JT Film Review

120 – Hulk (2003)


2.5/5 stars

Director – Ang Lee

Cast – Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliot, Nick Nolte, Josh Lucas


Hulk is one of those shiny superhero movies. It fits in right along with Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, Catwoman, Elektra, etc., in that it is colourful, over-lit, and mainly devoid of anything new to offer. Hulk tries to give us something new, I will give it that. It is a pity (and maybe a shock, considering the quality of many of those involved) that it rarely succeeds.

Ang Lee was in the director’s chair. He is most recognized for the excellent Sense and Sensibility, the award-winning Brokeback Mountain, and the exciting Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He tries here to replicate the look and feel of comic books, from the cinematography (which is colourful and fairly vibrant), to the (in)famous split screen process which attempted to replicate the frames of comic books. I disagree with the majority, and think the latter technique is fairly succesful. The former is disastrous however. I hate the “plastic-ness” of it all.

All in all what sinks the movie is its insistence on trying to create a deep dramatic weight to Banner/Hulk. This is what sank Fantastic Four, and even though Hulk isn’t as bad as that movie, the same effects are felt here. The flashy mis en scene doesn’t allow for any serious character development, and to add to all that, the writing here is underdone.

This is where the sequel/reboot The Incredible Hulk did slightly better. It skipped the origin story (we all know it anyway), and got right to the movie. It added more (and better) action, improved the CGI (so much so that looks like a ten-year difference instead of 5), and just took more care in general.

The acting is quite good here though, but I’ve never been a huge fan of Eric Bana. He always seems stiff, and either expressionless or over-dramatic. Nick Nolte is his wacky self, and Jennifer Connelly does her “wife to a crazy guy” bit. I really enjoyed Sam Elliot, he brings a surprising amount of depth to an underwritten role. I didn’t actually expect that.


Hulk is a movie that tries but, despite the quality of those involved, pretty much fails in almost every regard. It is too flashy to support the dramatic weight that they want, but not exciting enough to hold interest. The Incredible Hulk is a better effort, even with its flaws.



“Hulk” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia



January 27, 2011 - Posted by | 2.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Superhero, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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