marvel comics green goliath returns to the cinema screen for another go. is there anyone reading this who has never heard of the character? if so: doctor bruce banner used an experimental ray treatment on himself that as a result turns him into a huge strong rampaging monster every time he gets rather angry. hunted by army general ross, who just happens to want the ray treatment so he can create hulk style soldiers to use as weapons, banner is on the run. ross is also the father of his girlfriend betty.
there was a hulk movie in 2003 that tried to be both comic book action movie and a look at the issues of a man with such intense anger. Directed by ang lee and starring eric bana, it made a lot of money but it rather divided audience opinion. some liked the psychological take but many wanted more action.
marvel comics, who publish the hulk in comic book form, were among the latter. now that they have their own film studio set up they can dow what they like movie wise with their characters, and they wanted another go at the hulk to produce a more exciting movie. this is their attempt.
nigh on all the characters from the first film return, although they're all played by different actors. and whilst this does follow on from that film, it is also a fresh take, and you can watch it if you haven't seen that one without getting confused. it gets through the origin of the character in a quick sequence during the credits. sometimes I wish all superhero films would do that.
this movie tells of banner evading ross whilst trying to find a cure for his condition. at the same time a soldier called emil blonsky, who likes a fight and wants to do it for as long as he can is facing the fact that he's not getting any younger. the ray treatment might be just what he needs to go on fighting. and who but the hulk could stop the result of that?
running at one hour and forty eight minutes this is good escapist entertainment, capably directed by louis leterrier, and well acted by all the cast. ed norton in the lead role convinces very well at showing us a man who is struggling to keep his inner demons under control.william hurt is also worthy of note for playing a man conflicted between duty and family - he has a great last scene which really highlights this. liv tyler is not bad as betty but her version of the character is a bit wet compared to jennifer connelly's in the earlier movie.
the movie is structured round three big action set pieces, one of which breaks hollywood cliche by taking place in broad daylight. whilst the movie is pretty much self contained, the end leaves scope for more.
and if you're familiar with the old hulk tv show then listen out for a name that will ring a bell. if you're familiar with other movies from marvel studios, then you might get another surprise.
this is not quite a hulk smash, but it's not at all bad.
this edition of the dvd comes over two discs, in a very sturdy box.
the first disc offers:
the movie, with direct scene access.
a commentary from director louis leterrier and actor tim roth [blonsky]. likeable and enthusiastic and articulate they are worth a listen.
and at the start of the disc once loaded you get trailers for the third mummy film, the iron man movie, and forthcoming cartoons from marvel animation before you get to the main menu,
the film has language tracks in english and hungarian, and 5.1 sound. there is a 2.0 sound option but that's only in english.
there are subtitles in english SDH arabic danish dutch finnish hungarian icelandic norwegian swedish and turkish. the menu screens are in english or dutch.
on disc two there are a fair few documentaries. there doesnt look like much to go by the menu screen, but there's some good material amongst them.
alternate opening: a two minute long deleted scene from the start of the film. this offers some lovely scenery.
42 minutes worth of deleted scenes. interestingly none of them are action moments, so you get the feeling a lot of this was cut for pace. there are some good character scenes amongst them, although the more emotional betty bruce moments are hurt by a rather intrusive score. you can watch all of these at once or one at a time. if you know your marvel comics continuity then keep your eyes on the scenery in the blonsky ross conversation.
the making of incredible hulk is a thirty minute long look at the making of the film, and is a good documentary of this kind. once again the director helps that with his talking and enthusiasm and all the cast are clearly enjoying themselves. there was talk of the star and director having had a fall out over the length of the final cut, but there's nothing about that here.
becoming the hulk and becoming the abomination are two ten minute documentaries about the design of the two characters and how they were achieved on screen. technically interesting and also a good look at the acting process involved in such creations.
anatomy of a hulk out is three ten minute documentaries about each of the three action set pieces. they can be watched one at a time or all at once, and are up to the standards of the above mentioned material for the same reasons.
from comic book to screen takes one key scene from the movie that was inspired by a similar scene in a hulk comic, and shows you the images from the comic. It's well done and worth a look.
this disc offers just an english language soundtrack in 2.0 stereo sound
and subtitles in english sdh italian arabic bulgarian czech danish dutch finnish greek hebrew hungarian icelandic norwegian polish portugese romanian russian slovenian swedish and turkish. the menu screens can be viewed in english italian dutch russian or portugese.
a decent bit of movie entertainment, and a very good package for it