After exposure to gamma radiation, whenever his heart rate skyrockets, Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) turns in to a huge, green, uncontrollable destructive machine, dubbed “The Hulk.” Desperate to rid himself of the radiation poisoning, he begins a relationship with a scientist he calls Mr. Blue (Tim Blake Nelson) to find a cure. He has to do this while in hiding because he is being hunted by the military, who believe he is property of the United States Government. He has to come out of hiding to get data before his accident and the only person he can get it from is his former girlfriend Betty Ross (Liv Tyler). A dangerous excursion, The Hulk is forced out.
There are attempts to make The Incredible Hulk about more than explosions and crushing things, but none of the plot points are enough to make the movie about anything other than bent metal. The Hulk is so strong, he can split a car in half. The Hulk is so tough, bullets don’t pierce him. The Hulk is so crazy he destroys everything. Yeah, yeah, we get it, Hulk Smash! I could get the same effect from a Gallagher show. A memo should be sent to all writers in Hollywood that guns and explosions are not plot.
The notable exception to the plot shallowness is the humor. Well timed jokes are spread evenly throughout The Incredible Hulk save it from abysmal failure. The chuckles were my favorite part of the movie because they were the only remarkable thing about The Incredible Hulk.
Even given the fact that it is difficult to imagine visually how a person would become The Hulk, the transitions in The Incredible Hulk does nothing to help. The computer generated graphics looked last generation. The Hulk character is often flat, lacking any significant distinctions of light and shadow. The villain is equally unvaried. The two make The Incredible Hulk feel cheap and in places, downright awful.
Some of the dialogue may cut it in a comic book but can’t be said out loud without sounding as natural as polyester wigs. “Is that all you got?” Yes, Mr. Villain, it is all I’ve got. You have maxed out my allotment of stupid lines in one movie. It would be best if, when writing the dialogue, Zak Penn had a few of his friends over to actually say the lines out loud and see if any of them laughed out loud in his face. I suspect there would be an endless night of laughter and the next day would be full of rewrites, Potentially saving the audience from the dull and creating a polished script.
Edward Norton and Liv Tyler are supposed to be over the moon in love with each other but their performances could not send them over a cow. Their chemistry is so badly mixed it couldn’t blow the top off a third grade science project volcano!
There is nothing special about The Incredible Hulk. It doesn’t even get the heart pumping. The Incredible Hulk may be a comic book best left in paper form.
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