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Hulk movie

They keep showing the Hulk movie on USA network.

It has all the ingredients necessary to make it a really good movie.

Well, OK, the proportions are all screwed up, but other than that, it's got good actors, and the 'origin of the Hulk' story has been done well in places, yet, somehow, it comes out just ... ick. I think it's because Ang Lee didn't quite get it. He captured the cliche' elements of the comments but not the characters.

Eric Bana makes a good Banner. The scrawny little actress (Jennifer Connelly looks like a 14 year old wannabe) playing Betty Ross is competent, though far too lolita waiflike too often to make me believe her. Unfortunately, Ang Lee captured her earlier, completely passive and unresisting, whiney-female qualities rather than the later, confront-her-insane-father persona. The ranting General Ross by Sam Elliot is every bit as stereotypically stupid as in the comic (and may be one reason it failed) and the government is presented as selfish-evil shortsighted and corrupt (another reason it'd fail). He has one dimension, and he plays it as flatly stupid as it is written.

The whole father thing that Ang Lee pulled out of the rectum of a syphilitic prostitute in a Thailand brothel ... That might be part of it. The abusive father is one of the most interesting elements in the current Hulk's persona, but making him a mad scientist bwahaha is painting the lily - with house paint. Every time he appears on screen it turns the story to crap. This is not because the mad scientist concept is a bad one, even though this particular (absorbing man) version IS, or solely because of the overacting required by the part and exuberantly and excessively indulged in by Nick Nolte, who seemed to be competing with Sam Elliot for "best villain" on Oscar night.

Oh yes, and Ang Lee's masterful use of stupidly tight face shots (as if Nolte's ranting spittle were somehow Box Office Elixir) and weird allusion to comics with the multi-frame partitioned screen... I'd much sooner see the latter than the former.

The special effects... frankly, they kept upmorphing his upper body but not his legs, and at times he looks like a chest and arms with very short and relatively undeveloped legs. That is NOT the hulk. He's freaky-muscled, but his legs are always as freaky as his arms. He might look squat from over-muscularity but never from having legs that are shorter than his torso.

I think, perhaps, if they'd chosen a director who wasn't so enamored of what has already been done before and done better, left out the tortured, stupid, absorbing-man father plot, and come up with something a bit new, they might have done well.

Like, perhaps, tying Banner to his actual origin, the bomb tests, the cold war, then looking at why he's still out there and where he is, deciding what happened after this rumored, secret, superhuman monster appeared, then disappeared a month later, with the only proof being a town that disappeared, the residents relocated, in that almost-legendary first attack.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 12th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
The camera work/camera editting is what really turned me off the movie. I heard somewhere his cuts were there to evoke a sense of comic panels, but... Meh! It's diffeent medium, a moving picture shouldn't evoke a still, silent media.
Nov. 12th, 2006 02:13 am (UTC)
I think the vast majority of the problemws with this movie can be laid at Ang Lee's feet. I agree that he seemed to have just fundamentally failed to grasp the concept, and his directing throughout was awful.

I'm rather annoyed that such an interesting character as the Absorbing Man was utterly messed with and wasted in this film, too. He should have been in a Spiderman movie, or something like that, not in this dog.

And because it was in this turd, we'll likely never see any variation of him again. Television and film executives seem to have a truly remarkable track record for learning the wrong thing from their mistakes.

Hell, the whole father subplot was just wretched, and should have been dumped at an early stage.
Nov. 12th, 2006 09:46 am (UTC)
Yeah, the father thing was, on reflection, the real storyline culprit.
Nov. 12th, 2006 03:10 am (UTC)
I was basically OK with the film, but Nolte was just plain confusing in it. Or Lee's direction was confusing.

Ah, well. Next Hulk movie is a total reboot anyway, so we'll see what they do with that one.
Nov. 12th, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
I would mostly agree. Ang Lee's direction of such a powerful being is almost 180 of what it should be, and the script hinders him somewhat. In a martial arts movie, mundane people are elevated to super-beings by the direction. In a special-effects movie, the realism of the special effects needs to be emphasized. In a martial arts movie, emoting is encouraged because ordinary people need be cast as extra-ordinary. In a special-effects movie, they need to be reigned in.
Nov. 12th, 2006 09:55 am (UTC)
I didn't mind the emotion during the special effects, I minded the actors' attempts (or the director's) to put EVEN MORE emotion into the flatly written, unconvincing dialogue.

So when General Ross or Major Talbot are evil(tm) Military Thugs Out To Perform Horrible Experiments On Banner (and what the F*& was that business with even letting Banner's father NEAR him) the whole stupidity of the situation makes me fall right out of suspension of disbelief into active contempt for the story, writing, and performance.
Nov. 12th, 2006 05:18 am (UTC)
I liked the movie, but it probably helped that I read Peter David's adaptation first. So when stuff was cut, or was portrayed in shorthand that may not have been good enough to get the point across, I knew what was supposed to go there. So the issues of execution didn't bother me.
Nov. 12th, 2006 09:47 am (UTC)
So David managed to make a silk purse out of a turd? The guy _is_ an awesome writer.
Nov. 12th, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)
Well, as you said, all the ingredients were there, just mixed in the wrong proportions. PAD remixed.
Nov. 12th, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC)
Frankly I think it's partly because Ang Lee is just a bad director. Both "The Hulk" and "Crouching Tiger" show this very clearly. He manages to make wire work and pratcial FX look like Collage level GCI work.

"The Hulk" had may other issues as well. The attempt to make it look like a comic book not only failed but gave a lot of my friends (and myself) headaches. The Hulk Dogs were kind of dumb, and mostly usless to the plot, and the female lead was just... blah.

Now, there are a few good things. The desert chase was fairly well done, and the fact he didn't kill anyone was a nice touch, and of course we have the clasic "Indistructable Pants!!!" that stayed on him even when he was 15 feet tall.

Still, a few good moments dosn't save the movie, and I'm a bit dismayed that they may be making a second one, at least Ang Lee isn't anywhere near the project.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )