October 4, 2010

Justify My Netflix: Hulk (2003)

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Hulk (2003)

Today's movie: Hulk, 2003 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: First, because this high-profile production had so many troubles as to be fascinating unto itself -- it was in development for an astounding 13 years, burning through an entire Who's Who of respected young screenwriters and directors; and then second, because who eventually won it was none other than gay Korean Oscar-winning art-house veteran Ang Lee, who famously admitted that his production was heavily influenced by things like Geothe's Faust and Greek mythology, turning in a head-scratcher whose receipts dropped a whopping 70 percent between its first and second weekends, and that Marvel hated so much that they entirely did the movie over from scratch just five years later, this time a much more traditional adaptation starring Ed Norton.

The reality: Hulk mad! Hulk trapped inside talky indie relationship drama! EMO HULK CRY! Hulk all father issues and sensory deprivation tank hallucinations now! GRRR! Just like stupid last season of '70s TV show, when Hulk caged in middle of desert in Banner's mind or some sh-t like that! GGGRRRRR!!! HULK MAD! CGI Hulk bounce from mountain to mountain like crudely done cartoon he is! ARRRGHH! HULK SMASH!!!!

Ahem. Sorry for that lazy bit of critical writing just now; but sheesh, this inexplicably bad movie just begs to be parodied, and in fact I can quite easily see now why Marvel had as bad a reaction to it as they did, versus what I thought was going to be an extra-intelligent movie that the suits at the comic-book company just didn't get. And that's because Lee, bless his little right-minded heart, took what sounds at first like a worthy idea, but then at each step made another wrong decision about which direction to go, turning in a snoozer that's both too flat and too manic, with a messily convoluted origin backstory that overstretches itself, paradoxically taking itself too seriously while still not providing a good believable explanation for what you're seeing, the entire thing edited together using a ridiculously badly executed comic-book framing style that calls undue attention to itself nearly every second it's utilized. And man, the critics were right as well about the stinky computer animation, at an atrocious level here for being a 2003 movie, which when combined with George Lucas' bad habit as well of ignoring the laws of physics while bouncing their digital marionettes from place to place creates something that'd be atrocious if it wasn't so laughable. Not even fun enough to be a horribly great midnight movie, it marks a profoundly failing gamble on Lee's part, which when added to the saga over its development is I suspect going to serve as a textbook case study in the future over what exactly went wrong with the entertainment industry in the early 2000s.

Strangest piece of trivia: Both Stan Lee (creator of the Hulk character) and Lou Ferrigno (who played him in the '70s television version) have cameos in this film.

Worth your time? Not in any way whatsoever

Filed by Jason Pettus at 12:25 PM, October 4, 2010. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |