Thatís not to take away credit from the other players involved, especially director Louis Leterrier. The TRANSPORTER filmmaker obviously has an eye for stylish, manic and creative action, but here he steps up his game. Thereís some nice attention to detail that extends beyond the action sequences in THE INCREDIBLE HULK; for example, a story that takes itís time evolving from a natural, realistic placeóas opposed to just filler between Hulk Smash. Together Norton and Leterrier make a formidable team, with the former bringing a legit nuanced performance and decent script, and both providing an obvious love for the character. There are tons of comic homages at play, from fun cameos to setup for future films; hell, they even manage to work in Hulkís thunderclap.
The effects for the most part are good, especially given the budget and the turnaround time for the project. The final, impressively long action sequence is a lot of fun, even if by the end it resembles something of a video game. Odly enough, the adorable and dependable Liv Tyler is a weak link here. Not through any fault of her own, her Betty Ross is not given much to do except be the object of Bannerís longing gaze and to be background worry support. That was the case for ladies in most old school comics, one could argue, but I canít remember a single line or interesting thing about her in the film.
The other glaring issue is the pacing of the film. Even at nearly two hours the whole thing feels like itís moving too fast with too many characters and subplots falling by the wayside. Looking at the over half hour of deleted scenes on the DVD, which Iím guessing is the rumored Edward Norton cut, itís apparent that a lot of the subtextual meat of the film was cut out to avoid a 2.5 hour Hulk film. The movie works as is now, but itís achingly apparent that it couldíve been better with less editing.
Commentary by director Louis Leterrier and actor Tim Roth: I dig both these gentlemen and each contributes well to this track, full of humor and admiration for the movie. Leterier especially still has a lot of enthusiasm for the character and his take on it. Itís entertaining to listen to.
Deleted Scenes (13:28): Some more of Banner running around in Brazil, doing tai chi and yoga, and some more of William Hurt overacting. Didnít miss much here.
Alternate Opening (2:34): The much discussed darker beginning where Banner goes to the arctic to kill himself. An interesting way to kick off a summer blockbuster. Pay attention for that rumored Captain America cameo at the very end.
Deleted Scenes (29:15): Iím not sure why these are separate than the ones found on the first disc (maybe these belong to Nortonís cut specifically), but thereís a lot more worthwhile material to be found here. More character stuff for pretty much everybody, especially Betsyís other boyfriend Leonard, later to be Doc, Samson. Thereís also a fun cameo by Apatow vet Martin Starr, Norton almost going Hulk on some annoying sorority girls and more closure at the very end. Definitely worth watching.
Making Of THE INCREDIBLE HULK, brought to you by Volkswagen (29:52): Well, thatís the first time Iíve seen them sell ad space on a special feature. Yikes. This BTS doc does a great job highlighting the quick turnaround and speed the cast and crew had to work with. Principal photography started in July of last year.) See more intimate moments of Leterrier and Nortonís collaborative nature as well as more physical stats like building the various action sequences and shooting on location in Rio de Janeiro.
Becoming the Hulk (9:23): Norton and Leterrier talk about their vision of the design of the Hulk in this film, as well as some vfx footage of the transition. Thereí some cool footage here and Nortonís take on the approach is a lot deeper than you might assume.
Becoming the Abomination (10:16): Same as the above, except for Tim Roth and the filmís villain, a true foil for the Hulk. The different style between the two monsters makes for some neat back and forth with the effects and ďmovementĒ team.
Anatomy of a Hulk Out (27:50): A three parter covering the three different transformation sequences, stunts and action scenes involving the big green guy. My fave was seeing how they got Tim Roth to run 40 MPH.
From Comic Book to Screen (6:33): A look at the grotto scene between Hulk and Betty as compared to its comic counterpart.
Extra Tidbit: Roth literally did it so his kids would think heís cool. Thank God his children donít like musicals or porn.