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
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
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