Not enough SMASHING
Directed by: Ang Lee
Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Josh Lucas, Nick Nolte, Stan Lee, Lou Ferrigno and Sam Elliot.
To kick off my second road to the Avengers, I give you Hulk, as one of Marvel's strongest if not the strongest hero/villain. Back in '03, before the movie was officially in theaters, I turned to my parents to ask them if they ever heard of the hulk. Much to my surprise, my mom was more informed about the character than my dad. She later introduced me to the classic Hulk with Bill Bixby as Bruce Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the giant green titan. Before watching Ang Lee's interpretation of the character, my dad bought me all the Bixby movies and I fell in love with the character like I did with Spiderman the first time I saw him on the big screen.
Almost entering the teen years, I went with my mom to see this spectacle on opening day. While I enjoyed watching the green monster take the military out, sadly, I was depending on Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) getting angry to keep me awake and interesting. I don't dislike Lee's work, but he should have made the drama he was trying to create more interesting. After re-watching the movie since last I saw it, seven years ago to be exact, it all clicked. It's no secret that Banner's power is more of a curse than a gift from the heavens. This is what the drama was going for. We explored Bruce's curse, and that of Betty Ross, for her father's quarrel in the military and with Bruce cursed her life from her childhood years. Bruce tries to remember (not wanting to) his birth parents as well. Both of them are damaged yet ment to be together. Then again, how many women out there go for the emotionally distant fellow?
The origin was tweaked a little in order to introduce Banner senior (Nick Nolte), a former scientist working for the military in trying to achieve a super soldier serum, yet completely unrelated to the WWII serum. Using natural herbs and lizard DNA, he succeeded in creating a regenerative cellurar code, unfortunately, passed on to his son, thus having his work ruined and the loss of his mother. Once the gamma radiation took effect, Hulk was born. All said and done, it takes a quarter of the film to get the point across and the Hulk to life. Too much dialog went in writing the 200 paged script, and not very interesting to care too much. I guess you can appeal to the character's better nature, but even now, where I can detect the story within the plot of it all, was boring. Like the tomato page consensus depicts: "Lots of talking, not enough Smashing". Next we have Nick Nolte. Don't get me wrong, he's a maniac and a bastard, and I loved him for embodying the character, but turn ing him into an abomination version of the Absorbing Man was a joke. If the intention was to make his father this sort of villain, he should have been born a lot sooner than the last 15 minutes. The other problem I had then and now, was the cinematography. The night battles or anything at night with Hulk was a bitch to see.
The comic book editing choice was terrible and made the production nearly distracting, especially with Josh Lucas's death, that turned into a comedy instead of a tragedy.
Now that we go through with what didn't work, here's what did. The fight sequence between Hulk and the gamma hounds was and still is my favorite part of the whole movie. We get a taste of Hulk's fighting strength, even though he was kept underrated in terms of power. Next we have the dessert, having Hulk jumping around being free and away from anything that angers him or gives him fear. it gives him some human qualities which was Ang Lee's intention originally. His battle with the military is where the good part actually takes place. we see power, speed and ferocious smashing. The Hulk we know and love. His skin might have been lighter on the green than normal, but hey, he started off grey.
The special effects don't hold up too much with all the advancements in CGI since, but on average, it can still be an entertaining movie. We never got a sequel, but what can you expect with only 60 million dollars in profits. However, we can thank MCU for their Avenger's initiative and rebooting the character with a worthy continuity flick.
Overall, it's a worthy Marvel film. Not their best, but as of 2008, they got their act together.
Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus.