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Summer Full 'o Movies pt. 5 - The Incredible Hulk

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Nathan Strum

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Okay... so I originally said that I wasn't going to see The Incredible Hulk. But I did anyway. A friend of mine wanted to go, so I figured - "why not?" At the very least, we could make fun of how bad it was afterwards.

 

However, it wasn't that bad of a film. Actually, it was pretty decent. Nowhere near the level of Iron Man, but probably somewhere between Fantastic Four and X-Men.

 

Edward Norton made a good Bruce Banner, and most of the rest of the cast was fine, although Liv Tyler spent most of the film just looking really worried or sad. I never really bought her as being a scientist, but maybe the director didn't either, which is why she didn't seem to have a whole lot of lines in this film.

 

The Hulk generally looked pretty good. Definitely a step-up from the previous effort. However, his skin never really looked like "skin" (yes... it's supposed to be green, but it looked more like a painted texture map, than skin with pores, translucency and so on). Also, they went a little overboard on showing every fiber of every muscle. The problem with that is, the detail never really seemed to flex and relax like it should have. It was just always in a constant state of flex. But the animation was generally very good with him, and there was decent work on conveying his emotion with body language and facial expressions. So for the most part, I still bought him as the Hulk. Generally though, he worked best when you couldn't see him clearly (during the early parts of the film, or in action scenes). Stuff like that is still best left, at least in part, to the imagination.

 

The story was good enough - Bruce is on the run, once again looking for a cure to rid him of the Hulk. No surprise there. Most of the rest of the film is there to set up the final fight between him and the villain of this film - a Hulk-like monster called "The Abomination". One thing I appreciated about the film, is how they snuck in several references to other Marvel characters, and included a few very nice nods to the original Hulk TV series. Yes... that sort of thing can take you out of the film for a few moments, but they were well-placed so they weren't disruptive, and it was nice seeing (and hearing) those brief little snippets. Stan Lee, as always, has his cameo in the film, although he fared a little better in Iron Man. ;) I was hoping they were going to further tie this film in with the rest of the Marvel Universe by making the mystery scientist referred to as "Mr. Blue" turn out to be Reed Richards, but no such luck. It would have made a lot of sense, except that a re-write would have been needed near the end of the film for certain things to happen.

 

The action scenes were generally very good, although there were some obvious missteps such as people running down the street to escape one giant monster, and running directly towards the other one, without so much as a glance in his direction. (Such is the problem with adding in the combatants after-the-fact.) But the fights were fun to watch, and had the requisite over-the-top silliness that you have to have in a Hulk movie. No, the physics really don't make a lot of sense (such as two 1,000 pound behemoths hanging off the fender of a helicopter, or having them battle it out on the rooftop of a building that manages not to collapse under the strain), but if you can buy the Hulk doing some of his trademark moves like clapping his hands to cause a shockwave, or ripping a police car in half like it was paper (what he did with the two halves was my favorite part of the film), then you can probably shut enough of your brain off to buy the rest of it, and have a good time.

 

I was a little disappointed that the final fight wasn't even more completely over the top and ridiculous, but overall, it was a pretty good effort. It certainly set itself up for a sequel (and hinted at other Marvel films), and you don't even have to stay through the end credits to see the "bonus" scene like you did with Iron Man.

 

7/10

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BTW: Is it better or worse than the previous Hulk?

 

I remember back then my wife and me thought the "oversized man" special effect was a bit overdone. Besides Hulk we saw that also with the Thing in Fantastic Four and had two times Mr. Hide, in Van Helsing and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

 

Hehe, we referenced to it as the "in-effect of the year". The year before that we had "lasers slicing people" as in-effect of the year. We had seen that in one summer at least in 13 Ghosts, the Cube, Resident Evil and kinda similar in Ghost Ship.

 

Kinda funny when all new movies adopt a certain effect. Remember the slow-motion fighting scenes from The Matrix or John Woos one gun per hand shootouts? These things... suddenly you see it everywhere.

 

I wonder wether such certain trademark effects like the laser slicing or the "oversized man" come from the same special effects company then, or if it just gets copycatted?

 

Speaking of oversized men, shouldn't the slightly-less-oversized Hellboy get a sequel sometime soon? Loved the first :)

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BTW: Is it better or worse than the previous Hulk?
I think it's better, although I'll admit to not having watched the entire previous Hulk movie. I've seen enough of it on TV to know I really don't want to.
I wonder wether such certain trademark effects like the laser slicing or the "oversized man" come from the same special effects company then, or if it just gets copycatted?
Copycatted. There aren't very many films that only have one effects company working on them anymore. It gets farmed out to a lot of different companies (which is why some films tend to look so uneven). I know what you mean though - someone comes up with an interesting effect, and suddenly it shows up everywhere.
Speaking of oversized men, shouldn't the slightly-less-oversized Hellboy get a sequel sometime soon? Loved the first :)
July 11th.

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Speaking of oversized men, shouldn't the slightly-less-oversized Hellboy get a sequel sometime soon? Loved the first :)
July 11th.

I'm looking forward to that as I enjoyed the first movie.

 

..Al

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With Disney buying Marvel, my wife just wondered if the X-Men will sing between battles in the next movie :ponder:

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I just now read that. Interesting news. I suppose it makes sense, with Warner Bros. having owned DC for some 40 years. Plus, it gives Disney the ability to make any movies (or animated TV series) that the rights haven't been tied-up for. Even then, they still get to reap the box office rewards of Iron Man 2 and so on. Marvel has been really inconsistent in making films and TV series over the years, both in terms of how they approach them, and the resulting quality. Hopefully Disney will be able to make them more cohesive and consistent, and bring everything up to a good standard. Probably the first order of business will be to re-evaluate all of the films currently in pre-production, and figure out what may need fixing, re-casting, or a complete overhaul.

 

I'd also expect them to give Marvel's comic line-up a good going-over. Maybe cancel underperforming or redundant titles. I've looked at some of their release calendars over at IGN, and the number of titles their putting out each month is pretty insane.

 

Another part of this must be the potential for Marvel Superhero theme park attractions. This has been done to some degree with DC comics in the Six Flags theme parks, but hasn't really been exploited all that much. Something like a Marvel-themed area would be a good way to fix up the dreadful California Adventure (which is getting a major and more Disneyland-like overhaul anyway). Although it might be a little weird seeing a costumed Wolverine and Mickey Mouse posing for photos together with theme-park visitors. :ponder:

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