160 of 179 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2008
The second film to be produced directly by Marvel seems eager to prove why comic book companies should exercise direct control over their films. Rather than being nothing more than a new director's take on an old classic, The Incredible Hulk is both an engaging film and a love letter to every other incarnation of the The Hulk that proceeded it. This film truly endeavors to understand and assimilate the entire history of the character into one new project, and boy does it succeed.
At the center of The Incredible Hulk is an ambitious attempt to marry the two most popular and conflicting visions of the character. The film borrows many elements from the fondly remembered 1970s television series but also incorporates many of the more important elements from the comic book. It's a tough balancing act, but the film makes the disparate elements mix together in a way that makes complete sense and (I believe), leaves fans of both series feeling satisfied. The origin and characterization come largely from the TV series (though, thankfully, it's Dr. BRUCE Banner this time), but the more memorable supporting characters and conflicts from the comic are worked in as well (though Rick Jones was quite fortunately forgotten). Additionally, the enemy is a highly logical choice from the comic book series. Finally, the bad memories of a mutated Nick Nolte are beginning to subside.
The film also incorporates minor elements from the TV movies, the previous film (which is neither acknowledged nor completely contradicted), and even the previous Hulk video game. Of course there are also many wonderful nods to fans of each of the Hulk incarnations. The flashing danger light, the appearance of student reporter "Jack McGee," and Stan Lee's cameo proved to be my personal favorites. Lou Ferrigno also receives a far better cameo than in the previous film.
Most importantly, whether you have any interest in previous Hulk incarnations or not, this film is exceptionally well plotted. It resists the urge to shine the light fully on Hulk or Dr. Banner, instead carefully developing the two in unison. Dr. Banner (masterfully played by Ed Norton, who actually outshines Bill Bixby) gets farther than his television counterpart was ever allowed, and that experience necessarily changes him. The transformation is satisfying, yet still allows the franchise to return to familiar territory by the end.
In parallel, the monster also receives his share of development, though this isn't made clear until the end. His final scene cements this film's brilliant unison of television series and comic book, leaving no doubt that this is the most impressive project ever to come out of the Hulk franchise. I was left so excited, so convinced for the first time that the character had truly come to life, that I almost expected Doctor Strange and the Defenders to show up in the next moment. For only the third time in all my movie going experiences, a beloved comic book character actually seemed real (or at least possible), even in spite of the sometimes questionable computer animation.
Finally, true Marvel fans will be amazed to see just how much continuity this two hour film packs. Clear and meaningful ties are made to Captain America, Iron Man, and S.H.I.E.L.D., and just you wait for the film's final scene! While DC is still trying to decide who should play Superman and Batman for their Justice League movie, you can rest assured that Marvel is getting ready to tie their films together in a meaningful and impressive way. The Marvel Universe has truly made the move into Hollywood and, with The Incredible Hulk as a shining example, it's safe to believe that they've just begun delivering everything a humble fan boy could ever hope for.
84 of 99 people found the following review helpful
"THE MADDER HULK GETS, THE STRONGER HE GETS". Apparently, ol' Jade-Jaws has been rebooted for the screen under the moniker; "Incredible Hulk" with a new director; Louis Letterrier, a new script by Zack Penn and has a new lead actor in Edward Norton. To be honest, I'm one of the few who appreciated Ang Lee's "Hulk", appreciated but didn't love. Sure, it was too moody, nary a smile on anyone's face, full of human angst and fake looking CGI, but I thought it was reminiscent to the comic book when Paul Jenkins was at its helm. 2008's version of the Green Goliath trumps the 2003 version, with a different origin, more action and the CGI is a vast improvement over its predecessor. No, it is not a sequel to the 2003 film but a re-imagining that has close links to the "Hulk" (except for the color) who appears in Marvels' "The Ultimates" comic book.
Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is hiding out somewhere in South America, looking for a cure for his gamma-induced affliction, trying to keep his temper in check, keeping a low profile and avoiding a certain General Ross (William Hurt) who intends to make an army of super-soldiers from his own D.N.A.. After being pursued by a team led by Emil Blonsky (Eli Roth), Banner returns to America to pursue a cure and asks longtime love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) for her help in finding a man named "Mr. Blue" who may be able to cure him of his gamma-powered alter-ego. Blonsky is hot on their trail and asks Ross to experiment further with the workings of gamma radiation and cellular manipulation with him as the guinea pig. Blonsky is a man who wants power--at any cost.
