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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Drama > The Incredible Hulk (2008/Blu-ray)

The Incredible Hulk (2008/Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: C+     Film: C+



Ditching Ang Lee after his awful 2003 The Hulk, Universal and Marvel tried again and this time, they got it right with Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk (2008) and though the new Blu-ray does not have the longer version the director had hoped for, it is still a good film that has its moments, even if it is uneven at times.


Edward Norton takes over the Banner/Hulk role and the makers decide to introduce the elements of the TV show that worked.  There is still a digital Hulk, voiced by Lou Ferrigno, but Rhythm & Hues takes over from Lucasfilm and we get a far more menacing and consistent hero.  Liv Tyler and William Hurt take over the daughter/father roles of Betty and General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross respectively and do what they can with it.  Zak Penn’s screenplay is uneven and when it runs out of ideas, goes into King Kong territory.


Fortunately, Norton is giving a seriously good and easy to underrate performance as the nice guy Banner Bill Bixby immortalized and when the eyes go green, look out!


Some of the film’s humor and situations work, while I believe Leterrier was trying his best to make this film work and cared enough to add some suspense and character to the proceedings, even when this tends to go out the window when we get the battle of the digital titans.  Tim Roth and Tim Blake Nelson are a plus in their deranged performances and the film is much of what the previous film should have been, instead of the pretentious, slanted would-be art film it thought it was and was not.  It is fun and has some action edge as the deadly monster Abomination (created by the defunct Soviet Union in the comic books) is revived in a believable-enough way.


Yet something is missing, which might be in the longer cut, but all involved knew they had to make this work and that ambition pays off.  The Ross storyline only has so much left in it, so this is why another feature is not on the way for now.  Then there are the comparisons between this and the 2003 Lee film, which had almost virtually the same box office.  There were even goofy stories covering this aspect of the two, trying to debunk that this one was more successful than the first.


The point is, this delivered for fans of all ages and that is what the last film failed to do.  The spirit of why the people have loved the main character since his comic book debut (and why the animated 1966 series still endures after so many revivals and animated versions) starts to surface here.  Then there are those who have commented that Hulk comes from a “dumb comic book” as if they read comics or books.  The fact is, the Hulk comic line continues to be one of the most successful in print history and he is one of the only Superhero genre stars to be constantly in print!


Despite the script, the film understands this and though it is not a home run, the 2008 Incredible Hulk works better than many of its contemporaries and that will only be obvious a few years from now.  By then, maybe we’ll see a sequel and more of this film.  Hulk will return in the Avengers film just the same.



The 1080p digital 2.35 X 1 High Definition image is pretty good for a film, with so much digital work, but Director of Photography Peter Menzies, Jr., A.S.C, shot this in real anamorphic 35mm Panavision and that is much better than the often dreadful Super 35mm productions we have had to suffer through.  Menzies (The Great Raid, Die Hard 3, White Sands) once again proves he knows what to do with the scope frame and he helps the film work when other aspects do not.  A new world is created for Hulk without trying so hard and down the line, it would be nice to see that visually expanded.  The DTS HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 mix is also very good and strong, though it has some sonic limits, including in some of the dialogue, not because that is not recorded well, but because this can get bombastic.  However, composer Craig Armstrong turns in one of his best scores to date and some of the sound design is top rate if not always the very best.


Extras are many and include the Blu-ray exclusive U-Control, plus deleted scenes, audio commentary by Leterrier and Roth, an animated comic, alternate opening, making of featurette, Anatomy of a Hulk Out, Becoming The Hulk, Becoming Abomination, a scene explorer and a separate DVD with Digital Copy for PC and portable computer hardware.  Our copy came with a lenticular cover of Hulk and Abomination fighting that is one of the better such paper sleeves we have seen lately.  It is so good, it looks like your thumb and fingers are sinking in it!


You can read more about the 1970s TV Hulk at the following link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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