REVIEW: “The Incredible Hulk”

Posted: June 21, 2008 by Zee in Review

(I probably would not have seen this in theaters if my parents hadn’t gone and thus paid for my ticket. You’ll have noticed by now that most if not all of my reviews are on movies that have been on DVD for at least 6 months. I’m so used to paying 11 bucks for a MATINEE ticket in NYC it’s going to take some time for me to get used to Georgia prices…– S)

There is some disagreement between Vicki and I about the quality of this movie.

First off, YES, The Incredible Hulk is much better than Ang Lee’s Hulk, a movie so terrible and forgettable it took less than 5 years to garner a remake. Seriously, that must be some kind of disreputable record. I was working in a 1-screen movie theater in Santa Barbara, CA when Hulk came out, and all I really remember is thinking, “If Eric Bana is a mild-mannered cellular biologist, I’m the Queen of Romania”. Of course, this was before Bucharest informed me of my secret linage– soon to be made into an action/biopic of it’s own right– but the sentiment is the same. My God, NO ONE in that movie was even remotely well-cast.

This one? Better. Now, if Eric Bana, an Australian best known for Chopper, in which he played a psychotic murderer who cut off his own ears to reduce his prison sentence, is the worst example of a cellular biologist I can think of, Edward Norton is much better. MUUUUUUUUUCH better. And that’s not an insult to Mr. Norton, who is also a gifted screenwriter, producer, actor, guy who was schtupping Salma Hayek for several years (you lucky bastard) and who had a hand in the script. He is also..wellll…I was discussing movie with Vicki and she said, I quote, “2/2 girls polled today would bone Edward Norton.”

Ladies and (gay and/or open-minded) gentlemen, Edward Norton is hot in this movie. Seriously, no joke. Nerdily hot. Sort of nebbish and pale and scientific but…OH MAN. It’s hard to explain, but my oh my. And…and…SHOWER SCENE! Whenever a man in an action movie needs to show emotional vulnerability, it ALWAYS happens in the bathroom. Really! If the hero needs to have a dramatic flashback or at the very least have SOME sort of emotional vulnerability moment (I call them EVMs for short) it will either be while he’s looking deeply into his eyes in the bathroom mirror or while in a hot steamy shower (better to “artistically” hide the fact he’s not wearing skivvies while still longingly panning over his physique. Again, I am not complaining). Edward Norton’s EMV occurs in the latter, and…mmmm, side butt shot. I cannot explain the weird hotness that Edward Norton extrudes, but he does. NERD hotness. And the many shirtless scenes of him in ripped trousers subtly and cheekily showing he’s not wearing said skivvies? MMMMmmmMMMMMmmmmMMM.

(May I remind you readers that this blog is written by two 20-something chicks? You got issues with drooling over exposed male flesh, go in IMDB.)

Aside from him, they had a pretty neat use of injokes in the movie, some of which were more apparent than the others. The purple strech pants one? Obvious. The use of “Stark Technologies”? If you hadn’t seen Iron Man, less so. Lou Ferrigno cameo? If you didn’t get that nod you have no right watching The Incredible Hulk. The whole Mr. Green/Mr. Blue? Okay, I MIGHT be going on a limb here, but I don’t think so…

Now, if you’ve seen Reservoir Dogs (and if you’re reading an action movie blog, I’m sue you must have by now), you’ll recall that the thieves all went by “Mr . [Color]” Now, Tim Roth? His big break was Reservoir Dogs, in which he played Mr. Orange. And, of course, he’s the antagonist in The Incredible Hulk. Coincidence? I THINK NOT! (Vicki, that should have inspired some high school flashbacks. If not, UPHOLSTER THAT, SLAPPY! Or perhaps, “Vicki, could you tell Susana to do her homework?”)

Speaking of Tim Roth…okaaaay, here. I like Tim Roth, a lot. I think he’s weirdly hot too, but that aside…there is NO FRIGGIN’ WAY this guy’s military. NO WAY! The half-beard? The slouch? The fact that while possible, the probability of a Russian-born/English raised dude getting to be elite American Delta Force having ‘come of age’ during a time when the Cold War was still a real threat? Um, YEAH. Aboooouuuut that…

And, either William Hurt is Goliath or Tim Roth is Lucky the Leprechaun, because jeez, dude is WEE next to William Hurt. Wee!

