Monday, June 30, 2008

The Incredible Hulk

Rating : 5/10
Running Time : 114 Minutes
Release Date : 27th June ’08 (India)
Director : Loius Leterrier ; Writer : Zak Penn
Starring : Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson

I enjoyed the first part of the first half here, where Bruce Banner (Edward Norton), trying to lead a normal life in the favella’s (slums) of Brazil, attempts to come to grips with his gamma over-exposure. He tries to learn to control his anger, which of course is one of the triggers leading to his transformation to the big bad green man…(there is another more interesting trigger, but unfortunately, despite a willing Liv Tyler, we never saw how that turned out).

His life there, though is interrupted by the US troops tracing him and landing there, and he is forced to go on the run once more and return to the US. One soldier in particular, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), makes it a kind of personal mission to lock horns with him again, and aided by the (insanely dumb ?) General Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross, is actually given injections from the extinct super soldier program, to transform him as well into something not quite human

So, the second half, is all about one computer generated figure (the Hulk) fighting another (a genetically enhanced Tim Roth). Or how the Hulk copes with whatever gizmos the General can throw at him. Though, like the Hindi movies of yore, where the villains / henchmen would always attack the hero one at a time, the General also chooses to attack him with only one thing (tanks, cannons, gunships etc) at a time. Apparently concepts like Bush’s ‘Shock and Awe’ or the German’s blitzkrieg methods from WWII have yet to pierce the unit the General runs.

The interesting part here is only watching how Liv Tyler’s relationship develops with the Hulk, how she is able to calm him down etc. I think they missed a trick here, it would have been far more interesting to make it more like a Batman Begins, going into Edward Norton’s thought processes and his way of looking at the things happening to him (as they did with Christian Bale in Batman Begins). That probably would also have been a better way of utilizing Edwards undoubted acting talents, which were a trifle wasted here. There is clearly a sequel being planned, and its highly unlikely I’m going to watch it.

I also think that it was a bit too violent / scary for the primary audience of Hulk, the under-teens. A good barometer of how much the movie makes a mark on my son is the toys he takes out and begins to play with the next day. After Superman, it will invariably be his Superman toy, after Spiderman 3 it was Spiderman etc. All of today, the Hulk has remained safely confined to his toybox. It clearly failed to fire up his imagination in that sense…

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