Monday, June 16, 2008

The Incredible Hulk


I saw The Incredible Hulk today. This isn't a sequel to the 2003 Ang Lee movie, but a remake. Hollywood loves remakes of old movies. The attention span of today's audiences are such that 5 years is enough of a gap to produce a remake. Which is probably a good thing in the case of the Hulk, since I only have vague memories of watching it.

This new movie stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, who becomes the titular character whenever he gets angry. The Hulk's origin story doesn't get fleshed out in this movie, and is only glossed over as a short montage during the opening credits. A lot of elements in the movie are a homage to the 70's tv series with Bill Bixby, such as how the Banner got his dose of Gamma radiation from an experiment he performed on himself (even the device looks the same). After the credits, we see Banner hiding from the US government in Brazil, learning how to control anger, and working at a drinks bottling factory while looking for a cure for his condition, by conversing with a mysterious man via the internet.

A minor accident in the bottling plant causes a bit of Banner's blood to contaminate one of the drink bottles heading out for export to the United States, which the US government tracks down, leading to a manhunt for Banner. When cornered by the US troops, Banner transforms into the Hulk and escapes. In an effort to find a cure, Banner must evade US forces long enough to be able to contact his correspondent and find a cure. The government, led by General Thunderbolt Ross, wants to use the Hulk mutation to create super soldiers. This leads to Ross using a soldier named Emil Blonsky to undergo and experiment to become stronger and faster. Eventually through the course of the movie Blonsky mutates into The Abomination, a large fiendish creature that the Hulk has to battle in the end in a big CGI-laden finish.

The movie is chock full of cameos, from the usual appearance by Stan Lee (guess who drinks the contaminated drink) to future villains from the Hulk comic book series. The best cameo is by Tony Stark who talks about the Avenger initiative. As far as summer popcorn superhero movies are concerned, this one is pretty standard. It is neither great nor terrible, but will leave you reasonably entertained.

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