Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas, Paul Kersey
2003, 138 Minutes, Directed by: Ang Lee
Based on the Marvel comic
created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. After accidental exposure to gamma
radiation, scientist Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) turns into the huge, green,
and indestructible Hulk when provoked, and repressed childhood memories fuel
his fury. —
two major strands of Hulk never really gel. On the one hand, Hulk
is a serious drama about the emotional damage parents can inflict upon their
children. On the other, it has a huge green monster
hurling a U.S. army tank through the air the same way an Olympic athlete
would throw a discus . . .
is of course based on the 1960s Marvel comic book of the same name about a
mild-mannered, er, scientist who turns into a huge raging green monster
whenever he becomes angry. “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry,” he warns
The Hulk movie is more inspired by
the comics than by the late 1970s TV series (of which most people have tried
to block their memories of). Interestingly enough, the character in the
comics was named Bruce Banner while the one in the TV series was David
Banner. I suppose TV execs didn’t think that Bruce was a macho enough name
or something. I don’t know.
back in the 1960s said Bruce Banner turned into the Hulk after being
bathed in gamma rays during an accident with nuclear bomb test.
"A schizophrenic affair, not certain whether it is a drama about parental abuse or King Kong
. . ."
fear of the atom in science fiction has been superseded by a concern with
genetic tampering. So cue a subplot of Oedipal proportions as a young Bruce
is born with unexplained hereditary genetic deformities because his father
(Nick Nolte looking like a homeless person) using himself as a human
experimented upon himself.
very slow start, we finally have the Hulk battling mutant poodles, the
U.S. army and Nick Nolte who has mutated into a CGI effect straight
out of a 1980s Spielberg movie. However, all this makes the movie sounds
very different from what it really is.
Nowadays Hollywood blockbusters earn
megabucks at the box office on their opening weekend amidst a flurry of
hype. Each successive weekend however, the box office tallies fall
dramatically. Either because of bad word of mouth, or because practically
everyone who had wanted to see the movie in the first place had done so
already in that first weekend, or because of competition from other
high-profile blockbusters. However,
few movies fell as dramatically as Hulk did. In its first weekend in the USA, Hulk
earned a staggering $62 million. The weekend after that, it fell to $18
million. And to $8 million the weekend after that!
Considering that the movie was budgeted at
$120 million, it is doubtful that Hulk would turn a profit for its
studio, so don’t go holding your breath for any sequel soon. Even
with the overseas market and lucrative video rentals, DVD sales and TV
screening rights, Hulk will have a tough time at it. (Remember that
the movie’s stated budget excludes marketing costs, which is also enormous
in itself.) Personally, I suspect
that bad word of mouth finally sank Hulk. Very much like the recent
Solaris remake, Hulk isn’t exactly
what audiences were expecting.
of this is a bit of a pity because Hulk tries to transcend its
roots as a comic book roots by adding an emotional back-story and trying
to get audiences involved with its characters. Audiences weren’t exactly
expecting the “emotional damage” bit, but expecting some more Hulk
smashing the U.S. army action.
small boys I saw in the cinema foyer afterwards were quite excited by
these particular scenes, and so were the little boy in me too. Until then the movie was a respectable
drama, but those scenes made one wish for more mayhem. None was in store however, and director Ang
Lee (The Ice Storm and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
confuses the matter more by using some interesting split screen effects
designed to imitate the panels of a comic book.
this all seems out of place and Hulk seems like an unwieldy
melding together of two very different movies. That doesn’t mean that
I had a bad time. The special effects aren’t as bad some people have
remarked, and are quite fun really. Also, who can’t love the funniest
scene involving a poodle since 1992’s Batman
Returns? Or the scene of Hulk chewing off the head of a missile and
spitting it out again?
The cast ranges between the catatonic Eric
Bana and the wildly over-the-top Nick Nolte. In-between we have the always
reliable and lovely Jennifer Connelly. However, like its title protagonist,
Hulk is a schizophrenic affair, not certain whether it is
Affliction (the 1997 drama about parental abuse, which ironically earned
Nolte an Oscar nomination as best actor) or King
Kong . . .
is the main rival to DC Comics, who owns characters such as
Superman and Batman.
Once upon a time DC Comics got the best movie versions while all poor
Marvel got was Dolph Lundgren as The Punisher and the dreadful
Albert Pyun’s terrible Captain America. Now the process seems
to be reversed: after the pathetic Batman & Robin,
Hollywood seems loathe continuing that particular franchise or even
restarting the Superman franchise.
In contrast, this is the sixth Marvel
title to get its own big screen Hollywood adaptation in recent years.
The others were Men In Black (in 1997 and
Men in Black II in 2002), Blade (in 1998, and its 2002 sequel),
X-Men (in 2000 and its 2003 X2
Spider-man (2002) and
No sign of the Fantastic Four
though: a by all accounts terrible movie was made in 1994, but never
released. Apparently, it was only made so that the company who has the
rights to that property can keep it and do a proper version one day.