First Impressions: The Incredible Hulk

One of the blockbusters hitting this Summer amongst the crap load piled up already is The Incredible Hulk, which is a reboot to the lackluster and poorly produced installment in 2003. Nothing against Ang Lee, but that was not The Hulk fans know and enjoy seeing adventures of. Can’t exactly hate him for trying but it’s hard to defend the film when the expression “Hulk Dogs” keeps repeating itself in your mind over and over again… At any rate, this latest installment brings The Hulk back to his roots in the television series and comic books. It features the characters we all know of but with new faces in each role that are far better suited. Edward Norton, Tim Roth, Liv Tyler, and William Hurt are the principal cast this time around. Just hearing Edward Norton (Fight Club) and Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction) in the same sentence alone will automatically make this film better than the past installment we’d all rather not talk about.

Storywise, if you grew up watching the television series or reading the comic books you’ll be more familiar with this take. The Abomination is the main villain and the Army is after Bruce Banner just like in the television series. Bruce Banner doesn’t wish to have the Hulk locked up within him, military wants to use him as a weapon, etc. Edward Norton is Bruce Banner and Tim Roth is The Abomination. The Hulk appears within the first 3 minutes of the film and a fight clocked at more than 20 minutes between The Hulk and The Abomination caps off the finale of the film. All-and-all, I’m impressed. I highly enjoyed the television series and this film appears to be heavily influenced by the success the series had. The film is about the struggle within Bruce Banner but implements the Hulk much more and doesn’t seem to mind pulling out all the stops to tell it’s own story.

On the effects side, Rythm & Hues was hired this time around. My thoughts? Not the best of choices. Their track record isn’t highly impressive but it is acceptable. I would have much rather seen WETA tackle the project but their not the cheapest studio on the block and were more than likely not within the capabilities of the budget. And Marvel nor Universal Studios want to dump a lot of money into a film that has a high chance of failing if it can’t convince it’s audience that it differs from its predecessor… Regardless, the trailer released the first glimpse we received of the Hulk and the Abomination. The Hulk looks like the comic book version and I give a lot of props to the creative efforts put forth to keep him more in tune with what we grew up with and what is realistic in terms of the source material and film it’s being displayed through. The Abomination has been altered greatly from his comic book counterpart. I really don’t mind since he wouldn’t translate well in the realm of 3D, but fanboys will more than likely find it just another thing to aimlessly bicker about.

I’d like to take some time to address some criticisms and backlash against the film at it’s current state. First off, The Hulks design. Many seem to disprove of the character appearing the size he does. Pick up the comic book some time. They’ve actually sized the character down from his comic book counterpart. The TV series really couldn’t make the character as large as the source material due to lack of technology and effects advancements at the time. The Hulk is supposed to be large to reflect the monstrosity and strength of the character in question. Bickering won’t change the facts of that matter… The next would be the effects. Until you see the final film, don’t bitch and go on about the CGI implemented. It’s all unfinished at this stage and still needs fine tuning and polish. I don’t care how unrealistic some of the lighting is or how some of the animation is still rough. Anything looks better than the Hulk Dog sequence which was a real abomination and black mark to the film series… And lastly, for those who say this sequel/reboot is unnecessary… Re-watch Ang Lee’s Hulk. Which was your favorite aspect of the film; the poor creative choices, the 40 minutes it took for The Hulk to appear, the piss poor villain, or the Hulk Dogs that were as unnecessary as they were terribly animated? Ang Lee’s Hulk was not a “misunderstood masterpiece”. Grindhouse was a “misunderstood” masterpiece. Nothing personal against those who enjoyed Ang Lee’s take. It was severely flawed and differed too much from the source material for it to be enjoyable in my opinion…

It’s been 5 years and Marvel saw potential in bringing life back to the series. A sequel was in the works but dropped due to the poor creative decisions and reception the last film received. I’ve actually been hoping for this to happen. The Hulk character has always caught my attention because of how real the character was and how the main character really didn’t want the power granted to him to begin with. We all have inner rage within us and The Hulk presents a amplified version of someone who struggles to fight the beast within. It’s a different take on the super hero genre that you really don’t see every day. And the television series further amplified the character by having Bruce Banner travel around as a loner observing and helping others with the monster he fights every day.

Overall, I think there are some good creative choices. While the trailer didn’t completely qualm my doubts of this project turning out to be yet another poor endeavor; I can see Marvel and Universal Studios having a better installment on their hands in terms of reception and box office sales if the film will is correctly executed, marketed, and the computer generated imagery is polished in time for the release. Though I’d have to say the marketing has been terrible thus far. I don’t know why, but I’ve noticed a majority of Universals films tend to receive poor marketing. Either their hoping word of mouth is good or their planning on amping up the amount of marketing within a close time span of the films release to take the cheap way out and not build momentum. We have less than two months till this film hits theaters and the official poster is just hitting theaters now. The only form of coverage is the trailer that premiered on MTV and was aired on a couple network for a small interval of time. Other then that there isn’t really anything else out there that indicates the existence of this film. Unless Universal wants this film to get lost in the sea of Summer blockbusters more measures need to be taken… Will this film surpass it’s predecessor? Will Universal actually market the damn thing? And will that rumored crossover with Iron Man that all various news sites out there are covering because they have nothing better to report on actually take place? Only time will tell…

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