The Herlad Sun Reviews The Hulk
Sunday, June 8 2003
Posted on the Herald Sun
The following was originally posted on the Herald Sun:
A Not So Jolly Green Giant
By Michael McKenna in Los Angeles
IT is about 30 minutes into the new movie blockbuster The Hulk before the big green monster finally thunders across the screen.
And what an entrance the Incredible One makes, aided by startling special effects that could surely win an award or two. Not that this is merely a hi-tech pantomime based on an old comic book anti-hero.
For a start, it stars Melbourne's Eric Bana as the mild-mannered scientist whose clothes burst apart - tastefully leaving just his shorts - as he changes into the muscle-flexing 4.5m-tall monster.
And it is directed by revered Taiwanese director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Sense and Sensibility), who sets out to make a serious movie rather than a mere creature feature.
"All the movies of recent years in this genre have talked down to kids and I wasn't going to do that," Ang said this week at a packed Hollywood preview of The Hulk. "I wanted to tell a story, not just give them action."
The result is a surprisingly dark film, in the same vein as the original Batman.
Bana, who starred in Chopper and Black Hawk Down, delivers torment that lends gravity to the new blockbuster. He said he would not have signed-up to this $225 million Hollywood blockbuster if The Hulk was all about comic-book action.
"Ang was at pains to point out from the beginning that we weren't making a comic book movie - we were making a real movie," he said.
Bana and co-star Nick Nolte, making his movie comeback from a drug arrest last year, are the standouts of the film.
Nolte plays Bana's father, whose genetic experiments lay the seed for his son's ultimate transformation. He does the "mad scientist" role proud and is aided by the dishevelled look that appeared worldwide in his real-life mug shots after his arrest.
The somewhat tortured romantic relationship is between Bana's character and Academy Award-winning actor Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind), who plays the scientist's research colleague, Betty Ross.
It sets the scene for a homage to the classic King Kong with The Hulk showing an almost ridiculous soft spot for Dr Ross amid his violent rages. Any shortcomings are compensated by Ang's theatrical approach to the action sequences.
The action is fast-paced and spectacular, with The Hulk battling everything.
In a new approach to the genre, the screen is repeatedly spliced with varying angles, in a deliberate ploy to replicate the panels of the Marvel comic books from which the film is adapted.
Ang relied on the expertise of San Francisco-based special effects masters employed by Star Wars creator George Lucas.
At first sight, the computer-generated Hulk doesn't look real. But the star of the show is, after all, a green monster and there isn't exactly an off-screen template to work from.
Special effects people took photos of Bana from many angles to create the not-so-jolly green giant. The mix of realism and caricature serves the film and its comic book roots.
The Hulk opens June 26.
I had the opportunity to see a screening of the film at the Hulk Junket last weekend and I'm pretty sure that it takes a bit longer than 30 minutes for the Hulk to appear. But I wasn't looking at my watch. Also, I thought that the effects were spectacular, especially the scenes in the desert.
This is an unofficial fan site and is in no way affiliated with the production of the movie, and all pictures and other material are not intended to infringe on any copyrights owned by Universal Pictures and Marvel Comics. All original content & design Copyright © 2007 GammaStorm.com