The origin of the Hulk has been re-written from its 2003 version. Banner is a scientist who is unknowingly performing experiments on gamma applications to try to replicate a serum based on a World War II super-soldier serum (Captain America anyone?) that apparently got out of hand. Ross wants it as a weapon (no surprise) and Banner is the victim. Readers of Marvel's "the ULTIMATES" may see some similarities and may applaud this move. It was a good move to incorporate a new script to this 2008 film and Louis Letterrier seems to be the right man for its directorial duties. The script by Zack Penn in the hands of this director still has the usual touches of human drama and a moody atmosphere but at a better pace than Lee's rendition of ol'greenskin.
The CGI effects is a step forward from its previous incarnation; an improvement but still not perfect. The Hulk looks more ferocious and feral than the 2003 version and the moments where he says "Hulk Smash" still puts a smile on my place. I was waiting on the line "Hulk is the Strongest one there is" but I guess this would ruin the film's mood, and become a bit too comical. The battle with the Abomination is the film's main draw. The fight is fierce, savage and above all, very hard-hitting. You feel the impact of the blows, and the snarls add a lot of animal-like ferocity. There is also quite a decent number of action sequences dispersed throughout the film. Banner's encounters with a Black-ops team in the first 20 minutes and with a small army contingent helps the film's pace. Hulk smashes cars, humvees, and crushes almost everything in sight; Hulk also "claps" with such devastation. There are also moments that put Hulk's relationship with Betty in the spotlight and the savage monster is truly only savage when provoked. Hulk gets to display some emotion and sensitivity in the presence of Betty. Nice touches, truly reminiscent of the comic book.
Edward Norton's Bruce Banner may well be a little underdeveloped but by now, the film is probably relying on the fans to know what he is all about. Banner has that nerdy look but at the same time, strong and determined. Banner trains in the Brazilian style martial arts to try to control his anger by discipline. I almost wanted him to say: "Hulk knows Kung fu" but thankfully that didn't materialize. Norton gives a strong performance as our tortured scientist, I rather thought that he displayed the right emotions when one is afraid of losing himself. William Hurt is an outstanding General "Thunderbolt" Ross, his character is reminiscent of the other ruthless ones, Hurt has played throughout his career. Ross is a man of duty and has that `someone needs to get their hands dirty' attitude that gives his character a lot of depth. Liv Tyler is on par with Jennifer Connelly's Betty Ross. She's the anchor that pulls Bruce through the hardened moments.
While the film has the tendency in becoming a bit overlong and fall to the pitfalls of too much melodrama and excessive display of human angst, the film has some cleverly placed bits of satire that assists the film's pace. You wouldn't believe Banner's attempts in communication in Portuguese; "..you wouldn't like me when I'm hungry." Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno makes cameo appearances which also add some subtle bits of humor.
Ultimately, "Incredible Hulk" is a success and an effective reboot from Ang Lee`s 2003 version. The film managed to stay focused in its context of a "Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde" formula and the same time delivered a cleverly action-filled popcorn film that delivers the goods. There are hints of an underlying plan with Robert Downey's guest appearance and the hints of a "super-soldier" does give comic book fans something to look forward to. The film is a great comic book adaptation and it comes highly recommended from me who has seen Jade-Jaws' ups and downs since 1979.
HULK SAYS RECOMMENDED! [4- Stars]
60 of 75 people found the following review helpful
This re-imagining of the green Goliath works far better than Ang Lee's 2003 outing that's for sure. Being an avid admirer of the Bixby/Ferrigno series in the late seventies and early eighties I found this film to be closer in spirit to the series and I definitely liked that.
The Hulk's origins are played out at the very beginning and once that's over and done with audiences are in for a fast paced and enjoyable ride. The film attempts to keep people who liked the series happy as well as the crowd who want it firmly rooted in Marvel tradition. The Hulk battles a foe called The Abomination in the final third, and by the way that fight is pretty amazing, and I gather that that's a person to be found in the original comics.
