The Hulk (2003)

I went to see this movie as a favor to a friend. I was not too keen on enduring the excessive computer graphics, but was actually impressed with the quality. Aside from providing the much needed background as to who the hulk is or how he became the hulk (for those of us who may not know), the movie was well done. The computer graphics will not be confused with the live action, but it blends nicely and doesn’t distract from the story.
When the first teaser trailer for the Hulk showed last summer, it did not show the Hulk at all. When I saw it I did not know that the hulk would be a CG character. The only movie that I have seen with realistic CG people was Final Fantasy (and now Final Flight of the Osirus by the same company). When I heard later that the Hulk would be CG I was skeptical. Lou Ferigno would be out of a job.

Then the second trailer wad released a couple months ago, it did feature the Hulk. Rather than go for the ultra-realism of Final Fantasy, the Hulk remained more stylized like a cartoon character running around in a live action movie. The commercials make it look more like Roger Rabbit and Spiderman.

The second trailer showed the Hulk swinging a tank around and being chased by helicopters. This is out of context and looked really bad to me. They of course play this commerical over and over. I was a fan of the Friday night episodes of The Incredible Hulk TV show with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferigno. I never saw Lou Ferigno swing a tank around like a toy.

At this point, it am laughing at his movie. I’m thinking the CG will be really bad. The CG will make or break this movie. I’m not really interested in seeing the Hulk. My expectations are only slightly raise by a TV interview clip that I see. Sam Elliot is being interviewed on a Morning new show and he is raving about the movie. Ok, so maybe it could be good. I’ll give it a chance.

With school out, I get invited to go see it with the kids for a matinee. First thing I notice is the it is rated PG-13. Why is a comic book movie rated PG-13. This movie is being marketed to kids from the wall of Hulk toys at Wal-Mart to the Green Slurpee at 7-Eleven. Before taking my kids to see it, I am scouring the Internet looking for a review to help me decide if it is ok for the kids. X-Men 2 was a bit too rough to take the kids for example even though X-Men was acceptable. Both were PG-13. It turns out that the PG-13 was deserved. There are a could of particularly violent scenes that I felt could have been trimmed out a bit or toned down. The scene is dark and much is inferred from the sound. The rating also came from seeing a naked post-Hulk butt. Ok, deal with it. The guy is 15′ tall and still wearing 32″ underwear — no wonder he’s angry.

Back to the green guy. The Hulk does not appear for the first half of this 2-1/2 hour movie. When he does appear on the big screen, he does look more believeable than he did on my little 32″ TV. He still has that Stretch Armstrong look but you start to get used to that. As the Hulk gets more angry, he gets bigger. At one point he’s over 15 foot tall and there’s an omage to King Kong or Mighty Joe Young.

The movie progresses along and you learn all you ever wanted to learn about the Hulk’s genesis and his family life. You get to see Nick Nolte dressed up like his mug shot. Towards the end of the movie you are actually interested in seeing how this green plastic guy will escape (or die). The at the last possible moment, the movie turns stupid. They introduce a new super bad guy and really don’t explay what’s going on. Then boom the movies over. I’m left with a real case of let down.

Can I recommend this movie? If you like comic books, then you probably already see this one. This is not a super hero movie. The Hulk is not Spider Man or Superman trying to save the world. It is not even the X-Men with good versus evil. This movie has more in common with King Kong and that other green guy Godzilla. If you do want to see this, you cannot wait for video. I think you need the big screen to appreciate the CG animation.

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