My real problem with this movie was that nobody acted like a real human being. Really. NO ONE. Dr. Betty Ross…what was with the little soft baby voice throughout the entire movie? Liv Tyler does not talk like that in real life. Nope. Her real voice is much deeper, and, well…she doesn’t sound like she’s freaking patronizing everyone she talks to. This is the main issue Vicki and I disagree on. She didn’t mind Liv Tyler’s acting, I did. Really, I can understand conflicted emotions over knowing your ex is now an uncontrollable green…well, hulk. But throughout the movie she talks to non-Hulk Bruce Banner like he was a toddler, with this baby-soft voice. My mother was a kindergarten aide for many and this is how she would talk to her charges. I’ll be honest, if I were Banner, Betty Ross’s former lover and scientific collegue, I’d be a tad insulted. I’d lost my anger-induced reason, not my emotional maturity.

Now, speaking of Rosses…can we discuss General Ross? Vicki and I agree that General Ross was prhaps the greatest master EVAH when it comes to TOTALLY misappropriating government/military funding. A profound genius! Really, when Tony Stark makes his cameo (I’m not counting this as a spoiler– if you’ve been conscious in the past 2 months you knew Incredible Hulk and Iron Man were doing crossovers) I think it was less an attempt to recruit General Ross for S.H.I.E.L.D. than to learn the divine secrets of how to more efficiently waste government funding. Tony Stark is well on his way, but General Ross is the Pai Mei to his Beatrix Kiddo (Hey! I said I didn’t like Tarantino, I never said I haven’t watched nearly all of his movies. Don’t ask me to explain my rationale).

And herein lies the rub. Of all the summer blockbusters to come out this…uh, summer…it is a VERY hard thing to follow Iron Man. Iron Man was an incredibly enjoyable, fun movie, and not even on the admittedly less rigid standard that summer movies get rated on. On the whole, it was a really good movie. It was funny, it was superhero-y, it had Robert Downey Jr, who is such an incredibly fun/good actor that you completely forget that whole “in prison for being strung out on everything under the sun” thing. (Seriously, if you have not seen him and Val Kilmer in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, SEE IT. I saw it in Budapest drunk off my ass on absinthe and vodka, subtitled in Hungarian, and I was totally blown away. That is the comeback movie to end all comeback movies).

The Incredible Hulk? Good, but…not funny. Nope, not at all, aside from the in-jokes. Actually, aside from the Hulk-centric parts of this movie, it’s kind of…we’ll, depressing. Edward Norton is not a comedic actor. The only comedy I can recall even seeing him in was some awful dreck with Ben Stiller and Jenna Elfman I saw at a Sweet 16 slumber party. He played a Roman Catholic priest and all I remember thinking was “I’ve have been to SO MANY cheerier Masses than he could deliver.” However if you want a movie where he plays an emotionally tortured nerd perpetually on the run from villains and Fate (admittedly I dig these kinds of movies), this is a great movie for you. It’s just such a different mood from Iron Man that anyone expecting the same sort of thing is going to come out of the thatre sightly bewildered, depressed, and…hungry. And you won’t like it if you’re hungry.

IN CONCLUSION: 3.5 of 5 Bullets. Weirdly, the parts WITHOUT the Hulk tself, focusing solely on Bruce Banner, were the most interesting parts. Edward Norton is very compelling and sympathetic as the lead: you will find yourself wanting to give him a warm blanket and a cup of chicken soup, and then dirtily peeking as he takes a shower. Liv Tyler is no Pepper Potts, and considering I’ve really enjoyed Liv Tyler’s roles before this is somewhat perplexing…however, we all know that well-written parts for women are a damn scarcity in the action-movie genre. Le sigh.

  1. […] Review: The Incredible Hulk by Susana. Review: The Incredible Hulk v.2 by Vicki. linkscolor = “000000”; highlightscolor = “888888”; backgroundcolor = “FFFFFF”; channel = “none”; […]

  2. I was looking back through your older articles and found the contrast between these two reviews interesting enough to post a link for my readers:

    Best wishes.

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