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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 Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

This is a mythic comic-book movie about a man at war with himself and the world. Brilliant scientist Bruce Banner (Australian actor Eric Bana) has so many acute emotional problems that he's alienated his co-worker/girl-friend, Betty Ross (Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly). Yet it's not until he's accidentally blasted with gamma radiation during a nanotechnology experiment that the mean, green Hulk, who's lurked inside of him since birth, emerges as Banner's powerful alter-ego. ("You're making me angry," he warns. "I don't think you're gonna like me when I'm angry.") But that's only the superficial plot. Then there's a complex, multi-level struggle involving Bruce's ex-con renegade-scientist father (Nick Nolte) who altered his genetics, Betty's estranged military-commander father (Sam Elliott) and a larcenous rival researcher (Josh Lucas).

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Hulk first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1962 and spawned a TV series (1977-82) with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. But it's taken the lyric sensibility of Oscar-winning director Ang Lee ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") and writer James Schamus to forge an emotional connection between Bruce Banner's inner turmoil and his repressed childhood memories and to invent a poignant ending that invites a sequel. Stylistically, Ang Lee adroitly utilizes montage sequences and splits the screen into panels, showing several images at once. And while ILM's 15'-tall, rage-filled Hulk is reminiscent of King Kong, don't expect a CGI character with the depth of the Gollum in "Lord of the Rings." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Hulk" is an unexpectedly intense, engaging 9. It's not only this summer's blockbuster creature-feature but it also cleverly fuses pop culture with psychodrama.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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