Friday, June 27, 2008

This Hulk Actually Is Incredible!

The Incredible Hulk

Rated PG-13
1 hour, 54 minutes

Matinee ($$$)

Bruce Banner bottles bebidas in Brazil (say that five times fast!). He’s there keeping a low profile to avoid General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt, Mr. Brooks) who is searching the globe for a clue to his whereabouts. Dr. Banner (Edward Norton, Death to Smoochy) is also searching for a cure for the gamma radiation that causes him to mutate into the Big Green Monster when angry. An accident at the bottling plant and the hope of finding a cure in the States put Bruce on the road to escape the government and the monster within.

The Incredible Hulk is the Marvel reboot of the poorly executed Hulk of five years ago, and this version runs more smoothly. First off, the film plants itself firmly in the vein of the popular television series, giving glimpses of series stars Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. Beyond that, the laboratory experiment in which Bruce gets irradiated recalls exact scenes from the show. This film also harkens back to the series by showing the good doctor hitching rides, scrounging for clothes (looking for especially roomy pants) and getting beaten up by the local scruff.

Audiences benefit from a strong balance of story and carnage. We get some story, some butt whopping, more story, and then more destruction, which keeps us from getting bored. Norton is great as Banner, and Hurt has always been good at being a dick so the General role works. Tim Roth (Planet of the Apes) always gives his characters intensity, and his maniacal portrayal of the Hulk’s second opponent, Emil Blonsky, is no exception. Blonsky is a highly decorated veteran soldier whose only fear is losing his physical ability, and Roth captures his fervor perfectly. Bruce’s cohorts, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler, Armageddon) and Samuel Stearns (Tim Blake Nelson, Fido), manage to hold their own in this pseudo-scientific affair.

My only complaint lies with the shoddy CGI Hulk. Granted, the new ripped and ‘roided version is a thousand times better than that inflatable glowstick from the last movie, but it’s not awe-inspiring. I loved that he was proportionally more believable than the first, and if its creators ever manage to make Hulk resemble his acting counterpart we may have a winner.

One nagging question is what is Norton’s beef with the film? I heard rumors Norton did a total rewrite on Zak Penn’s weak script and wasn’t given the credit. Could it be because the CGI Hulk a) still looks like ass and b) doesn’t look like him because the rendering was done pre-casting? Maybe he didn’t like that the Hulk speaks. Who knows?! I’m just sad that this beef means we may be up for another casting crapshoot come the sequel.

Dirty Undies
Wispy voiced Liv wins runner-up as Hulk hottie. Top honors go to the smoking hot up- and-comer D├ębora Nascimento. Liv needs to get more sun on those pale gams if she hopes to contend with this bronze Brazilian beauty. The Hulk doesn’t want for action: Hulk crush cars! Hulk trash tanks! Hulk smash low expectations. The best part is the cartoonish look helps avoid an R rating for things like breaking the spur off your opponent’s arm and plunging it into his neck.

The Money Shot
If The Incredible Hulk set out to wipe Hulk from the minds of moviegoers, mission accomplished. The Incredible Hulk had me excited watching him wreak havoc. It even went one better, by establishing enough viable characters and potential storylines to make me tingly for a sequel.

Large Association of Movie Blogs


  1. You had more problems with the flix than I did.

    But you do appreciate Debora Nascimento, so you have good taste.

  2. It's hard not to appreciate someone as smokin' as Nascimento...what's wrong with Banner?!?

    I liked Hulk, just wasn't blown away. That seems to be my anthem for many a movie this summer.

  3. Banner is in love.

    The Incredible Hulk had greatness in its grasp then let it go.