>Holy sh*t! Forgive the expletive, but I just watched the new Incredible Hulk movie starring Edward Norton, and I can feel myself swelling up and turning green as we speak. This is exactly what the first Hulk effort should have been like. What a movie!
I’ve always been fond of Marvel’s Hulk. It’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde writ large, and that book was written by a fellow Scotsman to reflect on the extreme polarity of the Scottish character. In essence, when we’re nice, we’re very nice. But when we’re mean, we’re monsters. It’s a massive generalisation, of course, but speaking for myself, it tends towards truth (as those who know me well will openly attest, though perhaps without the ‘very nice’ bit).
Banner is Dr. Jekyll, a man of medicine, of good education, thoughtful and kind. He walks a moral path, sickened by the suffering in the world and the war man makes on his brothers. Eric Bana is a great actor and did a stand up job. Bill Bixby will, for many, always be the best Banner. But, for me, it’s Norton all the way. Watch the movie and see. His performance is wonderfully nuanced, extremely human. I’ve been a fan of his other works, too (see Fight Club and American History X for some of his best), so I was delighted when he was cast as Banner.
But for all Norton’s talent and skill, this movie is about the mean, green machine. And the Hulk himself is spectacular here. The striations on his muscles ripple (particularly on his pectorals and triceps) as he tears machinery out from its floor fixings and hurls it about with abandon. I was watching on Blu-ray and found myself tensing up, raging along with him every time he was on screen. Sounds preposterous, right? That’s why I love certain movies so much. I get carried away by them. Just as well I usually watch them alone (I must tell you about my ‘movie tunnel’ in a future post).
No movie is perfect, of course. Tim Roth is miscast as a Royal Marines bad-ass here. He doesn’t pull it off, and his lines are, frankly, a bit of a mess. William Hurt is passable as the complete bastard known as General Ross (Betty Ross’s father), but Sam Elliot did it better in the Ang Lee fiasco. That’s about it as far as negatives go (well, apart from a certain video-game style move the Hulk performs that doesn’t really translate all that well to the big screen, but I’ll let you see if you can spot that bit for yourselves).
Back to the plus points, mention should go to Liv Tyler as Betty. In a movie totally dominated by a fully CG character, she manages to do a great job of interacting with him, turning in a very solid performance.
Anyway, if you’re interested in the Hulk at all, this is the movie for you. See it on Blu-ray if you can. And, if you’re liking for the Hulk extends to animation, you might want to check out Nick Kyme’s review of the new animated double-feature Hulk vs.
NOTE: Apparently, the US Blu-ray edition of The Incredible Hulk is region-free, and superior to the UK edition. This is the version I purchased. Just thought I’d mention it.