DVD
Hulk

Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, and Nick Nolte
Universal Pictures Video
RRP 19.99 (two-disc set), 29.99 (three-disc set)
Certificate: 12
8210757/8206762
Available now


Scientist Bruce Banner has anger management issues. His quiet life as a brilliant research scientist working with ex-girlfriend Betty Ross conceals a painful past. A freak lab accident reveals Bruce's heroic impulses but also unleashes his inner demons. And he becomes the most powerful being on the face of the earth. A super-hero and a monster...

Hulk was one of Summer 2003's most anticipated movie releases but it failed to live up to the hype. Part of the problem was the fact that the movie doesn't seem to have a proper focus. Is it an action movie? Or a film about the monster within us all? Or is it a love story? It tries to be all three, but fails to do any with any real conviction. The movie also seems confused as to whether to stay faithful to the comics or to leave the Marvel Universe behind and try to stand on it's own two feet.

The extras bear this out. In one featurette we are told how they were trying to stay away from a comic book feel, yet in another featurette we were informed how they were trying to emulate the look of the comics?!!?

Another problem is that too much is invested in the big green guy. I'm sorry, but CGI is still not advanced enough for Ang Lee to be able to pull this off. There are a number of good looking effects, but there are also a lot of poor ones. When it comes to the real actors the acting is faultless but the script is poor. There are moments when you'll laugh out loud because you won't believe how badly the story is patched together. There is a terrible sequence which has a flashback within a flashback which was pointless.

Stylistically this movie is way off the mark. Every now and then, for no good reason, Lee decides to produce a comic book feel to the screen in the form of comic panels. However this style comes across as amateurish. Instead of going for the style that viewers of TV show 24 are familiar with (i.e. the split screens tying in events going on at the same time in different locations) we are, more often than not, given two, three four or more shots of the same scene. And the panel's move around all over the place giving the impression that the director is a young pop music director who has just been given some new software to play with and insists on using it everywhere for no good reason.

There are a few exceptions to this that are explained in one of the documentaries. There is a scene with Betty in a car which sees the background chance (which I didn't spot the first time I watched the movie) and a great scene with the Hulk crashing through a building and then the bits of flying wall etc actually explode out of the picture to reveal the Hulk. While these work well, they are the few and far between. The in-your-face frames spoil the better subtle effects.

Even the extras are rather dull (mind you aren't most these days). Although I was surprised to learn that Lee himself played the part of the Hulk. You'll be rolling around on the floor in tears of laughter as you watch Lee "getting into character" and the back slapping "lovey" talk that all the actors spew out about how wonderful Lee was will be enough to make you spew yourself.

Extras include: Feature commentary with director Ang Lee; Hulk Cam: Inside the Rage - access to behind the scenes footage throughout the film; Making of; Superhero Revealed: The Anatomy of the Hulk - manipulate and dissect a 3D hulk model; Deleted scenes; Hulkification - "You're Making Me Angry" scene drawn by illustrators from around the world (in Japanese Anime, Euro Style and Marvel Comics style); Evolution of the Hulk; The Incredible Ang Lee; The Dog Fight Scene; The Unique Style of Editing the Hulk; DVD-ROM content.

If you watch this movie without doing at least one of the following then you are probably under 12 years of age, or insane: Laugh at some corny dialogue; Loose the plot - what little there is of it; Say: "That looks crap!" or "As if!"; Say: "Oh look! Isn't that the original TV Hulk in a cameo!"; Suddenly remember the TV Hulk being a lot better than this; Fall asleep at least once; and suddenly realise that you're missing tonight's Coronation Street.

One thing is certain if you bought this DVD expecting a quality movie it's going to make you angry!

Pete Boomer

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cover
Two-disc edition
£13.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
Two-disc edition
£13.99 (Blackstar.co.uk)
   
Two-disc edition
£16.99 (Streetsonline.co.uk)
   
cover
Three-disc edition
£22.48 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
Three-disc edition
£24.99 (Blackstar.co.uk)
   
Three-disc edition
£26.99 (Streetsonline.co.uk)

All prices correct at time of going to press.