The Hulk movie review thread(spoilers all marked)

First, the non-spoiler review:

*** out of ****

Finally, a movie that didn’t spoil it’s main storyline at all in its trailers. Now, on to the review.

It was good and very daring. This movie is a very serious drama instead of an action movie, which will most likely not produce good word of mouth from the “high school boy” audience. I think Hulk comic readers will appreciate that their hero has been taken(very) seriously. There is action in it, but that is not the driving force of the movie.

Comic book fans as a whole will probably appreciate that the movie is serious. Some will consider it too serious, however. On some level, this movie is dark and disturbing. It’s not an entirely “fun” movie to see. It’s depressing.

As soon as I heard Ang Lee was directing this movie, I wondered what he would do. He has made an Ang Lee movie, through and through. This is the least studio comic book debut movie I’ve seen. Ang Lee definately had final cut on this movie.

Oh, the whole “does Hulk look real” question becomes more or less irrelevant, since the movie is not(IMHO) a special effect extravaganza. He looks far more real than a robot or a guy in a suit would look and I believed it the whole time.

This is definately a movie that will divide crowds. The “mindless masses” will dislike, even hate it, but people who like Ang Lee and like dramas will enjoy it. It does have a few “WTF moments”, but it works.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post them. If they are spoiler related, I’ll mark my spoilers.

Okay, now for the more spoiler kind of review, mostly questions about the plot and comments:

[spoiler] 1. Absorbing Man(from now, AM) is Bruce’s father? Wow, I think Hulk fans might not like this idea.

  1. I’m also a little unclear on how exactly Hulk killed AM. Did he force the AM to take all of Hulk’s strength? I know he was trying to take his strength so he could survive the energy absorbtion, but I just don’t get what happened to him. I will pay closer attention the second time(after it’s released nationwide).

  2. The scene near the end between Bruce’s dad and him was amazing! Great acting. Nick Nolte deserves a supporting actor nomination at the Academy Awards. He was great all the way through.

  3. The first hour of the story felt a little forced. The Hulk Dog segment was lame(though it was cool how he ripped that dog in half). Splat!

  4. The final scene in the movie is great. I just liked the pacing of it.

  5. I would say that even if you don’t like the entire first hour, stick with it until the second half. It gets better and has a great final 40 minutes or so. [/spoiler]

Did you review that workprint that’s floating around?

How did you get to see it so early?

Waaa?! A Hulk movie that’s not about Hulk jumping around and smashing things? And tries to convert it into a serious drama?

I’m interested to see if other reviewers like it or not.

I tend to think most reviewers will give it a negative review because they want a movie like this to be mindless. They don’t know what to do when one comes along with a brain.

That’s not to say he doesn’t smash stuff. He does…and does…and does…and does. The damage count is high in this movie.

The “hulking out” looks pretty cool, by the way. I’m glad they let us see it in full.

I ask again: is what you saw the workprint that’s floating around the P2P networks? If so, then what the rest of see in the theater could differ significantly from what you saw.

You really need to describe what version you saw for your review, for the sake of accuracy.

Gah, now I know not to go and see it. I was looking foward to this movie too.
Thanks for the warning.

I saw the “workprint” last night, I assume this is what Mahaloth is reviewing. It is not the finished article, but it is pretty close. The musical score and sound effects are noticeably incomplete and I think there may be some final editing in the first hour. I’ll refrain from plot discussion until the final cut is released, but I have a few general observations.

Lee does a number of interesting things visually to create tension and psychological drama not normally associated with “comic” movies. Makes me wonder what he could have done with the Batman franchise. Nick Nolte delivers one of the most disturbing performances I have seen in a while, both loathsome and pitiful. The Hulk itself was a little off, IMHO. Some of the movement was rather choppy and the green they chose to use did not quite fit in the real world. It is the luminous sci-fi radioactive-liquid green (if that makes sense) as oppsed to a more organic color. It is a choice that others might like, I found it distracting.

Gosh, I actually think you should see the movie. Read what I said again. That point I made(that you quoted) was really a minor point.

Revtim, no it’s the final version. The workprint you are referencing is from late January/February.

By the way, the score from Danny Elfman is quite good. Since it’s from Ang Lee(the movie that is), it has a rather mystical and asian feel to it. Very beautiful and haunting. It also has some rock music thrown in for the “hulking out”.

I haven’t seen the movie, but I have read the novelization (written by ten-year stint former Hulk comic-book writer Peter A. David), and I admit it makes me want to see the movie.

I just saw Ebert and Roeper review the movie, and they agreed with me quite a bit(by the way, it’s nice that they have started reviewing movies on their show that come out THE NEXT week, instead of the ones that came out that weekend).

