"You're making me angry." - The Incredible Hulk Movies Thread ***Spoilers***

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by Jedi_Master_Conor, Aug 17, 2006.

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  1. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

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    I am, as you may know, one of those rare persons who actually likes, even loves, Ang Lee's HULK. I find it a fascinating and finely-crafted experiment, a kind of arthouse superhero film, a Greek drama of a father-son struggle that can only lead to a horrendous, deus-ex-machina death. But I also recognize its limitations; the plot is complex and sometimes inscrutable for first or even third-time viewers, and is not true either to its comic-book or popluar TV-series origins. The action scenes are few and far between, and the Hulk-dog battle is so poorly-lit as to be unwatchable on some monitors unless you brighten the picture. For some critics of the movie, only the desert sequence is salvageable as anything approximating their conception of the Hulk, and I agree that these scenes are exhilerating and hit very close to the mark. For me, somehow, the rest of the film clicks -- I "get" it; it works beautifully on an intellectual and emotional level. But I recognize that not everyone can be expected to devote the loving attention to it that I have done, in trying to understand its bizarre twists and intricacies, its artful use of split-screen imagery, its Jungian underpinnings. For most people, it is an unintelligible trainwreck of a movie.
  2. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

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    WARNING: Some SPOILERS AHEAD.

    The Incredible Hulk, by contrast, is a crowd-pleasing thrill ride! The first hour is a little slow as we establish what has happened to Bruce Banner retconning the Lee version to introduce connections to a military super-soldier experiment) and get our first glimpses of the titular man-beast inside a shadowed factory in Brazil. By the time Banner has returned to the States, reunited with his impossible love interest Betty Ross, and hulked out in spectacular style against super-soldier Blonsky, the movie has got us by the lapels and refuses to let go for an instant. The filmmaking style of the picture is neither the cool, methodical precision of Ang Lee nor the hyper-mad flourish of Sam Raimi, but rather a kind of crystal-clear, everything-is-visible approach that suits the material passably well. No particular scene or shot in the main body of the movie stands out as especially dazzling or amazing, but somehow the movie turns out to be more than the sum of its parts. Each scene builds on the previous bit and sets up the slightly more interesting bit to follow. The climax -- and I cannot stress this enough -- is a mind-blowing clash of the titans the likes of which you have never seen. The subtext and underlying thematic elements, as in Iron Man, are wafer thin: two monstrous creations want to kill each other. End of story. But the eye-popping, brain-pummeling intensity with which this basic premise is presented is par none in the history of sci-fi/action cinema. It must be freaking seen to freaking be believed. At film's end, the final shots of the title character -- and in retrospect his handling throughout the story -- are so heart-warmingly, pulse-quickeningly true to the character as depicted in both Marvel comics and the beloved 70s series that I could not help but shed a tear. Super hero movies don't get any better than this.
  3. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

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  4. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    One comment I had as soon as the film concluded was, with all that goes on in the final battle, that if I were a NYC roofer, I'd be incredibly proud. Made to last! ;)
  5. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Spoiler warning: yes, there are likely some spoilers to follow. Not that they'll really spoil anything. Is there any doubt how this movie will turn out?

    I fully expected to loathe the new Incredible Hulk movie. After all, director Louis Leterrier's previous film, Transporter 2, was awful, as were the trailers for his newest opus. To my surprise, I ended up rather enjoying the movie. Which is not to say there isn't a lot wrong with it, because there is. But the movie works well enough as a brainless action flick.

    For starters, Ed Norton, while an overrated actor, is far better as Bruce Banner than was Eric Bana. And the Hulk model is incredibly detailed and much less fake looking than in the first film (though still not entirely convincing) (and the character design was better, I thought, in Ang Lee's effort). The special effects are excellent throughout. Gone is Lee's subtext-laden Greek tragedy of a comic book movie, with its long talkey sequences made unbearable by the incredibly passive performances of the leads. The opening shot in Brazil is breathtaking. And there are comics references enough to bring your general comic book fan to geekgasm. But, as I said, there's plenty wrong with the movie.

