THE HULK

Content -2
Quality
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: June 20, 2003

Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly,
Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, and
Josh Lucas

Genre: Science Fiction

Audience: Teenagers and adults REVIEWER:
Dr. Ted Baehr HULK, one of the
big summer flicks this year,
has a lot to commend in terms
of big production values, some
exciting sequences and good
story set-up, but bigger is
not always better. As the
movie goes along, it starts to
unwind, getting bogged down in
multiple endings that peter
out in the end. Like most
Marvel movies, HULK begins
with a scientific
visualization of cells and
their components (with a few
star systems added to suggest
gamma radiation). In this
Marvel movie, however, the
scientific sequences continue
much longer in an often very
interesting, but sometimes
disjointed fashion. Soon, the
audience discovers that David
Banner is trying to develop a
way for human beings to
regenerate, just as frogs and
starfish do. When General Ross
refuses to let him experiment
on human beings, David injects
himself with the potent
regeneration formula he’s
developed. Regrettably, he
discovers that his wife is
pregnant. He recognizes that
the child is a monster in the
classic sense, as some being
that violates the created
order. David starts looking
for a cure for his son, Bruce.
When he’s ordered to shut
down his research, however, he
goes bonkers. The story skips
ahead to Bruce Banner, grown
up with another name, working
alongside Betty Ross, the
general’s estranged
daughter, working in their
laboratory. They too are
working on a formula to help
humans regenerate. Into this
mix comes a new janitor, who
turns out to be Bruce’s
father, David, released after
30 years in prison. A gamma
ray accident at the lab
releases the Hulk inside Bruce
Banner. Furthermore, he finds
out who his father is. Betty
tries to deal with Bruce’s
anger and condemns the father
for violating God’s
boundaries when the father
says knowledge of oneself is
the most important thing. The
rest of the movie involves the
army trying first to harness
the Hulk, and, then, when he
escapes, trying to destroy
him. Betty tries to rescue the
Hulk from her father, General
Ross, and turn him back into
the Bruce Banner she
loves. Although audiences
laughed at a previous cut of
HULK which made it to the
Internet, the final edited
version is an entertaining
movie, with some wonderful
scenes. The first half of the
movie is particularly well
constructed, but when the
chase starts, the movie seems
to lose its way. The problem
is that the Hulk never
develops. He shows a few
glimmers of compassion, but he
never becomes the conflicted
hero that he should be to win
the hearts of audiences. As he
is, the Hulk is invincible.
Therefore, there is no real
ending and no real resolution.
There are also three
pseudo-endings, one of which
is wrapped up in his father,
David, becoming the Hulk’s
arch-nemesis. The movie is
also filled with pop
psychology, where all of
Bruce’s problems are vested
on his father and a little
repressed memory treatment can
solve all of his angst. In
this regard, FINDING NEMO is a
much more satisfying movie,
showing fathers in all their
complexity, and yet with a
commendable heart. HULK’s
portrayal of fathers is just
too dark and too artsy for a
blockbuster action movie
that’s designed to attract
children and young
teenagers. Nick Nolte is a
terrific actor, but he goes
over the top at the end in a
scene that seems
unintentionally comical. The
good news, however, is that he
symbolizes the Berkeley
anti-government,
anti-religious hippie of the
1960s, and his rantings in
that scene are implicitly
rebuked. Ang Lee should have
cautioned Sam Elliott, who
plays General Ross, against
using strong profanities,
including two GDs and a
reference to Jesus Christ.
After all, this is supposed to
be a kid-friendly
movie. Jennifer Connelly as
Betty is terrific and probably
plays the most interesting
character in the whole movie.
Betty is truly the heroine,
but the movie does not give
her the scope she deserves. In
the final analysis, HULK is
divided between heavy
psychological drama and an Ang
Lee action flick. This is not
always an easy fit, especially
in the movie’s final ending,
which may be too confusing and
too bizarre for many people.
Ang Lee should have pulled
back a bit on the arthouse
spirit of adult psychological
angst and inserted a stronger
sense of summer fun. He also
missed a great opportunity to
provide moviegoers with an
ending that would capitalize
on the redemptive aspects and
pop culture sensibilities of
the original INCREDIBLE
HULK. Please address your
comments to: Stacey Snider,
Chairman Universal
Pictures Ron Meyer,
President/COO Universal
Studios 100 Universal City
Plaza Universal City, CA
91608-1085 Phone: (818)
777-1000 Web Page:
www.universalstudios.com

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 138 minutes

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Director: Ang Lee

Executive Producer:

Producer: Gale Anne Hurd, Avi Arad,
James Schamus, and Larry
Franco EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS:
Stan Lee and Kevin Feige

Writer: John Turman, Michael France
and James Schamus BASED ON THE
MARVEL COMIC BOOK CHARACTER
CREATED BY: Stan Lee and Jack
Kirby

Address Comments To:

Content:

(B, Ab, AP, C, LL, VVV, N, A, M) Light moral worldview with a villainous father who bashes religion and government in a 1960s anarchist way (implicitly rebuked), a tough American general father who swears, some redemptive elements when a loving girlfriend mentions God positively and main character shows some signs of compassion and self-sacrifice, but movie’s portrayal of fathers is too dark for children; seven obscenities, three or four strong profanities, two light profanities, and father mocks religion; strong violence includes parents argue intensely with child nearby, violent and angry fathers, large scary monster smashes labs, large monster battles and pummels large and vicious dogs that have been genetically altered, monster tosses men around and throws humongous objects at them, army tanks, soldiers and helicopters fire missiles and weapons at large monster, explosions, and monsters battle one another to the death; kissing and hugging; total rear and upper male nudity; alcohol use; no smoking; and, pop psychology about childhood trauma, repressed memories and angry fathers.

