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Hulk (2003)

  Directed by: Ang Lee
Written by: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee
Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte
Links: Hulk on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Book, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Action

This movie gets: 4.50 (2 ratings)
nofreelist.com Ranking: Ranked equal 158th of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

Hulk (2003) is also mentioned in citizenjoe's review of Spider-Man 2 (2004).

"The Hulk. He's no Action Man, but then he is a very green super hero." - a review by citizenjoe

In the Hulk, Bruce Banner (Eric Bana), is a victim of his father's experimentation with genetic mutation. In an accidental exposure to radiation, Banner finds that there are very large, green consequences to getting angry.

If you were thinking of a Hollywood Action film, you wouldn't be thinking of Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), The Ice Storm (1997)) as the director. You probably wouldn't even be thinking The Hulk as a Super Hero. After all, he's not.

The Hulk does kick arse, but he doesn't have any sense of good or evil.

He doesn't save the world, in fact there's nothing that needs to be saved.

There is a damsel of course, played by Jennifer Connelly but the only distress she's suffering from is the strange way her boyfriend acts when he gets emotionally stressed.

Really and truly, the hulk could have just been a big green kid with a really bad testosterone problem who is growing out of the clothes his parents just bought him far too quickly.

That's where Ang Lee comes in. Under his direction, the Hulk becomes a tragic figure. One caught up in circumstances that are beyond the norm, but that he has to deal with.

He is the opposite of the normal Hollywood hero. He's not the rebel, he's just different in an "eeeuurgghhhh" kind of way.

Okay so I may be drawing a very long bow, but to me the Hulk is an extreme version of the fat kid at the swimming pool caught up in rolls of juvenile fat that make him stand out uncomfortably amongst his friends. To use film references, he's the The Elephant Man (1980) whom everyone sees as more animal than human. He's RoboCop (1987) with human thoughts, emotions and feelings, caught up in the cold body of a cyborg.

And this is what makes the Hulk as a movie. Ang Lee and writers Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (The two who originally created The Hulk character for Marvel Comics) bring the human element to the story line.

If I can be trite, it is an action movie with a human heart.

It even has all the hallmarks of action movies. As normally happens, the real life actor/hero, Eric Bana is unfortunately out acted by his CGI counterpart. Nick Nolte looks like he's trying to emulate Willem Dafoe in Spider-Man (2002), but only succeeds in making you think you're actually watching the real Nick Nolte (he's weird anyway). And Jennifer Connelly actually does a good job at doing what Jennifer Connelly does best - burst into tears.

My take on The Hulk is that it's a brave move from Hollywood, it's a brave move from Ang Lee and it's just another move up the ladder for Eric Bana even though I have thought that his Hollywood roles so far have been terrible.

Parting thought: How do Action Heroes go to the toilet? We never see Superman taking a leak and what would that sound like from the Man of Steel? How would the Hulk take a dump? That would be quite funny.

citizenjoe gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 8 Aug 2003

"Don't make me see this. I won't like it when I see this." - a review by mino

Special effects. Snazzy camera shots. Scenes packed with non-stop action. A cast lovingly hand-picked by a quality director.

Just goes to show that it doesn't matter how good your crew, your cast, your special effects, your action scenes, your camerawork, your editing, and your special effects are: no matter how you transfer it to film, a big steaming pile of crap is still a big steaming pile of crap.

Hulk is, alas, just such a steaming pile.

I'll admit I was rather keen on the idea of Hulk, if only because it's directed by Ang Lee, who frankly has a pretty good track record. Alas, his track record takes a hit from this big ugly abomination — and I ain't talking about the Hulk himself, let me tell you.

Lee has somehow created a shocker. The worst bit is, Hulk could have been a really good film. The idea of making the big green fella himself a kind of anti-hero, torn by the duality of his own nature, blah blah blah, could have worked really well. Making the movie have a truly ‘cartoony’ feel, with over-the-top special effects and comic-book-like wipes and edits, could have made the movie something really unique.

Well, it did. Uniquely awful.

Lee tried to be clever: alas, he tried to be too clever, and it didn't work at all for me. The editing comes off as rather wanky, the semi-philosophical plot as pure pretension. The special effects: well, they just look amateurish.

As for the actors themselves: well, I'll admit that I'm not sure why Eric Bana is so terrible in this movie. I'm not sure why Jennifer Connelly is, either. I do know, however, why Nick Nolte is terrible: because he's always bloody terrible. Nick Nolte cannot, alas, act. At all. Nolte could not turn in a convincing acting performance on the actingest day of his life with an electrified acting machine, unless the role he was being asked to perform was that of a sad, confused, ugly, drug-addicted old man who can't act, in which case he might just be able to pull it off. Honestly, why do people keep casting him? I can only assume it's pity.

He shouldn't have been cast in this, needless to say.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot: you know when there are these clever, funny little cameos in a movie? Authors or people from earlier movies (or TV shows), that kind of thing? Well, Hulk has two of those. Except they're not clever. Or funny. In fact, they're just really lame.

And I haven't even mentioned the giant mutant French poodle yet.

(That is not a joke).

(Unfortunately).

Wanna see a good comic-strip superhero movie? See Spider-Man (2002).

Want to see a bad one? Well, see Daredevil (2003). It's just as bad as this stinker, but at least it's 34 minutes shorter.

mino gives this movie 3 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 30 Jul 2003

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 4.50
Lowest rating: 3 (by mino)
Highest rating: 6 (by citizenjoe)
 
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