Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Incredible Hulk

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A much better effort than Ang Lee’s version. Edward Norton makes a great Banner -- although I gotta say, Liv Tyler < Jennifer Connelly. I especially liked all the shout-outs to the TV series: the Gamma radiation machine, Lou Ferrigno cameo, Jack Magee, etc. It’s a fun romp -- mostly.

One of the biggest challenges of a superhero flick is to make the protagonist's civilian life seem interesting. Banner (and Betty) on the run from the military works as a Bourne-styled thriller. I also dug the way the film didn’t go for the money shot right away, instead they hid the Hulk in the shadows at the soda plant in Brasil -- very much like a horror movie. The transformation scenes could have been handled a little better -- hastily put together and I don’t recall seeing the Hulk change back to Banner.

Ultimately, things falls apart when the third act turns into a lame CGI smackdown. Look Hollywood, nobody above the age 12 cares about two computer generated behemoths trading blows. Nothing is at stake -- except for the city of New York, yet again. At least “Transformers” was smart enough to give the puny humans something to do. Here, everybody stands around and watches. I have a copy of the script on the hard drive, will have to do a little compare and contrast...

One more thing, the scene where the Hulk kicks Tim Roth in the chest didn’t ring true to me. The Hulk is this rampaging monster, but Bruce Banner still exists somewhere inside him and he’d never allow that.

5 comments:

Kristin said...

Well, for my kids and me the ending was a whole lot of fun. My 8-year-old was going nuts for the cars-used-as-boxing-gloves. Overall it was WAY better in terms of entertainment value than the Ang Lee version.

I think that is the problem with these superhero movies. The comics were originally for kids/teens and then morphed into this 'adult' comic thing. All boys under twelve love superhero flicks, but the movie makers try to please both sides...and never can.

Spiderman I and II was one of the few superhero films that played well to both adults and kids without someone crying foul.

The problem for me is when you take a superhero film and purposefully make it too dark or scary for half of the fans...like the much praised Batman movie this summer. My 8-year-old will not be allowed to watch it...yet, they create games like Lego Batman, which purposefully markets to young kids.

I'm not asking that they make the superhero movies family-friendly, but it is confusing when they try to market the concept in different ways to different groups creating frustrated people who can't or won't watch the film.

Kristin said...

Other superhero movies that were good for both kids and adults:

Ironman
Xmen
Tim Burton's Batman

It can be done. Just wish more would try.

screamwriter said...

You're right, but it's mostly adults reading/buying comics these days.

My point was more that these big budget blockbusters rely too heavily on cgi to cover up story problems. The first two Spidey films managed to have dazzling effects and solid stories. Spidey 3's special effects budget was something like 60 million dollars. That and the quality of the story says a lot about Hollywood's priorities.

Kristin said...

Yeah, that's true. I think "I Am Legend" with Wil Smith was one of those films that was seriously harmed by too much CGI. Why couldn't they have hired some actors to play the 'zombies'?

The reason I disliked it was not the storyline so much, but the feeling that Wil Smith's character was never in jeopardy b/c all the things in it were fake. There's something to be said for character actors and a good make-up artist.

I have a feeling there will be a big revival in the movie industry for doing things 'the old fashioned way,' much like grunge rock of the 90s brought back actual instrument playing rather than use of synthesizers a la Depeche Mode and other 80s groups.

Another pet peeve: all fights scenes being choreographed into perfect martial arts demos. Could you imagine if they'd done that with Indiana Jones?

screamwriter said...

They tried using actors in "Legend", but the director didn't think it worked. You're right about the lack of tension created by the presence of cgi creatures.

I think the tanking economy will force Hollywood to make more cost effective films.... unfortunately, they might be less willing to take chances on new writers.

A lot of fight scenes are too choreographed, but I'm not a big fan of shaky cam action, a lame attempt to look "cool" and conceal the protag's lack of martial arts skills.

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