23/6/12 – I never understood the hate directed towards Ang Lee’s Hulk back in 2003. I do remember being quite impressed during my cinema watch, especially the editing was pure magic to me. The comic book panel-like style of cutting is something I will delve in to later..
So yes, after watching The Avengers and Hulk being one of the best parts of that film, I still believe it’s unfair to compare it to Ang Lee’s version. Whedon’s Hulk didn’t have the responsibility to carry a film by itself, all it did was to show up every now and again to smash stuff. The 2003 version had to have a origin story and introduce the character to the world. Remember, the prior version was the TV series from the 70’s..
The 2008 version with Ed Norton which was supposed to be the all out action version of the Hulk turned out to be an easily forgettable film, a classic example of Hollywood fodder. The general consensus was that it was a better film but years later, who really remembers it? Really, c’mon? It made the same money the first Hulk made so the audience again didn’t react to it, enough to warrant a sequel anyway..
Dissecting the jellyfish (and poodles)
It’s probably a good idea to get these two things out of the way. I had no problem with the starfish or jellyfish. Okay, the film could’ve replaced the poodle with another bulldog/pitbull but did it really bother me? No, I was actually quite into the vicious scene when the mutated three dogs attack Hulk. The only addition to the scene I could think of was more facial expressions for Jennifer Connelly.
Anyway, let’s get down to business. Here is what I liked, what I disliked and why no one knows what they want.
- The Opening – The opening credit sequence is visually energetic and got me involved with Bruce Banner’s backstory about his family in a heartbeat. It just works! We are introduced to the innovative editing as text and image continously blend in and fade out. The score of Danny Elfman just adds to the atmosphere. A great way to start the film!
- The Editing – The whole film is edited like a comic book. Panels, split screen, cropping, images sliding through the frame, fades.. I never understood the hate towards these, it’s original and never been done before. Probably not the best thing for Hollywood..
- The Backstory – Flashbacks, repressed memories, a dark history. The father, the mother and the son that got stuck in between.. Nothing new but done fairly well.
- The Action – People who hated the film complained that it takes too long to get to the action. Like I mentioned before, this is an origin story, a little bit of patience is required to get to the ‘good’ parts. Do I agree? Okay, it’s a bit too slow here and there but never was I bored once. When we got to the action though, the desert scene followed by the plane scene, then the city stuff should’ve made everyone happy instantly!
- Greek tragedy – This is a heavy film. It has many moments of pure Hollywood action but generally, moments of humour are very rare. A couple of tongue in cheek segments could’ve helped help the audience to like our two main characters, which bring me to..
- Eric Bana & Jennifer Connelly – In retrospect, both of their acting are quite wooden. I don’t have any problem with the characters they are playing but we needed a bit more from them, a tad more emotion on display. On the other hand in supporting roles, Sam Elliott and Josh Lucas seem to be having much more fun and are a good contrast to the main stars.
- The CGI – The Hulk model was heavily criticised for it’s bright green gamma colour and the uneven quality in certain scenes. It’s true, there are some moments where there is something off but in general, the cgi really holds up and never fails to entertain.
Yep, after watching it yesterday again, I still think ‘Hulk’ is underrated. A shame as it was brave enough to try something different and for the most part, succeeded. It’s a good mixture of drama and comic book action, which these days only Chris Nolan can achieve. Maybe if Ang Lee was hired today to make this film, the result would be different? Who knows.. But give ‘Hulk’ a try or a second chance, it deserves a nice warm hug!