The Incredible Hulk DVD: Review By Brian Gallagher

I’m glad that Ang Lee’s film was just called Hulk, because it truly does not deserve the preface of Incredible like this film does.
  • OVERALL
    4.5
    SUPERB
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
Smashing performances from Edward Norton, Tim Roth William Hurt along with outstanding writing, directing and special effects.
THE BAD
Never been a Liv Tyler fan and the ending (NOT the very very end, though) is a tad too open. More special features would be nice also.
THE FEATURE
I don't know why, but The Incredible Hulk was one of the few movies that I wanted to see this summer, but somehow didn't get around to it. I really didn't see anything in the month of June besides Wanted, now that I think about it. Perhaps it was financial and the fact that a $14 movie is unheard of where I come from in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. That logic is the most likely case, but now, after finally seeing it on DVD, I wish I would've seen this glorious second film from Marvel Studios in the theater, because, especially in the theaters around here, it would've surely been worth it.

It's no bold statement that Marvel Studios went 2-for-2 this summer, with the blockbuster summer-opening flick Iron Man in early May, and this as a brilliant follow-up a month and a half later. Although this didn't quite have the box office following as Iron Man, it still turned in a solid $135 million domestic performance, even though I think its damn-near equal in quality to Iron Man, although they are much different films. While Iron Man was brilliant in showing off the lighter side while not taking it too far, The Incredible Hulk shows us the darker side of things in this wonderful human drama aout a gy who's not so human when he's angry.

I was quite intrigued and pleasantly surprised at the breakneck pace with which they open the film. Instead of spending the first 20 minutes setting up the story of how Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) became the title character, Zak Penn's marvelous script speeds us through the story we already know in a zippy opening scene that extends through the opening credit sequence with headlines flying about... with a few other superhero name-drops along the way as well. This brings us to Brazil, where Bruce Banner has been hiding out for awhile, making a modest living working at a soda bottling factory and trying to find a cure for his green disease that festers inside him. After a bizarre, but buyable, chain of events are set in motion, General Ross (William Hurt) has finally tracked down his experiment gone awry and sets out to bring him back and use his new genetic makeup as a new military weapon. Naturally, Bruce goes on the run, trying to control his temper throughout... but of course that only lasts for so long and, when he's unleashed, he has to face his old flame (Liv Tyler), who thought he was long since dead, and a new enemy in Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) who becomes an abomination of a soldier.

One of my only beefs is with Liv Tyler. I never find her attractive and rarely find her believable or even compelling in mostly anything she does, save Empire Records. There could've been a million different actresses who could've brought more to the role, but I guess she really wasn't used that much anyway, so a bigger name would've been almost wasted... so maybe it was a good pick. Still, there will likely be a sequel and then we'll have to see her and her wooden mannerisms once more. While I do like the ambiguity of the ending, it is a little too much on the ambiguous side and way too open-ended for my tastes. Of course, I don't mean the very very very end, with a special guest appearance by Movie Man of the Year shoe-in Robert Downey Jr. as the incomparable Tony Stark, because that part was great. Simply great, folks. The normal movie ending before that, though, was a little weird though and could've been cleaned up a bit more.

Edward Norton turns in a superb performance as Bruce Banner/Hulk here, and I think he was just as inspired a choice as the ballsy move to put Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man get-up. While Norton wasn't really in need of a "comeback" on the scale that Downey needed and duly deserved, mainstream audiences haven't really seen him around much since The Italian Job five years ago, and he's been doing some indies since then. I must say, though, that The Illusionist, and his performance therein were both absolutely astonishing. SEE IT NOW if you haven't already. Still, Norton hasn't' been as visible of late and it's great to see him shine once again in front of a grand stage like this. He gives Bruce Banner the emotional drive he needs, with the chops to throw in a little humor and other dramatic moments that are called for. William Hurt was also pretty dang good, although a teensy bit over the top in places, as General Ross, Tim Roth is his normally-solid self as Blonsky and Tim Blake Nelson is wonderful in a small but foreshadowning part as Dr. Samuel Sterns. Oh yeah, also, aside from Downey Jr., look for a cameos from Hulk lore such as Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno and, of course, Stan Lee.

