Reel Deal: Hulk less than Incredible

To curb violent emotional outbursts, most people go to a therapist and seek help for their affliction via talking it out and taking prescription medication.

However, if your name is Bruce Banner – aka “The Incredible Hulk” – it might be more complicated than that.

After complications arise from a gamma radiation experiment gone awry (symptoms include growing to nine feet tall, adding hundreds of pounds of muscle to your frame, having uncontrollable rage and turning green), Bruce Banner (played by the wonderful Edward Norton) is hiding from the higher ups in the U.S. government in a densely populated Brazilian town. It seems the government, one General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt) in particular, can’t decide if they want to kill him or dissect him.

In Brazil, Bruce is working on many things. In between his job at a soft drink bottling plant and doing deep breathing exercises, he converses with fellow mysterious scientist Mr. Blue – aka Samuel Sterns –  (Tim Blake Nelson), who has been helping him with his quest for a cure.

In what was probably an unwise move, he sends a sample of his blood to Mr. Blue, because that’s really the only way he can offer curing tips, since his rare exotic flower concoction didn’t work.

Things seems to be going well for Bruce, despite the whole “I can change into a monster when I get angry” thing. That is until a drop of his blood gets into a soft drink and some unfortunate soul in America becomes infected with super strength. When the military hears about this, they send the finest of squads to Brazil to capture him, including the slightly amoral Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth).

Barely escaping, Bruce goes back to the United States to either meet with Mr. Blue, or to see his old love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), whom he attacked post-gamma experiment. It could be a bit of both, but he spends most of his time back in our fair country gazing at Betty with longing.

His brief time back in America is wrought with rain kisses (doesn’t every comic book movie have one?), violence, meeting the abomination, military attacks, nice computer graphic imagery and boring action scenes.

I was completely sucked into the brooding scientist plot, mainly because Norton is such a fine actor, but my interest waned when he started fighting and turned into the Hulk. Nothing against the character, (as I loved Lou Ferrigno while watching reruns of “The Incredible Hulk” television series,) but really, what was wrong with him looking like that instead of a bulbous computer graphic image. He still had that same stupid haircut.

I suppose that was my one real complaint about the movie. It was as if the writers decided “oh, we put in four sentences of dialogue, let’s do 45 minutes of action sequences.” It (putting in more dialogue and working in great action sequences) worked with “Spider-Man,” “Iron Man” and “Batman Begins” (by the way, is it July 18 yet? I am so there for “The Dark Knight”), why couldn’t it work with one of the most beloved comic book figures in “The Incredible Hulk.”

Maybe it’s the whole big green monster, but there is more to Bruce Banner and his other side of Hulk Mad or Hulk Smash. Hulk cries because he did gamma radiation experiment of himself. It’s just a shame that neither this movie nor the one from 2003 really touched upon it.

I gave this film a B-.

Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.

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