Hulk (2003) – movie review

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Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas, Nick Nolte, Paul Kersey
Director: Ang Lee

Why did the HULK cross the road – to get to where the really big money is?

Ok I don’t mean to start this review off being cynical. I like the idea of comic adaptations and I’ve watched quite a few episodes of the Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno version of the Hulk in the past. I’ve even seen a couple of the animated Hulk TV shows although I was never really into The Hulk comic. (I’ll stay with Batman and Justice League any day.)

But the HULK movie, which doesn’t follow the live action TV show at all and is probably closer to the animated show, just seems like it’s going through the motions.

The directing by Ang Lee is quite tight, although nothing special and Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte and Sam Elliott are all good but Eric Bana’s version of Bruce Banner (The Hulk) could be a bit livelier although admittedly he does have a pretty tough job because whichever way you look at it he is going to be overshadowed by the CGI that is the Hulk. And while I’m on the subject of CGI, well… it could be better in places. When you compare the CGI Hulk to the CGI characters Scooby-Doo and Kangaroo Jack, both completely different types of movie to HULK I know, but both mix CGI characters with live action, the Hulk is just not convincing in a number of scenes.

This is especially apparent when the Hulk first starts appearing on screen, the movement seems jerky and false a bit like the stop-motion type giant monsters of yester-year. Scenes with slower movement and close-ups are better but may be we just get accustomed to the effects. Possibly it’s the long build-up to how the Hulk comes into existence but when you get to the Hulk in action I couldn’t help but feel like the first two-thirds of the film should have been compressed down in time leaving room to see how Banner lives with the Hulk, but I guess they wanted to keep that for the sequel. Let’s hope that will seem a bit fresher.

3 out of 6 stars