Friday, June 20, 2008

The Incredible Hulk

Okay, I promised a review of this movie, and a friend is waiting on it, so I guess I'd better get on with it.

I am not a big fan of comic books, or at least, I don't read them much. I read Elfquest a bit way back when, but I haven't even kept up with that one. Other than that, I just don't read them.

Which isn't to say that they don't often have good stories that make excellent movies or TV shows. When I was a kid I watched Shazam and Isis, which I think were first comic books. Later came Spiderman and Wonder Woman. I watched the short-lived series The Flash. Now I watch Smallville, and before that I watched three other shows based on Superman. And of course I watch all the big movies that are based on comic books--Superman, Batman, The X-Men, Spiderman, etc.... I think Hellboy was a comic book first. And Ironman was excellent. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch Ironman.

When I was about eleven there was a show on called The Incredible Hulk. And at first either I didn't know about the comic book or it didn't look much like the comic book and someone had to tell me that's were they got the idea from. This was a science fiction show about a scientist who had made a terrible mistake experimenting on himself. And while he did end up rescuing a lot of people from this and that, he wasn't like other comic book heroes who deliberately went around looking for people to save, and he didn't run around in a spandex costume beating up bad guys. This guy was spent most of his time trying to find a cure for his odd condition, just as before this happened he was trying to find something that would make people stronger, and before that he was trying to cure cancer or something.

I joke about wanting to marry Mr. Spock. But I think even when I was eleven I loved David Banner. And as an adult, I still think he's pretty special. This is the guy I want. I want someone who would look at me like that. And if he happens to look like Bill Bixby, so much the better.

While I love David Banner from the TV show, I hardly know anything about Bruce Banner from the comic books. Actual comic books are not really my thing. Not that there's anything wrong with them, but I just never really got into them.

So a few years ago someone made this movie called The Hulk, and I went to see it. And it wasn't about David Banner from the TV show, and I don't know if the fans of the comic book liked it or not. To be honest, I didn't care for it, and the main thing that I remember about the plot was that his problems had as much to do with his father's research as it did his own. And I didn't like the CGI big as a building Hulk. Lou Ferringo did such a great job on the TV show, and this movie replaced him with a cartoon.

Anyway, that movie had nothing to do with the TV show.

So then I heard that there was another movie, and again there's another big as a building CGI Hulk. Okay, maybe not quite as big as a building, maybe he's more RV sized. Anyway, no Lou Ferrigno, so I was thinking maybe it was just a sequel to this movie I didn't like. Except that Ed Norton was now playing Dr. Banner. Would Ed Norton be in a sequel to this movie that I didn't like? Not sure.

So I go see the movie, just in case. This movie is a whole lot more like the TV show. The opening is even a lot like the TV show, except that the scientist who is dumb enough to experiment on himself at least isn't dumb enough to do it after hours in a room by himself. So when the Hulk makes his first appearance, the resulting damage puts Banner's girlfriend in the hospital. And then he goes on the run, not from a reporter, but from the whole US military. So Bruce Banner is in hiding, in a country where he doesn't quite speak the language, and everyone who knows him thinks that he's just a little bit nuts. Or maybe a lot nuts.

Ed Norton's Bruce Banner is a lot like Bill Bixby's David Banner. Not quite, but give him a few years and he'll probably get there. Except right at the end of the movie, maybe they're going to go a different direction with this.

And still there is the giant CGI Hulk. No Lou Ferrigno. Now, I know that they couldn't have really hired Lou Ferrigno, that even though Lou still very much keeps in shape, they would want to hire somebody younger. But they didn't. This cartoon is better than the other movie's cartoon, but it will never be Lou. Surely there is someone out there like Lou who could do the part better than a cartoon. Surely there are a few body builders out there who don't kill themselves with steroids and can act.

I don't know why they did this again. Other movies, even movies based on comic books, don't do that. I know that they use a lot of CGI, but for most shots, I think the orange guy in The Fantastic Four is a guy in a suit. And for the most part, Hellboy is Ron Perlman in a ton of makeup. So why can't the Hulk be an actor in the movies?

What else can I say about the movie without plot spoilers? I hate spoilers. I just need to see an interesting preview and hear that someone liked the movie so I'll want to go see it. I don't like to hear anything else about the movie. So if my opinion counts to anyone, there it is. Go see the movie.

There's a lot of cameos and familiar names in this movie. Lou has a cameo. Stan has a cameo, he always does. Even Bill has a cameo at the beginning of the movie, but don't blink or you'll miss it. And there's nothing to be gained by sitting through all the credits. There's this little scene with a cameo from another movie, but they show that right before the credits. All that stuff was fun.

Okay, that's about it. If you were a fan of the TV show I think that you'll like this movie. And if you're not a fan of the show but are a fan of the comic book, I don't know if you'll like it or not. It is significantly better than the previous movie. Ed Norris is in it, Liv Tyler is in it, William Hurt is in it, and they blow up a lot of stuff. Hulk smash! So go see the movie, and if you haven't already done so, go see Ironman too.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

I thought of doing a post about this movie (and Hulk stuff in general), but I've not seen it yet.

The only 3 other shows about Superman I can think of are the old George Reeves one, "Lois and Clark", and the "Superboy" that never quite took.

"Shazam" was a comic book first. A very old one, I think. The main villain was a little worm with a radio around his neck, and his sidekick was a talking humanoid tiger (think friendly Kzin). I think the "Isis" show was a spin-off of the TV show. They then made a comic off the "Isis" TV show, and also a "Shazam" comic that more resembled the show too.

"Men in Black" is also a comic book movie you have probablyseen. The idea of the Men in Black is much older than the comics, but the movie adapted the comic's situations and characters. "Blade" was also a successful Marvel comic book series before it became a movie series. Bu t the comic books for these are rather obscure, so nobody thinks of these as comic-book movies.

I agree on "Iron Man" of course.

I didn't like the first Hulk movie, either. Two words can summarize it: Hulk poodles. That is as stupid as it sounds. It had other things wrong with it too, of course. CGI Hulk looks very faky in both movies from what I can tell.

A site I sometimes visit,, provides profanity-laced reviews from uber-geeks who love comic books. They quite like the new "Hulk" movie there, which answers the question as to whether or not comic book fans like it or not.

I will go see if it is at the drive-in this weekend. Even though the mosquitoes are out in full force now.