Lots of smashing!
Cool CGI sequences!
Well, that’s it in a nutshell, really. Oh, except that niggling little thing… what was it called again? Oh, yes, character development.
In these modern days of post-modern this, post-something that, psychobabble, neuroses-of-the-moment and general stress, the story of Bruce Banner and his- ahem, *unusual*- form of anger ‘management’ has a new resonance that brings him smack up to date. When the Hulk first appeared he was a monster born on the wave of Cold War atomic hysteria. These days he’s a symbol of modern rage, of the dangers of repression, and of course, a salutary warning to anyone who is even *thinking* about monkeying about with gamma radiation (that’s pretty lethal, kids).
Bruce is playing about in his lab with his lovely lad assistant (er, that is, they are both working- no, not on each other, you naughty reader, you!), co-worker and romantic leading lady, Betty Ross (a doe-eyed Jennifer Connelly), when an atomic experiment starts to overload. Instead of leaving a mate in the blast zone to get the full blast of radiation, Bruce throws himself in front of the ray and absorbs the lot. Instead of dying, he begins to notice some very peculiar effects when he gets cross… This is not helped by the army’s intervention. And for goodness’ sake, army-dudes, locking Bruce up with the dad he hates and a large power supply is not sensible now, is it… HULK SMASH!
Staying close to the story’s comic book roots with stylish use of frames and captions, as well as cross-cutting and multiple angles on a single scene, Ang Lee’s latest effort, much-maligned (unjustly so) in the box office, had many cinema goers confused with the addition of character development, interpersonal relationships between the characters, and emotive use of desert landscapes and memory flash-backs to widen the backstory, and give it a greater depth. Hang on- comic book character films aren’t supposed to have deeper layers, surely?? Lee’s attempt to inject a greater sense of humanity in his characters does occasionally sit just a little too uneasily with the subject matter, but nevertheless is praiseworthy in the effort to make this more than just a CGI fest, even if Betty needs a good does of stiff upper lip at times.
As for that CGI- again, the obviously cartoonish Hulk character had many filmgoers unhappy. But then, what did they expect? The Hulk is an implausible character; he comes from comic books. When it comes to ten feet tall bright green muscle- bound behemoths, there can only be so much realism here, people!
‘The Hulk’ remains for me one of the better ‘fringe’ blockbusters of the summer: a film with heart and yes, with ‘SMASH!’, the action sequences are some of the most spectacular to be produced on the big screen this summer- and believe me, you *have* to see it on the big screen to truly appreciate the fullsome Hulk-iness of this stylish action adventure.
Rotten Tomatoes Score:
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