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July 1st, 2003

Hulk.

i saw Hulk.

i have never really liked the hulk. it's just one of those concepts that never worked for me. it was interesting in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde where hyde would walk over children and was a real bastard, but the superhero version of it, where the hulk helps people, and isn't downright evil and full of rage, has always been a child's compromise that i never liked. which, in short, sums up the major problems i had with the hulk, which explains why i can say that the film was well made, well acted, but i didn't enjoy it as much as previous ang lee films.

the highlight of the film was nick nolte's insane father. yeah, the dogs he kept were a bit of a problem for me, but it was just fun to watch him chew on the scenery, and in one fantastic scene, an electrical cable. eric bana isn't bad, but his role suffers from the repressed bannerness, which while well done, doesn't exactly make for an exciting time on screen. jennifer connelly is good, and sam elliot makes a fine military father who does what he thinks is best for her, and not what she needs. but, as with the comic, i found that i didn't have much of a connection with these characters.

that leaves the film itself.

and despite everything, it's a fine thing. ang lee is the first director in my memory to understand the use of comic panels, and incorporate them into a film with total success. it was fascinating to watch this, from my point of view, but i could see how this might not appeal to everyone. but still, the fade to black after banner is hit by gamma rays, the arrival in the desert station, all of these are done flawlessly, showing that lee understands the comic narrative tools as well as he does the one in film.

beyond this, the film is well paced, well shot, and with a neat resolution between father and son that, while i've heard complaints, i thought was neat. yes, the film isn't lee's best, at least for me, but it's a matter of taste, in my mind as you can't fault the director's vision from a technical point of view.