Hulk (2003) – Fresh at the Year But Quite Slippery

“Hulk” is a substantial superhero whose name will coincide with other Marvel characters especially the Avengers. The TV version from 1977 to 1982 starred Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. Bill Bixby and David Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk. He is also a bodybuilder. Today, we know Hulk as a figure of a large green figure. Anger is the trigger. The concept of a superhero like this combining psychology and emotions of a person. It’s a battle between good and bad.

It’s hard to say if that figure can be said as a superhero. Kind of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” a battle between good and evil in one whole mind and body. Then, Ang Lee’s “Hulk” appeared in 2003. Today, we know Ang Lee as one of the directors who has won many awards. His film is always Oscar-worthy. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Brokeback Mountain” are both movies that bring up him until this day. But, many audiences knew him because “Life of Pi.” And now, it’s “Hulk.”

Ang Lee directed the film in 2003. People then believed it. Although his films always insert powerful drama, “Hulk” is actually fresh but it doesn’t invite too many expectations. In addition, Eric Bana is one of the suitable actors to cast Bruce Banner; previously starring in “Chopper.” Eric Bana is amazing and would look amazing if playing as Bruce Banner. That’s what according to Ang Lee.

Then, we got Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross. Besides being a miserable character in Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream,” I think maybe this would get better. But, it’s hard to say how the characters from the film directly in this film have such a drastic change. In addition to winning an Oscar in “A Beautiful Mind,” Ang Lee was very interest after watching “Requiem for a Dream.” According to him, Connelly’s character is full of tragedy. Finally, he appointed her to the role of Betty.

Ang Lee’s “Hulk” is one of the superhero films that somehow I don’t find it too interesting. In short, this is one of the most talkative superhero movies I’ve ever seen. It’s about Bruce Banner, a brilliant scientist who has a vague past about his family. An incident has occurred in his laboratory. Then, a gamma radiation hits him. Banner found himself when he was angry, he turned into a green monster. He couldn’t control himself what he saw then he would destroy it. Bruce’s past full of questions created him do as many experiments as possible after finding out who his father was.

At least, there aren’t many action scenes like in “The Incredible Hulk” even though the film also only has a few. On the other hand, we have the military trying to kill Banner just like all format of Marvel films in general. The superhero is anonymous by people. There is Josh Lucas as Talbot who tries to steal Banner’s experimental. So did his lover and Sam Elliott as Ross, Betty’s father. He led all the soldiers to order them to hunt down Bruce Banner.

Ang Lee did try to unite this film with a comical impression. If you look at Frank Miller’s “Sin City,” you can see how the film impresses like a comical. It shows a very dark background and the format it uses. Or, you can see how Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” trilogy can be as radical as that. These two materials don’t always try to just stick with the comic.

“Hulk” is so different. The shot between shot always shows a panel of shots that aren’t very well-executed. In fact, simple scenes are used too often. Frames per frame, such impressions are indeed good in some scenes or cut so that it’s very thick with elements of the comic adaptation. But, one simple scene somehow makes it annoying. There are several frames that just show something which isn’t too important or doesn’t have a close relationship with “Hulk” itself.

On the other hand, there isn’t much action in this film. The rest, it’s just talking and talking again. The action has a wide range world of things, such as when the Hulk threw a tank or dropped off helicopters, the background used wasn’t only there but was very wide. Laboratory, the desert, the Golden Gate Bridge, or others. The split-screen technique as used in “Requiem of a Dream” isn’t a bad thing but it’s just such a gimmick.

In addition to using a technique in the form of a gimmick but with good animation at the time, the Hulk combines agility and great strength so that it looks quite realistic. It’s hard to say at least even though the film isn’t just there. The character is bland, as well as the performance played by all actors and actresses in this film. The Hulk only seems repetitive, forgettable, and uninterested in addition to so much memory, background, dramatical relations between the Father and him. It’s indeed a trigger, but I find it not very interesting.

Jennifer Connelly besides having a soft and slow voice isn’t acting like acting in general. She just stayed in there, there was nothing she could do. Her expression was just all the same, whether she first reaction when she saw the Hulk or a scene being so serious, everything was the same. Sam Elliott has his own sub-plot between Betty Ross but every time when he talks, he seems to be just mumbling. Likewise with Nick Nolte besides having the final conflict at the end of the film between Bruce Banner, he could be said to have his essence value.

Ang Lee’s “Hulk” is not a Hulk or a superhero movie along with other Marvel films. This film does have an interest in certain audiences while for children, it’s hard to say when how their first expression at that time saw a green monster who destroyed everything. The movie is just a talkative, different from the trailer which is considered as mismarketing and misused. The main focus is the drama element than the others. The rest, it’s just an annoying gimmick shot between frame and frame.

Originally using a technique like this isn’t a bad thing but at the very least, it may not need to stick too much with the adaptation of the comic. All of the characters seem repetitive and blatantly together with Bruce Banner as the Hulk. The acting isn’t too bad but it seems flat so the audience is better off sleeping in some scenes rather than forcing the will. “Hulk” isn’t the worse but this is one of the most memorable films in the comic book at the time. So, it’s not an exception.

2.5 out of 5 stars.