I tried not to build up my expectations too much when this film first came out. I mean, it was the Hulk (!), and with Ang Lee directing (double !), so it had to be good. Nothing would prepare for the end result though… it was unlike anything I had see before. An actual comic book on screen. As such, it remains unpopular, but I will continue to honour it as a deeply flawed but courageous attempt to do something different with the genre.
The story of the Hulk is an essentially tragic one, like a comic book Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Ang Lee seems intent on stretching out this vein of thought for the film. The film ‘Hulk’ is tragic in the way that only a comic can be, the human drama builds, piecing together layers of understanding, never quite making it clear to us until the great green one himself appears. Admittedly, the film is a little slow to get to this pivotal point, but it manages to hold our attention through it’s kinetic and hyper-visual style of direction… the use of comic-book styled cells and other directorial innovations, used to brilliant effect and coupled with a great score reminiscent of the original Hulk television series.
Eric Bana doesn’t actually do all that much acting, considering it’s the CGI Hulk that gets to be the angry one, but his performance is in tune with the role all the same. Nolte’s mad scientist role was fun to watch, but his character’s reasons for doing some of the things he does always seem a little muddled. Sam Elliot probably shines the most though as the ambivelent military man, Ross. The CGI Hulk itself is perfect… whilst not a 100% realistic it seems perfectly suited to the style of the film, and it’s wise to remember that a giant green man with purple pants is never going to seem “100% realistic”.
This is a worthy film adaptation of ‘The Hulk’… unlike a lot of other comic-based films, the Hulk himself is the story, and Ang Lee’s concentration on this is one of the film’s greatest strengths. As I mentioned before, it’s a little slow to get going action-wise, but once it does it really kicks some arse, and the film must go down as the one of the most ambitiously realised comic-to-film adaptations yet. It’s just a shame that it took so long for the Hulk to turn up in the movie, perhaps then it might not be remembered as the failure it is, I still enjoyed it nonetheless though.