While Eric Bana was one of the few things that was positive about Hulk (2003), Norton betters him here. He's such a natural performer and he can convey so much with mere expressions. He was the perfect choice to play Banner, in some ways he reminded me of Bixby. Tim Roth is one of those actors who's always good and he doesn't falter here. But William Hurt really surprised me. I've always thought he was good but I'd have to say this is his finest performance in many years. General Ross is a much better written character here than in the 2003 version and Hurt simply excels in the part.
As for the CGI, they work really well. The Hulk looks extremely cool and far better here. He doesn't continue to grow as he gets angrier and while that may annoy some I actually found it a plus. And those huge leaps are history as well, he jumps far enough but nothing compared to Ang Lee's version.
The Incredible Hulk does well what it intends to do which is entertain. Overall it's full of action, very well acted and fairly well written. Must See!
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2011
I like this movie, but for this review I'm not going to talk about the actual movie. There's plenty of reviews about that. I just want to warn everyone that the digital copy included in this pack is EXPIRED. While the digital copy disk is included in the package, you cannot download the movie to your computer. You will get a message that says the digital copy is expired and no longer allowed to be downloaded. Just be aware of that.
Someone else mentioned this fact in their review, but I didn't see it, unfortunately. Buyer beware.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2008
This version of The Hulk is by far more enjoyable than Ang Lee's overblown nonsense a while back. There is something for everyone in this film.
This film never acknowledges the earlier version in any way that I could pick up on; it just acts like that film never existed. There is no father role here for David Banner, but we still have the military's involvement in Banner's gone wrong experiment. There isn't a lot of plot here and many of us already know the story behind the hulk's creation and Banner's attempt to rid himself of the violent alter ego that he transforms into whenever he is either overly excited or angered.
Ed Norton, who contributed to the script, is the perfect David Banner and even reminds one of Bill Bixby who played him on TV (and has a humorous cameo in this film even though he's been dead for many years now). Lou Ferrigno who played the actual Hulk on the TV series also has a cameo as does a young version of the reporter who chased after him on the series. In fact, the light script has numerous references to the old TV series and the comic book as well. The film is serious enough, but has enough wisdom to remember that this is only a film based off of a comic book and not Shakespeare or something as Ang Lee seemed to think he was dealing with in his version of the Hulk which while not a bad film itself, was just not what Marvel fans wanted. This film is much more what Stan Lee and Hulk fans had in mind.
A plot synopsis of this film is rather a waste of time I think as it is fairly true to the comic book and TV series, so I'll just move along to my hits and misses approach:
(1) A much lighter version than the last one. This one is FUN! Much credit goes to the writers and director for not getting carried away this time.
(2) The outstanding special effects don't crush the film under its own weight. The CGI is perfect for this film.
(3) The acting is very good by all. Ed Norton is the perfect David Banner, William Hurt gives his usual bad guy routine as does Tim Roth, and Liv Tyler (from LOTR) is okay verging on almost boring.
(4) The direction is confidently done and we always get the feeling that he knows exactly what he wants on the screen.
(1) They could have had a more interesting girl friend for David Banner. Tyler was okay, but she did nothing much for me or the movie. She was just kind of there. I would have liked Zooey or Emily Deschannel (The Happening for Zooey and [[ASIN:B000HT3P60 Bones for Emily in the role as his girl friend. These sister actresses both have an unusual beauty to them and make perfect scientists.
(2) The score was very unmemorable.
(3) Some of the action was a bit too fast and was a blur at times.
Overall, this is a typical summer blockbuster with a promise of future films in one fashion or another has me excited about what is next from Marvel.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2008
Although Ang Lee's 2003 "Hulk" was interesting from a creative standpoint, summer movie goers were not prepared to watch a convoluted psychodrama about repressed emotions playing out amid visual meditations on microcosm and macrocosm. Hulk's final confrontation is with his DAD?!? Transformed into a giant jellyfish made out of water?!? W.T.F.?!? Lee's film registered with audiences as an ambitious failure -ponderous and unwieldy.
Louis Leterrier's "The Incredible Hulk" is an aggressive attempt to gather all Hulk fans under one tent pole, and is largely successful, providing a tightly paced story with big budget thrills while staying close to it's pulpy, heroic action/weird science monster roots.
The opening credit montage serves as shameless retro homage to the 1970's TV show, a retelling of the origin story of the Hulk and re-establishment of the basic characters: Dr.Banner (Edward Norton), General Ross (William Hurt), Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and their conflicting relationships.
When a military team led by Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) sent by General Ross catches up to Dr. Banner, the resulting chase though a Brazilian favela is reminiscent of something you would see in a Bourne movie with a bit of parkour thrown in for good measure - exciting, but not all that original.
The first confrontation with the Hulk is set in a darkened factory and, while providing only teasing glimpses, gives a solid example of his destructive power when provoked. What Blonsky experiences in that confrontation plants the seed of his obsession with the Hulk - his desire for that kind of power leads him to undergo dangerous experiments in the pursuit of 'performance enhancement'.
After Dr. Banner recovers from his Hulk-out, we get a sense of the toll each episode takes - that he has to rebuild his life each time. There's not a whole lot of character development for him, but Norton plays it with a quietly desperate intensity that works.
Dr. Banner reconnects with Betty in his search for a cure and the old flames of romance are rekindled. Norton and Tyler have good chemistry in their scenes together. Tyler does a great job of conveying her character's deep connection to Dr. Banner and it doesn't hurt that she's easy on the eyes.
The military closes in again, and Banner's second Hulk-out is the heart of the film. All of the character conflicts collide and the action delivers the goods. Leterrier creates images that are ripped out of the pages of the Hulk comics and breathes life into them on the screen. When the military hits hulk with some experimental sonic cannons, the result is pure weird science goodness!
After Hulk/Banner and Betty get a little down time, Blonsky begins his transformation into the Abomination. This is what fans have been waiting for: a downtown super-brute smash-em-up! "HULK SMASH!"
All in all, this movie does a solid job of balancing character drama and big budget spectacle without really taking any risks. Perhaps somewhere, between this straight ahead action film and Ang Lee's art-house take, is an even better Hulk movie yet to burst the seams of it's potential. But that, gentle reader, is another story...
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A few observations about the mostly successful, mostly entertaining 2008 film "The Incredible Hulk"...
The movie is billed as a reboot or totally new version of the Hulk, not a sequel to the 2003 Ang Lee film that was simply titled, "Hulk". I'd call the movie more of a semi-reboot. Why? Well, the earlier movie ends with Bruce Banner in hiding in South America, with General Ross and his cronies madly searching for him. And the new film, well... opens with Bruce Banner in hiding in South America, with General Ross and his cronies madly searching for him. I think Marvel smartly structured the film to appease both camps: if you liked the earlier movie you can- contrary to all the "forget the earlier movie!" hype- view this one as the next chapter in the story. And if you didn't like the earlier film, you can point to the recasting of the actors and the less introspective, more "big summer movie" tone and say, "Whew, it's NOT the same storyline!" Your money, your choice.
The new film offers a more kinetic, visceral, action-oriented story, peppered with just enough quietly dramatic moments (in other words, talking scenes) so the movie doesn't turn into a relentless, flashing, pinball machine. If you ever read the comic book, it really feels like a three-issue run from the mid-70's "Hulk Smash! era.
The deleted scenes in the 3-disc special edition are interesting. Apparently a more pronounced love triangle between Betty, Bruce, and Betty's new boyfriend Leonard (who we learn, via one deleted scene, is actually comics character Leonard Samson, pre-irradiation experiment) was a bigger part of the original conception of the film. Though the five or six deleted scenes involving this triangle are intriguing to see, I think I like the final film's decision to simply allude to the tension between the three characters instead of turning the middle part of the movie into an episode of "As the Hulk Turns".
There are one or two deleted scenes involving General Ross that I wished were kept in the film. Though never depicting him as warm and fuzzy, a couple of those scenes showed that his motivation to capture the Hulk and harness his power, though misguided, didn't come from an evil place. If they were included in the film, those scenes would have made it easier to swallow the General's semi-change of heart at the end when he decides to extend an olive branch to Bruce and join forces with him to take down the Abomination. That's a quibble, though. The film and its developments in the current cut still work; there's just less explicit evidence on display that the General is capable of making that emotional leap.
Other treats abound. There's a fun little cameo involving Iron Man's alter-ego Tony Stark which was clearly moved from its original "Easter egg" post-closing credits position to the final scene in the main body of the movie after the huge success of "Iron Man". As said, it's an enjoyable cameo, but a little confusing: Is Tony asking General Ross to help him recruit the Hulk into the new super-team he's forming or offering the use of that team to help Ross take down the Hulk? I guess we'll have to wait for the next round of Marvel movies to find out. Also fun but somewhat under-written was the obligatory Stan Lee cameo, where we see him as an innocent bystander who drinks some gamma-infected soda pop (the scenario is not as inane as it sounds) and then freezes up and drops the soda bottle. It's amazing to me that they missed the opportunity to have him writhe on the ground and turn at least a little green, if only for a moment. Oh, well.
More about the three-disc DVD I bought: Though generous, the set is not as lavish as the term "three-disc DVD" might suggest. The first disc is the movie (looks and sounds great) along with a commentary track; the second disc contains a thirty-minute or so "making of" piece, a few short (about ten minutes each) companion pieces that provide additional details about different aspects of the production, the deleted scenes I mentioned, and a cute piece (a few minutes long) showing how a scene from the movie was inspired by a scene in the comics. The third disc is simply a digital copy of the film that you can upload and watch on your PC.
I hope that the DVD release of "The Incredible Hulk" puts the movie over the top financially, offsetting its somewhat lackluster box office (so much for blowing the Ang Lee film out of the water). It would be be nice to see another chapter in this saga, after all, and without having to suffer through another re-boot, or semi-reboot, or whatever confusing technique they'd end up employing in a hand-wringing gesture to overthink the concept of what people want from this character that's simultaneously highly commercial and "what's he really about?" offbeat.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2012
I just viewed the '03 and '08 versions back to back and it's interesting comparing their strengths and weaknesses because they're essentially the same movie. The main difference is that the '08 version omits the conflict Bruce has with his father and exchanges the Absorbing Man (Bruce's father) for the Abomination.
The 2008 version starts out better than the 2003 version, more interesting and entertaining, but tends to lose steam by the third act with the ultra-cartooney fight between Hulk and the Abomination. By contrast, the '03 version starts out slow and relatively boring but strongly revives interest by the 90-minute mark when the Hulk has that spectacular rampage that starts in the desert and ends in San Francisco, which lasts a whole 22 minutes. In fact, this rampage is easily one of the most entertaining action pieces in the history of cinema and worth the price of admission. The '08 version has some quality action, for sure, but nothing that even comes close to the main rampage in the '03 version.
Edward Norton in the '08 version plays a better Bruce Banner than Eric Bana. Not that Bana isn't likable, it's just that he's simply too much of a tall, muscleman to fit the role. He looks like he could kick some serious arse without even becoming the Hulk, which takes away from the whole concept.
Although the Hulk in the '08 version has a grittier overall appearance, the filmmakers opted for a snot-greened hue, whereas the '03 Hulk has a better shade of green. Furthermore, '03 Hulk looks more realistic and less cartooney, although the facial features of the '08 Hulk are excellent.
The '03 version also shows the Hulk jumping around with incredible leaps - almost flying - as he does in the comics, which the '08 version barely implies. The likely reason for this is that the filmmakers rightly realized they couldn't even touch Ang Lee's film in this area.
Of course the '03 Hulk is bogged down by the origin story, while the '08 version breezes through it in literally 3 minutes. To make matters worse for the '03 version, changes were made that slow the story down and needlessly complicate it. In the comic Bruce Banner became the Hulk after accidentally being exposed to gamma rays from a huge government test-bomb in the desert. In Hulk '03 the Hulk's origin is complicated by being tied to Bruce's mad scientist father who experimented on him when he was a little boy. Although one has to allow some latitude in comic-to-film translation these changes definitely slow the story down and make the origin less immediately gratifying. BUT it does offer a father/son conflict to the table.
The '08 version changes the Hulk's origin as well, making it similar to the TV show, plus tying it in to the "super soldier" serum. The '08 version wins the prize on this front.
