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The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk

Director:Louis Leterrier
Cast:Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell
Release Date:2008

By Jason Ferguson | Posted 6/18/2008

Let's do what the folks at Marvel and Universal want us to do and pretend like Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk never happened. Though it putatively takes up where the other left off (in Brazil), it's clear that this 2008 CGI-fest wants to align itself with the warm nostalgia of the 1970s TV show. The opening credits are all but homage, and during the course of the movie, Bill Bixby is seen on a TV screen, Lou Ferrigno plays a security guard (and voices the Hulk), and Edward Norton even gets off one of the movie's few laugh lines by mangling the series' "you wouldn't like me when I'm angry" catchphrase. Sadly, the connections are just that superficial; there's little of the TV show's humorous humanity, as Norton, screenwriter Zak Penn, and director Louis Leterrier do their best to make a nine-foot-tall raging mass of muscle into a sympathetic, layered character study. It does not work. Norton is all but vacant as Bruce Banner, and the relationship between him and Betty (Liv Tyler) is a pivotal plot point that winds up sucking all the energy out of the movie at precisely the moments when that energy is needed most. That Norton wanted this movie to be almost a half-hour longer is laughable; as it stands, the 112-minute running time is still bloated and overstuffed with expositional feints and needless heaviness that must be meant to distract from the unbalanced effects. Two of the big fight scenes take place at night, allowing the dark to mask the shortcomings in both the computer animation and the cheap, claustrophobic set dressing, and while the rendering of the Hulk is "good," it's amazingly far less believable than Lou Ferrigno covered in green body paint.

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