Saturday, 28 June 2008

The Incredible Hulk (Thanet Extra, June 20th)

Expectations play a huge part in the summer movie game. Take Indiana Jones. Some people expected a classic, looking to be transported back their childhood, while others just hoped for a throwaway two hours. Either view coloured their verdicts, although to my eyes Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was neither classic nor failure.

For The Incredible Hulk, it was seeking to reboot a character who last had an outing as recently as 2003, in Ang Lee’s underrated Hulk. This time around, the script, co-written by its star Edward Norton, stays more closely to the 1978 TV series. He plays Dr Bruce Banner, who after being self-irradiated with gamma-rays in a military experiment, develops his special super-ego. You know: the green guy, he’s massive, you won’t like him when he’s angry etc. On the run from the military, he escapes to the Brazilian favalas, leaving behind him girlfriend Betty (Liv Tyler), and her ruthless father, General “Thunderbolt” Ross who wants the Hulk formula to make an army of super soldiers.

The General uses an assortment of American troops to hunt down Banner, including a mercenary English snarler called Blonsky; a phoned-in performance from Tim Roth. One of the characters I’ve mentioned also becomes an oversized monster whose trousers are two small for him like Simon Cowell. Unlike the pop guru, both Hulk and his adversary, The Abomination (great name) do not reflect light the way human beings do in front of movie camera-because they are generated on computer. The elephant in the room: despite today’s CGI wizardry, it’s still a tough ask making a humanoid with green skin look real. And they don’t manage it.

Of the plentiful action scenes, most of them feel like episodes in a playstation game, maybe only very young or undiscerning viewers will be able to get over this.
To the film's credit, it moves along at a clip, unlike's Ang Lee's art-house version. Having said that, watching CGI inflatibles scraping is more than a bit dull. Hulk's Marvel friend, Iron Man fared a lot better with his sleek metallic outfit, he was funnier too.

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