The real stars of the movie, though, just might be writer Zak Penn, director Louis Leterrier and the incredible visual effects team. Leterrier has had a more-than-competent track record with action films, but he really ups the ante here and brings this iconic character back to reality, so to speak. Gone are the artsy-fartsy poetic ways of Ang Lee and Leterrirer brings us back to the comic roots with some incredible action scenes. He's teamed with the wonderful writing of Zak Penn, who rids the film of most of the comic-book campy stuff - save a great line or two ("Don't make me... hungry..." Brilliant!) and brings a darker, more dramatic feel to the comic book movie genre, that was later proved to be quite successful with another summer film you might have seen about bats and jokers. On top of all that, the visual effects are likely some of the best and most realistic you'll ever see, giving you the feel that this comic book character is really being brought to life, in real life, not in comic book life.

If you waited as long as I did to see The Incredible Hulk, you should remedy that problem right away, because this is truly one for not just any comic book lover's shelf, but any movie lover's shelf.
THE EXTRAS
Sadly, I just got the single-disc edition to review, and all we get here are some Deleted Scenes. We get a whopping six deleted scenes altogether, two of which explain a little better how he found that flower cure when he was still in Brazil, another that shows Banner's ingenuity and how he makes a makeshift centrifuge and an extended scene where Hurt explains the whole shebang to Roth. Those are all actually pretty damn good but the other one, Bruce Meditates, well, look at the title... Still, while this is all we get from the special features on this solo-disc edition, their some solid additions, except that one. Meditation blows.
THE VIDEO
The film is presented in the anamorphic widescreen format, in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
THE AUDIO
The sound is handled through one of two formats. You can either enjoy the smashing sound in the Dolby Digital 5.1 format, or the DVS 2.0 format. Either or, you can hear all the crunches and roars just fine.
THE PACKAGE
Nothing jaw-dropping, but not too bad. The front cover just has the four big stars - Norton, Tyler, Roth and Hurt - up top, with the big title card below that and the rest of the cover taken up by the big green machine himself, and a critic quote down below. The back has a nice little cascading shot of characters, like you usually see in big ensemble drama movie posters, along with a brief special features listing, a nice synopsis, three decent pics from the flick and the billing block and tech specs. Does the job just fine.
THE FINAL WORD
I'm glad that Ang Lee's film was just called Hulk, because it truly does not deserve the preface of Incredible like this film does.

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Comments (14)

  1. T. King (Red Camera Man)

    Awesome movie!

    5 years agoby @redcameramanFlag

  2. Shelley

    Nice review and I agree 100%.

    5 years agoby @shelleyFlag

  3. Timmy

    Great review. great film.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  4. JonSpidey07

    just got done watching this
    it kicks alot more ass than Iron Man
    moves fast and never lets up
    i really do wanna see The Leader in the next one

    5 years agoby @jonspidey07Flag

  5. weightofregret

    i haven't watched it yet, any good?

    5 years agoby @weightofregretFlag

  6. The CryptKeeper

    I will check it out.

    5 years agoby @catwomanFlag

  7. Brian

    Dude! You're all Hulked out!

    5 years agoby @brianFlag

  8. Brian Gallagher

    movieweb/review/RE1A3717GiTM42

    Check it out sometime:) I'll let ya know if I ever watch The Strangers.

    5 years agoby @gallagherFlag

  9. The CryptKeeper

    Never heard of Funny Gamnes, but fair enough. I myself, am a huge horror fan.

    5 years agoby @catwomanFlag

  10. Brian Gallagher

    Haha. I'm just not that huge of a horror fan and the flick looks too much like Funny Games anyway, which was amazing. I'm sure I'll check it out eventually tho.

    5 years agoby @gallagherFlag

  11. The CryptKeeper

    I'm glad you liked Wanted, because there are a lot of people who didn't. I say to the people that didn't like Wanted-

    Why did you even see the movie? You can tell from the trailer what it's gonna be!!

    & I didn't hear good things about Night Watch. But maybe I'll try it.I know I did not like Day Watch.

    And FINE! dont see The Strangers, but dont NOT see it JUST because of Liv Tyler. Because while I really don't care for her much either, she is bearable in that one.

    5 years agoby @catwomanFlag

  12. Brian Gallagher

    I did like Wanted, actually. Quite a bit. Loved Bekmambetov's first flicks, Night Watch and Day Watch. Amazing. Haven't seen The Strangers yet... but I still probably won't like her in that either:)

    Peace in. ODB out!

    5 years agoby @gallagherFlag

  13. The CryptKeeper

    I'll have to buy this today.

    lol Did you like Wanted?

    oh, and Liv Tyler did decent in Te Strangers, which was a great film.

    5 years agoby @catwomanFlag