GENRE: Science Fiction

B

Ab

AP

C

LL

VVV

N

A

M

Summary:

HULK, one of the big summer flicks this year, describes the familiar story of Bruce Banner, who turns into a raging green monster when two genetic experiments go wrong. Despite major story flaws, HULK has a lot to commend in terms of big production values, some exciting sequences and a good story concept, but its psychological themes about parents and children are too dark and heavy for an action movie intended for children and teenagers.

Review:

HULK, one of the big summer flicks this year, has a lot to commend in terms of big production values, some exciting sequences and good story set-up, but bigger is not always better. As the movie goes along, it starts to unwind, getting bogged down in multiple endings that peter out in the end.

Like most Marvel movies, HULK begins with a scientific visualization of cells and their components (with a few star systems added to suggest gamma radiation). In this Marvel movie, however, the scientific sequences continue much longer in an often very interesting, but sometimes disjointed fashion.

Soon, the audience discovers that David Banner is trying to develop a way for human beings to regenerate, just as frogs and starfish do. When General Ross refuses to let him experiment on human beings, David injects himself with the potent regeneration formula he’s developed. Regrettably, he discovers that his wife is pregnant. He recognizes that the child is a monster in the classic sense, as some being that violates the created order. David starts looking for a cure for his son, Bruce. When he’s ordered to shut down his research, however, he goes bonkers.

The story skips ahead to Bruce Banner, grown up with another name, working alongside Betty Ross, the general’s estranged daughter, working in their laboratory. They too are working on a formula to help humans regenerate. Into this mix comes a new janitor, who turns out to be Bruce’s father, David, released after 30 years in prison. A gamma ray accident at the lab releases the Hulk inside Bruce Banner. Furthermore, he finds out who his father is. Betty tries to deal with Bruce’s anger and condemns the father for violating God’s boundaries when the father says knowledge of oneself is the most important thing.

The rest of the movie involves the army trying first to harness the Hulk, and, then, when he escapes, trying to destroy him. Betty tries to rescue the Hulk from her father, General Ross, and turn him back into the Bruce Banner she loves.

Although audiences laughed at a previous cut of HULK which made it to the Internet, the final edited version is an entertaining movie, with some wonderful scenes. The first half of the movie is particularly well constructed, but when the chase starts, the movie seems to lose its way.

The problem is that the Hulk never develops. He shows a few glimmers of compassion, but he never becomes the conflicted hero that he should be to win the hearts of audiences. As he is, the Hulk is invincible. Therefore, there is no real ending and no real resolution. There are also three pseudo-endings, one of which is wrapped up in his father, David, becoming the Hulk’s arch-nemesis.

The movie is also filled with pop psychology, where all of Bruce’s problems are vested on his father and a little repressed memory treatment can solve all of his angst. In this regard, FINDING NEMO is a much more satisfying movie, showing fathers in all their complexity, and yet with a commendable heart. HULK’s portrayal of fathers is just too dark and too artsy for a blockbuster action movie that’s designed to attract children and young teenagers.

Nick Nolte is a terrific actor, but he goes over the top at the end in a scene that seems unintentionally comical. The good news, however, is that he symbolizes the Berkeley anti-government, anti-religious hippie of the 1960s, and his rantings in that scene are implicitly rebuked.

Ang Lee should have cautioned Sam Elliott, who plays General Ross, against using strong profanities, including two GDs and a reference to Jesus Christ. After all, this is supposed to be a kid-friendly movie.

Jennifer Connelly as Betty is terrific and probably plays the most interesting character in the whole movie. Betty is truly the heroine, but the movie does not give her the scope she deserves.

In the final analysis, HULK is divided between heavy psychological drama and an Ang Lee action flick. This is not always an easy fit, especially in the movie’s final ending, which may be too confusing and too bizarre for many people. Ang Lee should have pulled back a bit on the arthouse spirit of adult psychological angst and inserted a stronger sense of summer fun. He also missed a great opportunity to provide moviegoers with an ending that would capitalize on the redemptive aspects and pop culture sensibilities of the original INCREDIBLE HULK.

Please address your comments to:

Stacey Snider, Chairman

Universal Pictures

Ron Meyer, President/COO

Universal Studios

100 Universal City Plaza

Universal City, CA 91608-1085

Phone: (818) 777-1000

Web Page: www.universalstudios.com

SUMMARY: HULK, one of the big summer flicks this year, describes the familiar story of Bruce Banner, who turns into a raging green monster when two genetic experiments go wrong. Despite major story flaws, HULK has a lot to commend in terms of big production values, some exciting sequences and a good story concept, but its psychological themes about parents and children are too dark and heavy for an action movie intended for children and teenagers.

In Brief: