Comic book films have been popping up left and right the last few years, which in some ways is good and in others isn’t so good. It has ranged from a low to astronomical budgets which haven’t panned out like the studios would have liked. The 2003 version of ‘Hulk’ was a box office smash, but not the film that critics and fans alike expected. Ang Lee was the director behind this version of ‘Hulk’ and it cost a pretty penny to make this film, around $150 million. Due to the film doing so poorly, in 2008 Marvel and Universal Studios decided that they would reboot the franchise. That reboot talk is for when ‘The Incredible Hulk’ releases in a months time.

Ang Lee takes a rather different approach with The Hulk character than one would expect and uses the original comic book series story here to unfold the madness within Bruce Banner (Eric Bana). The film starts out with a backstory on how a young David Banner (Paul Kersey) who is a genetics researcher experimenting on himself with a goal of improving human strands of DNA. This practice slowly turns David into a madman as we would see through the progression of the film. David’s wife Edith Banner (Cara Buono) would give birth to their son Bruce Banner. David realizes that his DNA which he has experimented with over the years has been passed on to Bruce. David’s goal then turns into trying to find a cure for his son’s condition as he falls into deeper into madness and depression.

Enter the Government; this would not be a Hulk movie with total government involvement. David’s research to cure his son comes to a screeching halt as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (Sam Elliot) puts a stop to it. This ends up sending David into a rampage that literally destroys the research facility and kills his wife Edith in the process. We fast forward a few years to when Bruce is a teenager not knowing whatever happened with his parents. Bruce follows in his fathers footsteps as a researcher and is recruited to do research on building super soldiers for the army by Major Talbot (Josh Lucas). “Thunderbolt” Ross also has a daughter, Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly), who is the ex-girlfriend of Bruce but also still works with him on research. The story of Bruce Banner’s turn into The Incredible Hulk begins from here.

I am a fan of the film, but there are flaws which caused critics to really hammer Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk’. ‘Hulk’ has all the right pieces and elements to have been a strong entry for the character on screen. If there is one issue that I have with the film is its length. It takes almost nearly an hour to get to any kind of action or even excitement. The film is nearly 2.5 hours long, so that first hour really hurts the overall length of the film. What I found worse was the look of ‘The Incredible Hulk’. The size of him was insane and the CGI used made him appear if he was overly huge. If these two complaints were handled better, I think this film would have done much better.

I never saw ‘Hulk’ on HD DVD, but numerous times on DVD. The picture is presented in 1:85:1 aspect ration with a 1080p transfer. ‘Hulk’ looks very good on Blu-ray and has that pristine and clean look. Colors were are very vibrant and pop off of the screen. The audio is presented in a DTS-HD Lossless 5.1 mix which is very good. All of my speakers were working like a work horse during the action scenes, so the soundfield is very impressive. ‘Hulk’ is also a very dialogue heavy movie as I mentioned earlier, so the center channel is going to be doing a very good portion of the work throughout the film. The dialogue wasn’t mixed well with the action sequences, but is loud enough to where you won’t be grabbing the remote to raise the volume.

Special Features
•    Feature Audio Commentary with Ang Lee
•    The Making of ‘Hulk’
•    Evolution of The Hulk
•    The Incredible Ang Lee
•    The Dog Fight Scene
•    The Unique Style of Editing ‘Hulk’
•    Additional Featurettes
•    Deleted Scenes
•    Picture in Picture U-Control (for Profile 1.1 and above players)

I found ‘Hulk’ to be rather enjoyable, even though it was a disappointment to critics and fans. The beginning of the film was a little too long for my taste and could have used a little bit more editing or some kind of action to break things up. I highly recommend ‘Hulk’ to comic book fans, especially those that know Bruce Banner’s original history.

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