The Hulk

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The Hulk
Review (7/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

My experience with Hulk can be broken down into three parts - pre-Hulk smash, Hulk smash and post-Hulk smash.

The pre-Hulk smash part of the movie basically explains how Bruce Banner's (Eric Bana) eccentric father David (Nick Nolte) experiments with his own DNA and passes his altered genes on to his only son. We soon find out that a young Bruce Banner has been put up for adoption by the military and has no memory of his parents or his childhood. Bruce is a tortured young man. He has nightmares. He is emotionally detached. But he has grown up into a brilliant scientist who works alongside an equally brilliant but much more beautiful Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly) with whom he is also romantically involved, the bastard. Like his father, Bruce has found himself experimenting in the field of genetic alteration and after an experiment gone terribly wrong, the genetic mess that exists inside of Bruce Banner is unleashed in the form of a big, menacing, green monster.

Once Bruce becomes the Hulk, he battles a trio of mutant dogs, hops his way across the desert, takes on the U.S. army, led by the very serious General Thadeus Ross (Sam Elliot), and destroys anything that gets in his way. He does a bunch more angry stuff but those are the basics.

The post-Hulk smash part of the movie is short and sweet. Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk, is brought down by the army and presumed dead. Or is he?

The one thing I will say right off the bat about this movie is that I liked it. I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. Just plain and simple liked it. There are certain elements of the movie I didn't like. The tedious explanation of the development of the Hulk. It dragged on a bit and took away from some of the excitement of the movie. I wanted the Hulk. The entire theatre wanted the Hulk. But we had to wait a damn long time to see the Hulk. At times the movie played too much of a psychological game, trying to show us the the inner struggles of Bruce Banner. Cutting some of this out would have cut down on the movie's 2:20 running time or at least given us more Hulk. I wasn't too crazy about Bruce's father's story and where his character went by the end of the movie.

But then there were parts of the movie I adored. Although the computer-generated Hulk was difficult to get used to, I loved it when the big, cuddly green guy was up on the big screen ripping apart anything he could get his hands on. I absolutely loved Jennifer Connelly. She has rocketed up my list of hottest chicks in the world. She went from not anywhere near the top 100 to a top 3 pick, maybe even number one. It was pointed out to me, once the movie ended, that there were very few sexy shots of Connelly during the movie, which I really didn't notice but once it was pointed out to me, I agreed we were ripped off. But today, I was able to find plenty of topless shots of her on the internet. I also really liked the ending of the movie. Not surprisingly, it sets up a sequel, which I am sure will hit the theatres in a few summers. I hope the sequel has more of a mission for the Hulk (like him slapping around some bad guys) and not just simply him jumping around the desert trying to get away from the army (that is pretty much what the Hulk did in this movie).

For fans of The Incredible Hulk television show that starred Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, do not go into this movie expecting anything similar to that great television show. Ang Lee's Hulk is much more powerful and much more complicated than Lou Ferrigno could have ever been. Ferrigno brought almost a human element to the character of the Hulk. Ang Lee has made the Hulk a super-human wrecking machine. And seeing this was definitely a unique experience.

This is not a movie for everyone. The Hulk is not a happy movie. In fact, there is only one moment in the entire movie that I can think of that would bring a smile to anyone's face. The Hulk is a movie about emotionally disturbed, angry people - Bruce Banner, David Banner, Betty Ross and her father - they may be the most dysfunctional group to hit the big screen since The Beverley Hillbillies. No smiles. No laughter. And one of them just happens to turn green when he gets really pissed. Although I didn't fall in love with this movie, I left the theatre wanting more Hulk. For the makers of the sequel, there is probably not much more they can ask for - the prospects of being able to Hulk smash our wallets one more time.
 

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