Both gave strong thumbs up, critiquing only the CGI of Hulk(and the dog scene). Roeper summed up the entire “problem” a movie like this is going to have when it comes to making its budget back. He said, "This is not a movie about a big green monster who jumps around and smashes stuff. It is a drama about to children, who have grown up into conflicted adults and both have complicated relationships with their fathers. It is about repressed memory and both father/child relationships have interesting resolutions."

He nailed it. This movie, IMHO, will bomb after its first week because it is a huge drama instead of an action movie. I am hoping this does not occur.

Now now… have faith… I’m sure the movie audience is starving for interesting and quality drama… you may be surprised.

This brings up a good point. If the movie was advertised as a serious drama, would it hurt or help it’s overall box office?

I tend to think that it would hurt it opening weekend, but would help it in the long run. The commercials for this movie make it look like one big “smash-fest”, which is a huge lie.

Also, by the way, did you guys know that Ang Lee was inside the motion capture suit that is the Hulk? So essentialy, Eric Bana played Bruce Banner and Ang Lee played the Hulk.


I really expected to dislike the movie, but it was great! Definitely a cut above your average comic-book adaptation. Of course, with a director like Ang Lee, I should have had more faith.

One of my favorite things was the character of Betty Ross. A heroine in an action movie who’s smart, sexy, and doesn’t feel the need to flash her boobs or wear lycra? What a refreshing departure.

I just saw it today. I wanted to like it. I still want to have liked it. There were some parts I really liked. But on the whole, I gotta say that I was kinda bored.

Look, I’m all for a “good drama”. I just don’t think that The Hulk was one. It seemed to me like the movie was about 20-30 minutes too long. Points were made over and over again, driving the point that… Bruce got a raw deal all around from his father, but had supressed the memories…into my head incessantly. I GET IT ALREADY!! (Hardly a spoiler, I know. But if you wanna see it at the cheap show…)

And for all the talking, I really didn’t care about the characters at all. General Ross had one dimension. David Banner had one dimension. Hell, I don’t think that Bruce had any dimension! The dang big green thing emoted with more effectiveness! Betty Ross, well, not bad. And don’t even get me started about that blonde guy, whatever his name was. WTF was he even there for?

Anyway, as I alluded to earlier, go see it at the cheap show. The special effects are quite good, really. The Hulk looks impressive. I appreciated the nifty comic-book style editing. I just didn’t find it to be a good drama. YMMV

Oh, yeah. And show up about 30 minutes late or so.

My friends and I were talking about it, and we came upon an interesting point:

[spoiler]They never once actually use the word “Hulk!” There’s “Angryman” and “that thing” and “it.” Sure, WE all know it’s the Hulk because we know about the comics. If someone hadn’t read the comics (and had managed to avoid 50+ years of pop culture influence :p), he’d be confused why it was called that.

Besides, that’s not a word you use in everyday conversation anyway. “Hey, Bruce’s some sort of hulk now!”[/spoiler]

Not much of a complaint. But it sort of bothered us.

I enjoyed the drama and the character development of Bruce and Betty. But the villains were very poorly done, and the movie suffers because of it.

There seem to be three distinct “villains”…

  1. Whatsisname that Hulk beats the crap out of and then the guy uses the cattle-prod on him later. He doesn’t seem to have much purpose except to be so incredibly mean and stupid that when he gets blown up (and this may be the only human death caused by Hulk–but it’s not really caused by him) we are glad. Not really much of a villain, though.

  2. The military, including General Ross (Betty’s dad). The entire military is portrayed as INCREDIBLY STUPID! I know it’s a common practice in movies, but come on! Completely unrealistic actions on their part and this really took me out of the experience. And Ang Lee seemed to go WAY too far out of the way to show that Hulk doesn’t actually kill any of these guys in his fight with the military. From the guy who is in the tank that gets tossed (we see a shot of him standing beside the tank after it has landed and the shot lingers forever, just to be sure we know this is THAT guy and he is not hurt) to the pilots of the downed helicopters being clearly heard reporting in by radio that they are OK. If this is a comic book movie for adults, why such squeamishness about human death?

  3. David Banner. I thought his character and motivations were interesting, but his “absorbing” powers didn’t become activated until VERY late and were very poorly explained and the scene with him and Bruce in the hangar at the end was ridiculous. His transformation into the giant electricity-being and the subsequent fight with Hulk in the desert was just a muddled mess.

Overall, I was disappointed. I’m glad they did something a little different and didn’t just give us a cookie-cutter comic book movie, but I don’t think the filmmakers themselves fully committed to that idea. I think there was a lot of potential here that was wasted.

Actually, BraheSilver, Bruce does say something at one point after having already rampaged at least once. I don’t remember the exact wording, but he refers to his alter ego as, “that hulk.”