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The Hulk

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Hulk

Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly
Director: Ang Lee
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 140 Minutes
Release Date: June 2003
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte, Brooke Langton, Cara Buono

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Save your popcorn money, kids. THE HULK is no SPIDER-MAN. Whereas Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN was lively and fun, Ang Lee's THE HULK is slow and ponderous. A think piece more than an action film, it is a pretentious picture that takes itself way too seriously. Like the Hulk, the film is bulked up. Buried deep within it is a great hour-and-a-half movie that is dying to get out. And speaking of dying, you're going to be pretty tired by the time it's over. When an epilogue, which serves as the trailer for HULK 2, starts off with "One Year Later," you'll swear that you've been watching the movie in real-time, since its almost two and a half hours feel like an entire year.

Eric Bana, who showed such frighteningly explosive energy in CHOPPER, might seem to be an excellent choice to play Bruce Banner, the super hero HULK's alter ego. But Lee so emasculates Bana that he becomes a zero, an uninteresting nerd whose only purpose is be transformed into a big green CGI monster called THE HULK.

Consistently terrific, Jennifer Connelly plays Betty Ross, Bruce's lab partner and girlfriend. Connelly and the green monster have genuine chemistry together, but Connelly and Bana never do, no matter how hard they try, and everyone in this movie tries hard, way too hard.

In the trying hard department, the king is Nick Nolte, who plays Bruce's evil father. Nolte is an actor with a proclivity for overacting unless firmly directed to do otherwise. Lee encourages everything that is bad about Nolte's acting, which is a shame since Nolte can be so wonderful if properly directed. Nolte's acting is so over the top that it is almost laughably bad.

The story starts off intriguingly, helped enormously by Danny Elfman's brilliantly evocative score, but the movie keeps getting bogged down in long, laborious scenes of no real import. As much as Lee seems to want to be making the next GANDHI, he really should be shooting for something with more of a comic book feel.

If you do go, and most people between the ages of 12 and 24 probably will, save yourself an hour. Just show up an hour late. You'll enjoy the movie just as much and probably more than the viewers who had to wait that long for anything to happen.

THE HULK runs 2:20. It is rated PG-13 for "sci-fi action violence, some disturbing images and brief partial nudity" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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