    First of all, there was no reason whatsoever to modify Hulk's origin story so that, instead of taking the gamma blast to save a life, he deliberately exposed himself because he was so sure that his science would work. No longer is his origin heroic. For what reason? There is none. Just an arbitrary change.

    Second, the thing with the Hulk change being initiated by a heart rate of 200bpm really didn't work. Maybe Banner's got an abnormal heart, but the normal human heart will virtually never reach 200bpm. His pulse goes up to 150 when he gets slapped in the face? 150 when making out with his girlfriend? His pulse shouldn't be anywhere near 150 at that point. Maybe if they'd made Hulk-out point 160. . . Or maybe if they'd just stuck with the anger thing instead of tying it to heart rate. . .

    To my taste, Liv Tyler on her best day (which this is not) is no match for Jennifer Connelly on her worst (which Hulk very possibly was). I find her neither convincing nor attractive. Others obviously feel differently, but I've yet to see her carry a role. Similarly, William Hurt's boring General Ross is no Thunderbolt, and certainly no match for Sam Elliott's version in the previous film. His moustache is also far less impressive than his predecessor's. Tim Roth started out okay as a seasoned soldier but became very annoying very quickly after he got kicked into a tree.

    This movie's action sequences are certainly visually impressive, with first-rate effects, but there's nothing here to match the extended desert fight sequence in Ang Lee's version (for all its faults, it did get some scenes right). The claustrophobic early factory fight is not terrible interesting. The movie's central set piece on a college campus looks good but progresses like a video game: The infantry shoots at Hulk. When he takes them out, Ross grumbles, "Where are those .50 cals?" and lo and behold they show up! And fail! Which leaves Ross wondering, "What's taking those cannons so long," -- and wouldn't you know? The cannons show up! And when they inevitably fail, he asks, "Where's that darned gunship?" And it appears! Would it not have made more sense to actually synchronize the assault to immobilize Hulk and then hit him with everything they've got? After all, they already know bullets don't particularly bother him, so why bother working him up by placing a bunch of soldiers in his path? Why shoot at him, then immobilize him and not shoot at him, and then continue shooting once he's free again? The final fight scene is one CGI monster vs another, which is not generally a terribly interesting thing, although this is more engaging than most. The scene ultimately doesn't really work because it's one of those cases of the bad monster being stronger and faster than the good monster until, inexplicably, he suddenly isn't anymore and gives up. Also, Banner'
  6. Spiderfan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2004
    star 6
    To be fair, while I think its apparent that they intended that scene to be a post credits moment a lot of people missed that moment in Iron Man so I guess they really wanted people to see that...though I am a little surprised that they wouldn't take advantage of people who would go see it again just to see that scene. Then again this wasn't nearly as good (nor the final moments nearly as good) as Iron Man
  7. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    I get the impression that they included the Stark scene before the credits to make it the "we're building up to Avengers" announcement for the general moviegoing public, whereas the "hidden" scene after the credits in Iron Man was the announcement for the hardcore fanbase.


    I could be wrong, but I seem to recall it was Blonsky or another soldier that tipped off Banner/went in against orders before everyone was in place, which is why you had ground troops already on site (easier to remain out of Banner's sight), vehicles coming in next (as they'd presumably have to be parked farther away to avoid detection) and then the air support (even farther away so you wouldn't hear it).
  8. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    He saw a sniper, sure, but the repetitive format was what drove it home. One thing fails, Ross asks where the next thing is, repeat.
  9. Yodaminch Force Ghost

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    Mar 6, 2002
    star 5
    I saw it last night and was pleased. I would certainly say it had flaws, but compared to the like of the theatrical release of Daredevil, Nicolas Cage as Ghostrider and Spider-Man 3: The Musical, this was quite entertaining if you knew you were going in for "Hulk Smash", which I was.

    That opening credits moved a bit fast for me, but I did catch the Nick Fury on the paper, The Stark Industries logo and the multiple references to SHIELD. Also enjoyed the tie to the super soldier program but I agree that it was unnecessary to alter Banner's origin like that.

    I'm not a big Hulk buff, so can someone tell me exactly what happened at the end when Mr.Blue's head enlarged. Is he supposed to be the leader? I think I recall leader being the one with the big head.

    I think the movie moved so fast that you really couldn't see any bad cgi and really I thought the final sequence was quite impressive and did deliver a bit more than the fight between Stark and Stane.

    Disappointed that the entire artic scene was cut. I heard a rumor they were uploading the scene online soon, hopefully that's true.

    Stark's scene was great, but why not insert it prior to Betty's last scene. It seems perfectly fine for it to go Stark/Ross, Betty, Bruce. I realize it was a last minute change, but that seems like something that could have been inserted fairly well. And yes in less than 1 minute, Stark stole the show. However, I was pleased with Norton's portrayal.

    Also enjoyed our sneak peak at what Captain America may look like when Blontsky was fighting Hulk the first time and moved some of those acrobatics.
  10. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    Yeah, his real name, Samuel Sterns, is the same as The Leader.
  11. Anakin_Skywalker20 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2000
    star 5
    Great movie. 9/10

    and to the poster who said Liza...her name is Liv tyler and she was great as Betty.
  12. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    James Van Der Beek should have been The Leader. Look at that noggin!

    [image=http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/MMPH/248358~James-Van-Der-Beek-Posters.jpg]
  13. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    What's the deal with the length. Apparently there are 70? 90? minutes of deleted footage. And apparently the director's cut was about 135 minutes. And the final cut ended up beeing 114. I know the director said all the deleted stuff would be on the Blu-Ray. Has there been any word whether there might be a director's cut available on DVD?
  14. Spiderfan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2004
    star 6
    The one interview I saw Leterrier said that as far as he was concerned this was the definitive cut of the film and he would not be persuing another extended one. However the deleted scenes should appear on the DVD.

    I have said it before but I wonder if thats where are lot of the thinned plot and character development went was to the cutting room floor because the film felt incredibly sparse.
  15. Darth-Lando Chosen One

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    Aug 12, 2002
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    That makes sense to me. That seems to be the kind of think that Norton would want and it's been reported that he wasn't happy with the final cut.
  16. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

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    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
  17. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    One thing I'm curious about. It just popped into my head, and I don't know if I'm misremembering or not: Did the scene change from broad daylight suddenly to night near the end of Incredible Hulk?
  18. Darth_Maul_Sith_Lord Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2004
    star 4
    I thought Hulk was awesome. Fun and action-packed, with great comedic moments that didn't feel silly or out of place, great cast, and well paced. Yeah I could probably sit here and nit-pick the **** out of it, but why? It was what it was; a good comic flick. And after that last Hulk P.O.S., I'm just glad they decided to go back and fix it, so the franchise might actually survive.

    Now bring on the Bat...

    D_M_S_L
  19. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    First of all, what was so bad about the previous Hulk film that they needed to "go back and fix it"? I can only think of one of the changes that they "retconned" that would have made any material difference in this film. (That one change was making Bruce's research part of a super soldier project from the beginning - and that could have easily been fixed by referring to David Banner's research instead of Bruce's.)

    If they wanted to reboot the franchise, they should have started over again from the origin story. But they didn't do that. It would have cost them almost nothing to maintain the links to the previous film - a slightly different opening is all. In doing that, they would have been able to "fix" the complaints about the previous film while also taking full advantage of its strengths. It would have been win-win, and it would have given something to everyone - both the people who like the previous film and those who disliked it.

    It just seems like such a waste to me. They threw out so much potential to make what, in the end, was nothing more than an entertaining popcorn flick.

    And don't get me wrong. It was a fun movie to watch, but it could have been so much more.

    Kimball Kinnison
  20. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

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    The origin story was revised to more closely resemble the CBS-TV version, in which Banner irradiated himself for pure self-interest, AND to bring the story in line with the Ultimate/super-soldier storyline in anticipation of the Captain America/Avengers movies to follow in 2011. You may not agree with or enjoy this approach, but to say "there is no reason whatsoever to modify Hulk's origin" is an error. Further, that Banner uses himself as a test subject in this new version is essentially heroic, since he risks his life and health for the sake of his research.

