Hulk, The

sleeping dog2003 Release
Stars:   Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas, Nick Nolte, Brooke Langton, Paul Kersey
Director:  Ang Lee
Screenwriters:  Michael France, James Schamus, John Turman, based on a story by Mr. Schamus and the Marvel comic book character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

This big expensive movie, fashioned after the Marvel comic book The Incredible Hulk, about research scientist Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) who’s accidentally bombarded by gamma radiation and turned into a big, green hothead, is one big waste of time, money and energy.

Here’s the gist: Banner absorbs a normally lethal dose of the radiation during an explosive lab incident while ex-girlfriend Betty (Jennifer Connelly) watches helplessly. Later, Bruce suffers strange, unexplained side effects, like turning into a giant green behemoth every time he gets angry, which happens a lot since the military, led by Betty’s father (Sam Elliott), has been called in to contain this mysterious threat. Also breathing down his thick neck is Glenn Talbot (Josh Lucas), a rival researcher who has some history with Betty and then Banner’s estranged and even stranger father (Nick Nolte) shows up to drop the big bomb: that Bruce, a.k.a. the Hulk is the result of some genetic research performed on him when Bruce was a kid. Bruce is such repressed cold fish that not only can’t he remember anything about his childhood, he can’t remember why he has such a lousy relationship with Betty. On the other hand, with a weepy broad like Betty, maybe it doesn’t matter. Will someone please fix that girl’s hair!

Ang Lee, using comic book styled multi-screen cells, has turned out a mishmash of events and Bana has neither the appeal nor the acting experience to pull off the feat of portraying this troubled lad. Without a cohesive backstory which would have developed in us some kind of sympathy for this man-creature, we are left emotionally dead, hammered to bits by the comic book violence and overdone visual effects. Since when was the Hulk able to leap for miles on end or seemingly fly into the stratosphere?

Lotta says:   Where’s the fun? Not here! See it if you must but a Batman #8 would be better than this.

Reviewed October 2003