Thursday, June 05, 2008
Hulk has been seen by many
Posted by JPX
From AICN, I just got back from a preview screening of Incredible Hulk here in New York.
...it was great!
A spoiler-free mini-review follows - but if you want to remain completely unaware, you can probably skip on by.
But that's a qualified 'great'. Incredible Hulk does exactly what it says on the can. If you've seen the trailers, you know the plot - Bruce Banner is on the run; he gets found; hilarity and smashing ensues.
The thing is, I still loved it. This was the Hulk movie that should have been made five years ago - action packed, not so ponderous and surprisingly funny.
Yes, funny. From Banner's awkward Portugese, to an unexpected side-effect to him getting excited, it was a funny movie - and I think that's why it works. Ed Norton is great, selling the desperation of a man who's trying to live his life as best he can while controlling the beast inside - and the last shot of him is killer. Liv Tyler is...well, I'm not a fan but she's okay, I guess - sadly, she's no Jennifer Connelly but who is?
Then there's new Thunderbolt Ross, William Hurt. It's funny but I had a hard time seeing the actor behind the mustache and contacts, and I think that's great - like Iron Man's Jeff Bridges, he inhabits the role completely.
The real surprise for me was Tim Roth - he's not been this good for years and he's great as special forces soldier Emil Blonsky, even if his character does get lost a bit towards the end and he does look a bit like Harry Potter's Dobby at one point. There's one sequence in particular that has me drooling at the prospect of Marvel's upcoming Captain America movie.
There is an inevitable elephant in the room, and it's the CGI - yes, the Hulk looks CGi-y but short of painting a man green I'm not sure how you're going to get away from that. The thing is, the CGI doesn't really distract on the whole - there are a few shots where you kind of get pulled out of the movie, but not too many.
Nice touches abound; watch out for the names of two college students who capture the green goliath on their cameraphone, a familiar name or two in the opening credits (and not of actors), a Stan Lee cameo that actually furthers the plot, a familiar theme, a TV show that Banner watches, the real project that Banner was working on when he was turned into the Hulk, what turns Blonsky into a - er - super-soldier, a familiar logo in a computer system a great cameo from Lou Ferrigno - and, yes, a scene at the end of the movie that's been confirmed for a while which features a certain billionaire inventor. In the cut I saw, it was before the credits but I'm not sure if it'll stay that way.
On the directing front, Transporter's Louis Leterrier does a good job. The three set-piece action sequences are fluid without being choppy, and he gets that sometimes less is more. The first of these sequences, in a factory, reminds me a little of a sequence in Predator 2 only without Gary Busey chewing the scenery. A barely-seen Hulk makes mince meat of an army team, striking from the shadows.
There were a few bits and bobs from the trailers that didn't make the cut I saw; for example, the psychiatrist's role is trimmed down and he goes nameless in the movie (I think) which I guess leaves the door open for another Doc Samson down the road.
There were also a few weird cuts which I suspect were made for rating reasons - Hulk and Blonsky's confrontation on the grass is abruptly cut, and Blonsky's final transformation feels like it's missing a few seconds. I'm hoping there's a chance to re-edit this for the DVD because I suspect it's too late for the movie's release.
And I haven't even mentioned the surprising bit (to me, at least) - namely the identity of Mr Blue and the set up for the another character, which I loved.
The Incredible Hulk is a fun summer movie; just don't expect too many twists and turns. Like I said, it does exactly what it says on the can.
See more reviews here
at 12:34 PM