Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Incredible Hulk

(The review is a little dated, but better now than never.)

Ang Lee’s 2003 Brokeback Hulk version did so poorly with the critics and the box office, we’re going to pretend it was never made. It joins Rocky 5, Star Wars: Episode 1, and Weekend at Bernie’s 2, as movies that never existed. Now that we’ve made that clear, let’s move on to the 2008 version of The Incredible Hulk.

The Hulk sets a nice tone by initiating some action sequences during the opening credits. We quickly see how Banner became the Hulk. This was smart so the movie didn’t have to waste the first act explaining a tiresome process that we’ve in so many comic book movies. There’s also a cool montage of clippings and news reports with subtle hints to Iron Man (Stark Industries, Nick Fury.) Comic geeks will definitely like this.

I was excited to see the opening scenes take place in Brazil. I spent some time in Brazil and absolutely loved it. The movie did a nice job of showing the country’s flavor (i.e. all of the women were smoking hot.) Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner and is hiding out as a gringo in a Guarana factory. (For those who don’t know it, Guarana is a natural caffeine and is served in your Energy Vitamin Water drink. I dig it. You also may notice the Americans pronounce it wrong, but only those who’ve been to Brazil will crack up about that.) The movie is light in tone and even makes fun of its famous catch phrase. Banner recites it in botched Portuguese to a group of hoodlums: “Don’t make me hungry. You won’t like me when I’m hungry.”

All is good until the government finds out where he is. That’s when the chase begins. This is the basic theme of the movie. The government (mainly General Ross) tries to bring down Banner using tranquilizers. They want to sedate him, and study him so they can build an army of controllable Hulks. Banner just wants to be left alone, but that’s not gonna happen. Every time the General and his main mercenary, Emil Blonsky, are close to getting him, Banner turns into a Green Barry Bonds and is unstoppable.

Banner is trying to find a cure throughout the movie and also wants to track down his former flame, Betty Ross (played by Liv Tyler), because she’s hot. He is successful on the latter and they go on the run together. There’s even a funny scene where Banner wants to “do it” with Betty, but can’t because of his Hulkness. (I’m sure Barry Bonds has the same “problem.”)

While he’s on the run, there’s a good handful of action scenes where the Hulk destroys everyone and everything that’s trying to hurt him. There’s a ton of CGI, but I liked it. The culminating scene is between Hulk and Emil Blonsky who has transformed into a mutated, freakish Hulk-type thing. I found it entertaining, but once again, without CGI, this scene wouldn’t have happened.

Overall, The Incredible Hulk is mildly entertaining and likable. The story and the characters are simple, but there is a lot of fighting and things blowing up. I’m glad I saw it on the big screen because it aided the CGI and action scenes. Lastly, The Incredible Hulk showed me how embarrassing it is when people lose their temper. I realize that sometimes I may act like the Hulk when I don’t get my way. (When I lose at sports, when Boston teams lose at sports, driving in the city, someone messes with my DVR, when a bouncer won’t let me into a club, when I bump into a table, when I drop the last bite of a cookie, etc.) Seeing these emotions on the big screen taught me a very valuable lesson. If I don’t start to control my temper, the government may hunt me down, shoot me with tranquilizers, study me, and then try to make more of me to fight in their army.


For those who watched the television version of the Hulk, Lou Ferrigno has a comical cameo as a security guard. He lets Banner sneak into a restricted college building in exchange for a box of pizza.

There’s also a well-known actor who appears at the very end of the movie. I don’t want to give it away, but I’ll give you a few choices, and you can decide who it might be: Larry David, Scott Bakula, Robert Downey Jr., Fred Savage, or Gary Coleman.

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