Monday, July 28, 2008

Movie Marathon Part 5 - Cashing in on AlGore

Next up, the new Hulk.

Now, admittedly, I was apprehensive about this remake/reboot/sequel. I'll stand by my belief that Ang Lee sucks. I'll take flack for saying Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a load of crap disguised in great cinematography and wire stunts. The first Hulk went to prove my point (most people I know fell asleep during Brokeass Mountain - and no one has ever even seen Lust, Caution - and Sense and Sensibility was about 45 minutes too long). I saw Ang Lee at Comic Con in 2002, at a panel where he narrated PRODUCTION STILLS like an elderly Asian man giving you a travelogue of his trip to Yosemite. This gave me a bad feeling. What was an even worse omen was that he couldn't pronounce the characters' names right. This has nothing to do with his ethnicity - this has everything to do with the fact that he didn't understand his source enough to even get names right!!!

Ugh... Now, I liked what he tried to do with Hulk - a more psychological examination of the protagonist. But it failed miserably... Boring, long, pretentious, and terrible scene transitions.

So, flash forward a few years and Marvel announces the sequel no one wants (them touting that Hulk's popularity is second to only Spiderman, worldwide (which also goes to Marvel's editorial inability to understand reality (see: Brand New Day), but that's another post)). But, they begin to move in a positive direction. No more Eric Bana. Bless his heart, he just kills everything he touches. We should call him Charlie Bana.

Enter: Ed Norton. Nice. Enter: Ed Norton co-writing and producing. Very nice. Enter: return of Liv Tyler. Extra nice. And so on.

The result:

Not bad. A very entertaining action movie. My wife described it, accurately, as a boy's movie. My brother in law, who likes his movies full of explosions and boobies, said it was really good (but, parents of the world, relax, the only boobies in this one are green and manly). All in all, it starts really well, with Bruce Banner, in self-exile for years, trying to master his inner-self (I love the metaphors for Hulk, and the underlying psychology, which I wish they would have explored - Hulk is not a her, Hulk is a normal person who has to deal with the fact that if he loses control for one second, he ruins lives. Very cool stuff that wasn't touched on enough). The government is still after him.

They chase, they fight, they chase, they fight, they chase, big final fight. That's the gist of it. It was fun to watch, performances and effects (including directing) were well-done. I wished for a deeper look at things - which is why I'm praying for a director's cut.

When the movie was edited, the first cut was 20 minutes longer - all with more character development. Marvel rejected that and trimmed it down to be leaner. The movie could have been a little... fatter. If you look at the SUPREME Dark Knight (which we'll get to some day when I have a lot of time and energy to cheer and praise it), it sacrificed action lean-ness for an incredibly dense character story - which made it amazing. Iron Man did the same thing, in a sense.

Props to Marvel for bringing Robert Downey, Jr into Hulk for a brief cameo foreshadowing the togetherness of the upcoming Marvel Films Universe (I get chills thinking about it). All in all - decent. Check it out if you like action movies/comic movies. I'll give it a B.

No comments: