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All over the country people who have already seen THE HULK are asking a question. Its a question that they would very much like to address to Ang Lee. I have never met and do not know Ang Lee but Im not going to let that stop me from answering the question for him.
THE HULK was directed by Mr. Lee and written by John Turman (TIME KILLER), Michael France (GOLDENEYE) and James Schamus (who worked with Ang Lee on "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), based of course on the Marvel comic character created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.
The story opens in the sixties on an Army base. Manically driven scientist David Banner - played as a young man by Paul Kersey but through most of the film by Nick Nolte (THE DEEP, AFFLICTION, CAPE FEAR) is trying to develop a way to enhance the human immune system so that soldiers will be immune to all toxins. In true mad scientist fashion Banner is ready to sacrifice anyone (and experiment on anyone) to get the answers he needs. This includes experimenting on himself not long before his wife tells him she's pregnant. But then the army realizes how out of control this guy is and shows him the door, which in turn leads to something very bad happening in the Banner household.
Jump ahead a few decades and Bruce Banner (Eric Bana: BLACK HAWK DOWN), nanotechnology scientist, is experimenting along similar lines as his father. But Bruce doesn't know that, believes his father and mother are both dead, and doesn't know his last name is Banner. He thinks he's just an ordinary super-genius who just broke up with, but still works with, the stunningly beautiful Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly: DARK CITY, DARK WATER). As a side note and speaking as a guy, I can suspend my disbelief for THE HULK but not for this dweeb dumping Jennifer Connelly. Like he could do better? Not in a million years.
Not long after, a mysterious accident occurs while Bruce is in the experiment chamber. He's exposed to what should have been a fatal dose of gamma rays, but strangely doesn't die. In fact he feels great! Until he gets mad and becomes the Hulk!
Okay, I'm lying. All that does happen but the phrase "Not long after" should be replaced by "A very long 45 minutes later". There's no point in sugar coating the truth anymore. This movie is boring. The X-MEN style comic book action movie everyone is expecting is not what you'll find here. Instead this film is about a lot of dramatic "tension" (ha!) revolving around childhood secrets and reconciling with distant and/or crazy fathers.
Which brings me to the question people who've already seen this movie would like to ask Ang Lee: "What were you thinking?" I mean no disrespect by that (he's directed films and I haven't). In fact, I do respect his attempt to go in a different direction. What he tried to do was tell a serious dramatic story with the whole Hulk thing as secondary. It's a gutsy thing to do but it failed.
There are some very cool moments. The Hulk effects are well done and the tank-busting strength of this 15-foot tall green behemoth is believably portrayed. But are they accurately portrayed?
The only way to answer that question is with a
But then that's always been true of the Hulk. It would have been nice if they'd made an attempt to explain it scientifically (it can be done) but it also would have been nice if the cool parts of this movie weren't so few and far between. I give THE HULK two shriek girls.
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