    I wondered about this myself. This page says that adults have a heart rate of between 60 and 90 beats per minute, while infants have a heart rate of between 100 and 150 beats per minute. I suppose it's possible that the writers conceived of Banner as having an infant's heart rate, though why this should be so is anyone's guess. Or perhaps the idea is simply that Banner has an abnormally high heart rate, that because of the super-soldier serum becomes even higher when he is under some degree of stress. Either way, since heart rate information is readily available on the Internet and elsewhere, the writers must have had some medical concept in mind that simply did not make it to the finished film. And, since anger and heart rate are tied together, it makes sense that any degree of excitement -- even sexual -- will cause Banner to change.

    The air-drop Hulk-out is taken from a latter-day issue of the comic book. If you dislike it, that's fine, but the writers did not invent it out of whole cloth and it has a firm basis in the source material. The end battle may not be engaging conceptually -- "one CGI monster vs. another" -- but this kind of brain-pummeling clash of the titans has its roots in the beloved Harryhausen/Shneer "Dynamation" films of the 60s-80s, and in my perception has never been done better or more jaw-droppingly than in this new film. At the climax, it isn't that Abomination "suddenly isn't stronger and faster anymore", it's that he's [Shakespeare]foisted by his own petard[/Shakespeare] (the ball-and-chain apparatus), with which Hulk strangles the villain into submission. There is nothing "inexplicable" about it.

    Well, Stark is Stark and Banner is Ban
  21. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
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    star 5
    It's hardly inexplicable - the film clearly shows the Hulk seeing Betty in danger trying to get out of the helicopter while the Abomination restrains him, which makes the Hulk very angry; and the angrier the Hulk gets, the stronger he gets! This is the way fights against the Abomination always go in the comics - the Abomination is stronger than the Hulk's default strength, but the Hulk has the unique ability to increase his strength as he becomes more enraged, so eventually he is stronger than his opponent.

    As for comparisons with Ang Lee's Hulk, yes, the newer film is not as ambitious or intellectual, but it is a much better translation of the comic-book, and it captures its spirit in a way that the 2003 Hulk did not.

    I hated the 2003 Hulk when I first saw it in the cinema. Later, when I caught it for a second time on tv, I realised how much of it was good. There is a lot to love and admire in the film. However, it really is too pretentious for the family-targeted movie that Marvel needed it to be. Also, some of the dialogue was not good, and there were some surprisingly flat performances from good actors (not all the way through, but at times). Finally, the third act didn't deliver.

    I have come to really appreciate Ang Lee's Hulk, having now seen it 3 or 4 times, but it is not flawless. I think the newer film is much closer to the comic-book./>
  22. Spiderfan Jedi Grand Master

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    Mar 9, 2004
    star 6
    Part of my problem with Hulk in general and the new movie in particular (or more specifically people's reactions to both) is that its easily assumed that the Hulk needs to be a mindless smashing character of violence, rage and destruction and anything else is a deviation. Indeed that is what the character is, but part of the fun of the character is the dichotomy and duality of him. On one side you have the highly intelligent, articulate and subtle scientist on the other you have the mindless monster that reacts almost entirely based on instinct, smash and destroying everything in sight. But far too often only the latter is represented. To me its the former that makes the character interesting. Its why the show worked for so many people because it focuses on Banner's continuing struggles, not on the Hulk's rampaging. As much as the second one provides more accurate elements of the comicbooks, I applaud Lee's efforts to explore the deeper recesses of the troubled scientist dive deeper into the man to understand the monster. I would hardly call the pretentious. I call it character development. Thats not to say that Norton and Leterrier did a poor job of exploring the more human aspects in favour of constant action but the film was definitely thin on character and story development.

    In all sincerity I find it difficult to compare the two because despite being the same character and franchise they are very different beasts themselves.

