Summer Film Series – Vol. 6, No. 3: THE INCREDIBLE HULK
June 20, 2008, at Movies 14, McKinney, Texas
I am one of the great minority that did not fully despise the first pass at bringing Hulk to the big screen. Ang Lee’s version has some beauty in the midst of its chaos, and I still very much enjoy Eric Bana’s performance. Nonetheless, Hulk holds a special place in my heart because of Bill Bixby, so I was excited to see a fresh take on this comic hero. The Incredible Hulk is exactly that: a fresh take. Not a do-over, but rather an exposition of the elements put forth by Ang Lee. Make no mistake, though: this new film hearkens back to the Bixby series more than anything else. And I believe that’s what makes it so enjoyable.
The story of this Incredible Hulk wants to dig down to the emotional aspect of Banner’s predicament, and for much of the film it really succeeds on that level. There has been much talk of star Edward Norton’s distancing himself from the film because the studio apparently stepped in and hijacked the movie to make it more “commercial”, and while watching the story unfold I could distinctly see this happening. What begins as a character study eventually devolves into a giant, CG-ridden fist-fest that almost negates all the work Norton put into it. That he has disavowed this studio version tells me that I have yet to see the true Incredible Hulk. And yet, I greatly enjoyed this film! I admit to being visually overwhelmed by the big battle ending, and I grew increasingly tired of William Hurt’s General Ross as the story unfolded, but all in all I could see where the director wanted to take the film and I could appreciate all that he put into it. There is much to love in this version, beginning and ending with Norton’s Bruce Banner, and the CG Hulk is easily digested. The movie has a fairly good pace, and many little nods to fans (ranging from the use of the words “Hulk Smash!” — thank you, Nate, for introducing me to that element! — to actually using the 70s series theme song during one lonely Banner moment), and in the final analysis, rises far above the earlier attempt to bring Hulk to life. Still, I was distracted by a lot of things while watching the film, including the development of Hulk’s nemesis. For me, The Incredible Hulk has yet to be fully represented. I suspect there will be a Director’s Cut DVD that will come closest of all, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing the film again in that form. I believe that’s the movie I really wanted to see today.
There were two interesting side effects from my viewing of this film. First was a sudden and completely unexpected desire to see Iron Man, which I had no intention to see at all. But with the not-so-secret cameo of Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark featured at the end of The Incredible Hulk, I instantly developed an interest. Perhaps I was just caught up in the emotion of a film drawing to its close, or maybe I needed to see a full-on comic film to be reminded how much fun they can be even when you know nothing at all about the characters, but now I’m making plans to see Iron Man in the next few weeks. Who knew that Hulk would be my catalyst?
Secondly, and equally unexpected, was a lingering fixation on Edward Norton. For a full hour after leaving the theater, I just couldn’t get the man out of my head! I was, quite simply, in a full state of lust. I never dreamed this would come from watching him play a mild-mannered scientist, and to be honest, I would never have believed it a year ago had you told me I’d be here today. But Norton has truly worked magic on me… first through his talent and keen intelligence, which has slowly given way to a sexiness I didn’t see for many, many months. But today, in the role of Bruce Banner, fully overwhelmed by his circumstances and plumbing the depths of emotion (not to mention an extended scene in a red hoodie that put shivers under my skin), Edward Norton rose to the forefront of my radar. And I can tell you that when it comes to this actor, I will never be the same again.
images from Rotten Tomatoes
Posted on 20 June 2008, in What I Watch and tagged celebrities, celebrity crush, comic book movies, Edward Norton, fangirl, movies, Summer Film Series, summer movies. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.