THE HULK

As promised, I have checked out THE HULK, to ascertain just what kind of craziness this summer is starting of with…Bottom line, Big Evil gives a big “Hell Yes!”Read on to get the full boat dish… THE HULKStudio: Universal StudiosStarring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte, Sam ElliotDirected by: Ang LeeYou’re making me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…Stan “The Man” Lee, creator of The Incredible Hulk (as well as X-Men, Fantastic Four and Spiderman) has said that the inspiration for hesitant changeling Bruce Banner was rooted in his own frustration at not being able to free the anger within. I have always identified with Dr. Bruce, trying to keep a hold on the beast inside of him, being afraid to get angry, or emotional, dreading the moment when the dam bursts and becomes an unstoppable force of destruction. Some of us know exactly what poor Bruce is going through. Ang Lee and Eric Bana seem to understand it entirely.Let me get this out of the way. The effects are erratic. The CG in close-up is amazingly detailed, but the action shots are hit and miss. Hey, what do you expect? What is at all feasible about a 15-foot tall green madman in purple shorts? That having been said, the effects are no less realistic than Neo swinging on a pole step kicking 800 Agent Smiths. If you are paying attention to the film, and allow yourself to just enjoy it, suspension of disbelief becomes an afterthought.Ang Lee has done it once again. Another genre attempted, another genre defeated. This is the most comic book of all comic book movies. From the fluorescent green spray that issues from exploding Hulk dogs, and the eerie glow of the Gamma radiation cloud, to sly editing with panels and sliding cuts, Lee holds a sure hand over the proceedings. Character and plot are never overrun with glitz, and the relationships never become corny soap-opera clichés. Excellent visuals abound, outside of the main Hulk FX, including interstitials and some cool fade and wipe effects. The performers are all on their game. Nick Nolte is a gyrating ball of hypertension and mania. Sam Elliot is all grumbling authority and steely-eyed decisiveness. Jennifer Connelly does a tremendous job of keeping it serious, playing confused without being naïve and conveying the mixed emotions she has for her father and Bruce. Eric Bana is gold. After an array of supporting turns in Hollywood productions, and a few lead roles in his native Australia, Bana acquits himself with ease. He effortlessly flows between geeky scientist, confused and painfully withdrawn outcast and responsible and powerful hero. Much as Tobey Maguire captured the essence of Peter Parker AND Spiderman, or Hugh Jackman BECAME Wolverine, Bana IS both Bruce Banner and The Hulk.Without delving too much into spoiler territory, keep a close eye out for the Stan Lee/Lou Ferrigno cameo at Bruce Banner’s lab. Also, I have to say that the bit where Hulk is flown into the upper atmosphere is one of the coolest things I have seen on film in a long time. Being a lifelong fan of the Hulking Green Menace, I have to give this my unrestrained seal of approval. If moviegoers go into this looking for a fun, entertaining and action-packed two-and-a-half hours, they will not be disappointed. And yes, there’s room for a sequel.Rating – 10Reviewed by Axel H

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