual. The introductory credit sequence alone is worth the price of admission. (I have never been a fan of the wipe cut, but here it was utilized with such style that I couldn’t help but be impressed by them. Take some notes Mr. Lucas.)

The score composed by Danny Elfman was on occasion moving and reminiscent of Hans Zimmers’ score for Black Hawk Down.

The film is not without a few faults. General Thaddeus Ross (Sam Elliot) subdues Bruce Banner/the Hulk no less then three times in the film and then repeatedly lets the Hulk get away from him to start another rampage. A turret on a tank cannot support the weight of said tank being spun around a half-dozen times and then being thrown for a half mile. A lake all of five feet deep cannot turn into a hundred feet chasm filled to the brim with water in the space of one cut. Glenn Talbot’s (Josh Lucas) death was comical to a fault.

Film Grade Formula

Special Effects: *
Acting: 1/2*
Jennifer Connelly (eye candy quotient) 1/2*
Editing: *
Ang Lee: *
Inconsistancies: - 1/2*

Final Score: ***1/2 out of a scale of ****.

Question: So why don't Bruce Banner's trademark purple pants explode off his body when he becomes the Hulk?
Answered by Paul Horn: Hulk's pants must be made of a special spandex/hemp blend. Spandex has the ability to stretch 500% beyond its relaxed state, and hemp is the strongest natural fiber on the planet. It's theorized that the gamma-radiation aura that emanates from Banner when he transforms into the Hulk interacts with the purple dye in the fabric...but only in areas that have direct contact with his skin.

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