    Maybe I don't get the Hulk but I have always preferred stories of the Hulk when they explore the deeper relationship between the two sides of the same man and where all of that comes from, rather than rely entirely on "lets see how much **** Hulk can destroy before we have to stop him."
  23. soitscometothis Force Ghost

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    Hey, the Hulk was never one of my favourite comics - the Hulk himself is a fairly uninteresting character, and the comic-book offered fairly predictable thrills. Yes, the duality of the character offers interesting possibilities, but at its core the premise of the Hulk stories is fairly simple and visceral: little guy gets picked on by bullies, little guy transforms into big guy with no restraints and gives bullies a taste of their own medicine. It has a very basic wish-fulfilment appeal, especially to kids. The tv show offered smaller-scale action, limiting the Hulk-outs to one midway through the episode, and one at its climax - pretty much the structure of David Carradine's Kung Fu show. It was a structure that very much fitted the episodic tv format and played to its strengths... and budget. The show never really tried to get to grips with why Banner had this repressed rage, or his underlying psychological make-up - it just followed its (fairly generic) formula. The comic book was always about the action, and the Hulk being "the strongest one there is" - a pretty much unstoppable force of justice and/or revenge.

    I have to admit I never regularly followed the Hulk because I found him less interesting than other heroes. Byrne did some interesting issues, and Peter David did all sorts of interesting stuff with the character, but the book always returned to "Hulk smash!", because for good or ill, that is the core of the comic-book.

    I really do love so much about Ang Lee's Hulk, I'm just saying that the new film is closer to what people were expecting from a Hulk movie. The Hulk himself is still a dull character, though. :p
  24. Spiderfan Jedi Grand Master

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    Mar 9, 2004
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    Indeed which is my point entirely. I will never understand why people feel that a duller smash-em-up Hulk that provides little rhyme or reason just setup after setup for chaos and destruction, is more interesting and more true to form than something that explores the inner workings and events that lead to a simple man becoming a monster and how he deals with it. For all its simplicity in a formulaic sense, Hulk has the potential of being one of the most complex characters in all of comics, but in my experience rarely does it stray from "Hulk Smash." Hulk Smash is fun, granted but it becomes shallow and unsatisfying after a period of time. Thats essentially what this one was. Yes it was a truer interpretation in that sense, but I question why that is better...or even good for that matter.

    Afterall Stan Lee's inspiration for the character was a mixture of Frankenstein's misunderstood monster who was a victim as much as he was a villain and Jeckyl/Hyde who seem to be the very model of duality in modern literature. There is an abundance of complexity there worth exploring in my mind. Thus I am an advocate of Ang Lee's take (minus the ridiculous third act of course).

    I accept that I am in the minority, I just like to question the reasoning of the majority. :p
  25. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    My problem with Ang Lee's Hulk was not that it was talky or introspective. My problem was that the characters played their parts so passively. I don't mind introspect, but Bana and especially Connelly were just so flat that I couldn't bring myself to care.

    And, as I said, I think that the desert fight scene in Hulk is more exciting than anything in The Incredible Hulk.

    Vortigern99 -- (1) I still say there was no reason to modify the origin away from Banner being irradiated while saving someone else. There's no reason he couldn't have been doing supersoldier stuff and still been willing to sacrifice himself to save someone in danger. (2) We're basically on the same page. (3) Just because something works in a comic doesn't mean it'll work in a movie. Characters routinely have full conversations in comics during action that in a movie would take a second or two at most (while falling a couple stories; during intense combat; etc.) If I want to read the comics I'll read the comics. I go to the movies to see a good movie. As for the monster vs. monster, I acknowledged that the monster vs. monster bit was about as exciting an example of that as I've ever seen. It's simply not a thing that's much to my taste. As far as Hulk getting the upper hand, I know that he gets stronger, and I know that he strangled the Abomination with the chain. I just don't think that part was conveyed well. After Hulk decided not to kill Blonsky, Blonsky just lay there writhing on the ground. I didn't buy it. The guy was a fighter, and I thought it was cheap to have him go submissive at the end rather than fight to the inevitable death. (And yes, I know the "Hulk doesn't kill" -- except we already saw him killing Blonsky once in the film.) (4) I wasn't saying Banner should've been more like Stark. I was saying that the second Tony walked on, it brought a whole different tone to the film, right at the end, and it didn't really seem to fit, and further, to me it hurt the film because the tone it introduced came from a superior movie. It seems clear that this was meant to go after the credits, and I think it should've stayed there.
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