movies: the incredible hulk

the incredible hulk - a hero shows his true colorsSometimes when the original movie was so bad (Hulk, I'm looking at you) you kind of wonder why they would bother remaking the movie. Of course I suppose it's better than remaking the good movies and ruining them...

Anyway... The Incredible Hulk is such a remake, and it is fortunately miles ahead of the original.

They have ret-conned pretty much all of the plot from the first movie, and honestly, you need to be paying complete attention during the opening titles, because all the "Last Time on The Incredible Hulk" info is contained in the quick editing in the title montage (even if you know the basic Hulk mythology).... including a couple of references that places Hulk squarely in the same universe as other recent Marvel movie Iron Man (and there is the much talked about cameo by Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark)... but then Marvel is planning to make movies of both Captain America and then The Avengers (which is the superhero team consisting of Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America, amongst others), so I guess that makes sense.

I will admit that I've never been particularly fond of The Hulk... I mean there isn't really that much to him... he's all "dude gets angry, turns green, smashes things"... so, you know, not exactly riveting stuff. But Edward Norton does do a pretty good job as Bruce Banner, especially since he manages to get across the struggle of keeping calm and not wanting to let the internal beast escape.

And I will give them a huge amount of props, the CGI this time is about a billion times better than last time... Hulk stays a consistent size, and he's more human looking (despite the green musclebound thing obviously), doesn't leap impossible distances like some sort of steroid enhanced frog and the textures are pretty damn good. Yes, he still obviously looks CGI, but it's better CGI.

I'm a little ambivalent about Liv Tyler's performance... it occurred to me on the way home that she always seems to play the girlfriend/female sidekick... and from the handful of things I've seen her in it always seems to be the same performance... but whether that's because she's something of a wooden actress or because she keeps being offered the same kinds of parts, I'm not sure. I did find myself wondering how the role would have been if Michelle Monaghan had been cast instead. That's not to say that Liv didn't do an okay job, but it was a little bland.

There were also a couple of characters that seemed like they should actually have gone somewhere... and kinda did go places, but we weren't necessarily let in on the reference... the Mr Blue character for one... interesting things happen to him the last time we see him... but that's the last time we see him...

There wasn't actually a whole hell of a lot to the plot... not when it really got going. There was a lot of good stuff at the beginning, when Banner is hiding and running around Brazil... basically stuff that involves actual acting... but once that part stops there's a lot of the big green dude smashing things randomly.

Speaking of the Brazil sequences though... I know that the stuff was all filmed in real locations, but I've never seen a real location that looked so much like it should have been created as a model... it's just really hard to believe that it actually exists... there's a slow pan up a mountain side that's covered with what I assume are shanty/slum houses, but it looks AMAZING... it just keeps going and going and going and going and you think it's never going to end.

Getting back to the plot... nothing in it is overly surprising, you pretty much know where it's going to end up (not helped by the fact that they keep showing part of the final confrontation sequence in everything I've seen about the movie)... but the end of the movie is actually somewhat lackluster... there's the big fight scene, and then it just kind of stops... and you find yourself wondering "and then?". They do add a couple of little scenes at the end that sort of wraps things up, but it doesn't really explain what happened. I do wish they'd added the second one at the end of the credits so that it would match up with the similar scene in Iron Man... they could have made a whole thing about having those scenes after the credits, and then people wouldn't necessarily have seen them, and would have to see the movie again or get the DVD to see them... it would have been good.

On the up side, at least this one was a decent movie...

yani's rating: 2 Mr Greens out of 5

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