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DVD Review

DVD cover

Planet Hulk


Starring (voice): Rick D. Wasserman, Lisa Ann Beley, Mark Hildreth and Liam O'Brien
Lions Gate Home Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 12
Available 15 February 2010

Believing the Hulk to be an uncontrollable danger to himself and everyone around him, the Avengers incarcerate him in a spacecraft and dispatch it to an uninhabited planet. However, the Hulk regains consciousness and manages to break free. In destroying some of the instrumentation, the ship's trajectory is altered and it instead crash lands on Sakaar, a world ruled by the tyrant Red King. Weakened from the crash he is eventually overwhelmed by a multitude of guards and forced to fight as a gladiatorial slave for the apparent pleasure of the people. But the Hulk reluctantly bands together with a small group of fellow slaves, including the rock-like Korg, the insectoid Miek, ex-Shadow Priest Hiroim, and the rebel Elloe. Much to the Red King's increasing wrath, the Hulk becomes the greatest gladiator the world has seen, and a hero of the people. The king orders the deaths of the group, but it is not a good idea to give the Hulk a single target for his irrepressible rage...

Marvel has a prolific output of classic superhero characters, most of which were created by Stan Lee. The fact that they are still loved worldwide decades after first appearing in comic books proves their sustainability - particularly as they have been so successful when adapted for big budget Hollywood films. Spider-Man, Iron Man and Daredevil have stood out for me, but most have been decent enough films. Except for Hulk. So why didn't Hulk work on film when the long-running TV series featuring Bill Bixby was so popular? The problem was the character had been dehumanised. Yes, Hulk is a powerful rampaging monster, but he's also a person, with all the emotional conflicts which come with that.

This animated film version is a pretty faithful adaptation of a comic book story of the same name. Here Hulk is given an inner turmoil. Traditionally a loner, here he bands together with others for the greater good. No longer is he simply seen as a monster. Now he is a saviour and protector. His life is given meaning for the first time, and people are interested in his thoughts as well as his brawn.

In my opinion, there is less storyline scope for development with the Hulk character than almost any other in the Marvel canon, so this choice of story is inspired. Furthermore, the quality of animation is very professional without resorting outright to CGI.

Also of interest on this disc is a Making of featurette, and a first look at a new Thor animated film.


Ty Power

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