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The Hulk
DVD disk
Oct 5, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
The Hulk order
Director:
Ang Lee

Actors:
Eric Bana
Jennifer Connelly
Sam Elliott

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
While performing research on a new way of healing injuries, scientist Bruce Banner (Bana) is accidentally bombarded by an extreme dose of dangerous Gamma Rays. Awakening a hidden genetic mutation passed on to him by his father, The Gamma Rays cause Banner to transform into The Incredible Hulk when angered, and trust me...you don't want to see him when he gets angry!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This movie suffered from some pretty poor word of mouth after its big opening weekend. About 70% less people headed to the theater the following weekend, for what was one of the most highly anticipated movies in years. The knocks? It started off too slow, Hulk looked a bit weird, Nick Nolte was drunk (okay, I made that one up.)... Yeah, that's all true, but you know what? Who cares. Once this movie kicked into gear, Hulk fans are treated to what they wanted: a serious dose of Hulk smashing everything in sight! That means people, cars, tanks, choppers and planes. You name it, he'll smash it. He even goes a round with a pack of vicious, hulk-dogs. The CGI used to make Hulk come to life can be argued with no matter how you cut it. It looks great about 90% of the time, but it does become distractingly apparent at times. If you're unable to tell yourself that for the moment, there's no other way to make a 12-foot tall green monster move around, then all you'll be doing is nitpicking your way out of a fun movie.

As Banner, Bana also did a great job of appearing vulnerable while at the same time being extremely dangerous. His boyish good looks may, at times, have made it a bit odd to see him as a geeky scientist rather than as the dude who kicked a lot of ass in BLACK HAWK DOWN, but his calm demeanor more that made up for it. As his co-star, Jennifer Connelly once again sizzled on the screen. As talented as she is beautiful (and that's a heckuva whole lot!), Connelly imposed herself from the very beginning as Banner's research partner, past and future love interest and as Hulk's main protector against the government forces led by her own father, General Ross. The latter was brought to life by the awesome Sam Elliott who's still the best guy out there to play a no-nonsense guy with a heart. The other big star in the film is Nick Nolte. I've never been a huge fan of this guy and his character in this film did nothing to change that. As Bruce's father David, he was necessary to give the film its start but after the initial sequence, all his character did was grind things down to a halt whenever he appeared.

The film itself was nothing if not great looking. There's always something different about an Ang Lee film but the one thing that remains is that they always have a really sharp look that makes them an experience just to see. For HULK though, the credit goes to editor Tom Squyres who managed to give the film a super comic book look. With frames sliding back and forth, pictures flying out of objects on the screen and shots split into two, three, four, five frames and so on, the film looks like no other film that you've seen before (or at least nothing in which it actually worked). So while HULK may not contend for any Oscars or be the superhero movie to end all superhero movies, it's still loads of well-written, well-acted fun!
THE EXTRAS
There's enough stuff on here to keep even the most anal retentive comic book geek happy (that's JoBlo, in case you're wondering), starting with a Full Length Audio Commentary by Director Ang Lee. Lee is one of those Hollywood directors who seems to always summon a lot of respect from his actors and his demeanor in this type of feature shows why. He takes great care in speaking on the track and looks after every detail. While it doesn't necessarily make for the most entertaining commentary around, it does make for a very informative one. It's also worth noting that Ang Lee got involved in this film to a level that directors rarely do. In fact, he donned the ping-pong ball motion capture outfit more than once to give the Hulk a lot of his own movements. Now there's a guy who takes his job seriously!

Hulk Cam: Inside the Rage: The Hulk Cam is one of those cool features which makes a little icon pop-up on screen while you're watching the film, allowing you to branch out into little vignettes at the press of a remote control button. The vignettes cover a lot of ground, mainly pertaining to stunts and effects, rehearsals and film background. There's also a lot of on-set footage you can access.

Superhero Revealed: The Anatomy of The Hulk: This will make nerds (again: JoBlo) salivate at the mouth once they find they can access more Hulk information. Here, you get to pick a part of Hulk's massive body and find details about the amazing things he can do. For example, if you choose Hulk's feet, you'll find out that he can run at speed of up to 300 mph. You'll also be able to check out some clips of the film in which he's sprinting like mad.

Deleted Scenes: Six scenes make up this offering which unfortunately comes without an index allowing you to navigate easily in between. To be honest, none of them were of any real value to the story although one of them features the original Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno (who also makes a lightning cameo appearance in the movie along with Hulk creator/comic guru Stan Lee).

Cast & Crew: A text collection of biographies and filmographies for the film's major cast and crewmembers.

Hulkification: Hulkification is a nice, comic-book related featurette. On top of allowing you to see a scene through the film's original storyboards, four other comic book artists take a shot at illustrating that same scene on comic book panels. The four artists in question are Adam Kubert, Tommy Ohtsuka, Salvador Larroca and Katsuya Terada. Comic readers will know some of those names while the rest of you will just enjoy a great variety in artwork.

Evolution of the Hulk (15 mins.): From the original comic book series to the present day, Hulk has remained one of Marvel's most popular characters. Included in this featurette is a discussion by creator Stan Lee of the green monster's previous incarnation in books, in the cheesy 1966 cartoon series, in the 1978 TV show starring Bill Bixby as David Banner (he had been renamed for the show) and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno as Hulk and in the present movie by Ang Lee.

The Incredible Ang Lee (15 mins.): Ang Lee is quickly becoming one of Hollywood's most respected and accomplished directors and pretty much everyone who works with him agrees with all of that. This feature includes interviews with Jennifer Connelly and Eric Bana, heaping praise on the man for his work on this film. Ang Lee also shows up to talk about his own take on the Hulk and about the many things he had to do to make this film just the way he wanted. As I mentioned above, a lot of Hulk's movements in the film were acted out by Lee himself, so you get to see the usually subdued man go nuts in a ping pong ball suit. Worth the time alone.

The Dog Fight Scene (10 mins.): There's a scene in the middle of the film during which hulk battles it out with three dogs who've undergone similar mutations as him. This scene has been much reviled as being too over the top, but I personally found it quite cool. After all, why not? Crazy dogs and a huge green dude trading fisticuffs? Count me in! The featurettes goes somewhat in detail about the motion capture methods used to get the dogs to move the way they want. It's fairly similar to the way humans suit up in special outfits except with dogs.

The Unique Style of Editing Hulk (5 mins.): Editor Tom Squyres discusses the ideas behind his editing choices for the movie. This man deserves a lot of credit for making the film what it was and his work makes even more sense once you hear what his inspirations and aspirations were. Worth a listen.

The Making of Hulk (25 mins.): This is a pretty standard making-of featurette that goes into some level of detail with respect to the cast and crew, the stunts, the special effects and the music. You can listen to it all in one shot or divide it by chapter as per the topics above. Like I said, it's nothing really out of the ordinary and aside from the music, you'll have learned enough by the time you get there to make it seem a bit repetitive.

Hulk X-Box Demo: If you happen to own an X-Box console, you'll be able to play a level of the video game from the DVD. I gave it a shot and wasn't very impressed. It seemed to me that the game wasn't entirely complete though as the textures were very lacking and the gameplay wasn't really exciting.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Far from being perfect, HULK is still loads of fun to watch and not at all, a waste of time. If you want to criticize a film, you'll have plenty of fodder here, but if you just want to have a good time watching stuff gets smashed, then you'll be able to do that as well. Worth a rental for sure, but if you like it, then you might as well keep it on your shelf, this is a film you might want to check out a couple of times again.
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