Some say that the '08 version opts for brawn over the brainy approach of the '03 version, but -- with the exception of Hulk's fight with the Abomination at the end -- this isn't even remotely true. Each film has a lot of drama and I was impressed with the reverent, realistic tone both films have in their non-hulk portions. Banner's relationship with Betty Ross is particularly well-done and moving, especially in the '08 version. Great job by the principles here -- Bana, Norton, Jennifer Connelley and Liv Tyler.
Great soundtracks in both versions.
So, both films are quality Hulk flicks with some great moments and the '03 version with its spectacular 22-minute Hulk rampage, but each have their strengths and weaknesses. Take the best parts of both and you'd have an incredible Hulk film! (Sorry)
Needless to say, if you're a Hulk fan it's necessary to purchase BOTH films.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
WARNING: This review contains SPOILERS.
Coming on the heels of the terrific Iron Man (Two-Disc Special Collectors' Edition), I was a little concerned that lightning wouldn't strike twice for Marvel. But I'm happy to report that The Incredible Hulk was every bit as good as Iron Man. Maybe, in some small ways, even better.
I was a huge fan of the Bill Bixy/Lou Ferrigno t.v. series, even though it bore little resemblance to the Marvel comic book. But it was great entertainment, full of action, and a better-than-average peformance from Bill Bixby as Dr. David Banner. Louis Letterier's big-screen reboot wisely takes a note (several notes, in fact) from the series, turning the film into a sort of "Fugitive" with gamma radiation. There are several sly references to the t.v. show, including cameos by Ferrigno, the late Bixby, a young journalism student named Jack McGee, and for one brief nostalgia-laden moment. . .that aching, unforgettable piano theme which closed each episode.
OK, fine, you say, what about the film itself? Norton, who also co-wrote the script, handles his duties as Banner as well as can be expected. I've never been a huge fan of Liv Tyler, but she's also well cast as Betty Ross (reportedly Norton wrote the part with Tyler in mind). William Hurt overracts like mad as General Ross, who's probably the most "comic book" character in the film. Well...no, Eli Roth's character becomes another rampaging creature, in a predictably CGI-heavy climax.
Still, for all its occasional predictability and reliance on special effects, the film offers many fine moments. The 2 or 3 big action set pieces are expertly-realized, with a standoff on a college campus standing out as one of the most memorable sequences. And, like the Hulk of comic book origin, this Hulk can talk. And although he's a creature of few words, I guarantee you'll remember each one.
Although it was eclipsed by Iron Man in box office receipts, The Incredible Hulk was a solid hit, and is certainly a welcome addition to big-screen Marvel universe. A closing cameo from Robert Downey Jr. ties the two films together neatly. And you can bet we'll be seeing more Hulk on the big screen in the future.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
"The Incredible Hulk," while not a perfect film, is a much better film that the disastrous "Hulk" directed a few years ago by Oscar-winning director Ang Lee. In this previous film, Ang and the screenplay writers concocted a backstory involving Bruce Banner's father that wasn't in the comic book, adding a soap opera element that didn't bolster the story, wasted the talents of Eric Bana (who played Banner), Nick Nolte, Jennifer Connelly, and Sam Elliott, and featured a fight between The Hulk and three genetically altered dogs, including a poodle!
This film picks up the thread of the previous film, but to much better affect. The father is thankfully absent, Bana is replaced by Edward Norton, Connelly is replaced by Liv Tyler playing Betty Ross, Banner's girlfriend, and William Hurt replaces Elliott, and plays General Thunderbolt Ross, the army officer chasing the Hulk and Betty's father. Banner is on the run and hiding out in Brazil when he is tracked down by the US Army and has to flee. In the meantime, he has found online a scientist who might be able to reverse the gamma radiation damage that cause Banner to become the Hulk. Tim Roth plays a Special Forces soldier who is willing to do anything to catch the Hulk, including becoming just like him.
Although Roth's character becomes The Hulk's comic book nemesis, The Abomination, this movie is not the abomination Ang Lee's film turned out to be. This is a film that should appeal to most Hulk fans and seems more like the kind of film that comic books fans would expect. It's not perfect, but it is much better than the previous film, and makes one hopeful that the series can be continued with films that will be worth watching.