Jennifer Connelly and Eric Bana in The Hulk.
At 2 hours and 18 minutes, The Hulk, like its lead character, is just too big. Overcrowded with too much back story, its weighty and sometimes overly melo-dramatic script takes way too long to get going and manages to suck most of the fun out of this movie. Even the talented cast, director, and incredible special effects aren't enough to save this movie completely.
Every version of the Hulk's story seems to change his origin and this movie is no exception. While originally Bruce Banner was transformed in to the giant green guy simply by being exposed to the radiation from a nuclear explosion, in this latest incarnation the process is much more complicated. It seems that Bruce's father, David, was also a scientist and that while working for the military he experimented on himself to create a super-soldier. His genetic altering experiments were passed on to his son. When David's experiments were shut down by the military, David went a little crazy; putting such trauma onto his son that Bruce repressed all memories from his early childhood. Years later Bruce becomes a Scientist working on a similar project to his forgotten birth father. An accidental overdose of Gamma radiation activates the dormant genes planted within him by his father's work.
The upshot of this overly long origin story? We don't get to see the Hulk for nearly 40 minutes into the movie! I mean come on, we all know what people going to this movie want to see! Hulk get mad, Hulk smash, Hulk good. We don't want to see trite dialogue, clichéd plot devices, and melo-drama. At least I don't. Sadly, that's exactly what we get. The movie drags on and on, way overdoing the repressed memories shtick, to the point of beating it to death. Until by the end of the film, I was just relieved it was over.
Nearly two hours into the movie there's a scene where the Hulk escapes from a desert military base and must battle tanks and helicopters as he heads for San Francisco. It's a fun scene with the best CGI effects I've seen yet. If only this scene had come 20 minutes into the movie instead of near the end. It's one of the few parts that I truly enjoyed.
I might have enjoyed or at least put up with the long back story if I had found the lead actor, Eric Bana, more charismatic or entertaining. Instead he just appears bland and constipated. While the rest of the actors dance rings around him, he just annoyed me. Thank god for the always beautiful Jennifer Connelly. At least she gave my eyes something to look at.
If 30 minutes more of this movie had ended up on the cutting room floor, I might not have cared more for the characters in this movie, but I wouldn't have had to put up with them for so long. There's just too much story, not enough Hulk in this movie.
Jennifer Connelly in The Hulk.
The Hulk is a long bore of a movie. Apart from the mildly exciting and fairly well crafted scene Scott mentioned in the desert this movie basically sucks. The first half will put you to sleep and the ending battle between the Hulk and his father is over-the-top and a let down at the same time. The acting is wooden and dull with the exception of Nick Nolte who looks like the Unabomber on crack.
It's funny that so many reviews have criticized the cheesiness of the visual appearance of the title character. Believe me that is the least of this movies problems.
I really don't want to waste anymore of my life on this piece of trash than I already have so I will just say that if you must see The Hulk at least do yourself the favor of missing the first half hour. Take my word for it; you'll be glad you did.
Jennifer Connelly in The Hulk.
The Hulk is easily the worst edited movie I have ever sat through. At one point Bruce Banner is caught and taken to a military base. To show this plot development you need two scenes; the one where he gets caught and the one that shows a truck driving into the base. That is all you need. What you get is a lengthy scene of helicopters taking Banner across the dessert. Then you have several scenes on the screen at the same time showing the helicopters taking Banner to the base. Then you have several scenes of the helicopters dropping the cage that holds Banner onto a truck. Then you get to watch several different angles of the truck driving onto the base. But wait, he is not there yet. You then have to see his cage being transported down tunnels into the sub levels of the base.
The use of split screen is done to death in this movie. Do we really need to see several different scenes unfold at the same time, when all three are showing the same thing only moments apart? Near the end David Banner is being taken out of his cell. On one screen we have a close up of his eyes. On another screen we see him being lead out of the cell. On another we see the policemen putting cuffs on him. The very next scene is David getting out of a squad car with his hands cuffed. Here is a thought. Eliminate the entire scene of David getting out of his cell. I believe everyone in the audience is smart enough to pick up the fact that if he is handcuffed and getting out of a police car then he was in police custody. Who the hell got paid to edit this?
The effects were the best thing about this movie. The wow factor is high. The Hulk scenes are easily the best scenes. My favorite is where The Hulk fights the anatomicaly enhanced dogs. It is the first time Betty sees him. It is the most tense moment in the film. Not only is the fight good, but you wonder how will she react?
Like Scott, I like Jennifer Connelly. She was destined to make this movie. One of her first film roles was that of a girlfriend of a superhero, The Rocketeer. Her most famous role is playing opposite an Australian playing an American scientist, A Beautiful Mind. In The Hulk she plays the girlfriend of an Australian actor who is playing an American scientist who is also a superhero.
This movie has some good moments and talent going for it. However, it is too much effort to sit through all the filler to get to the good stuff. A gentleman sitting near me in the theatre kept sighing and rolling his head every time the movie used a spilt screen. An audience should not have to work so hard to enjoy a movie.
Photos © Copyright Universal Studios (2003)