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"The Hulk" - Movie Review

"The Hulk" - Movie Review

Genre: Action, Adventure

Rating: PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence, some disturbing images and brief partial nudity)

Release Date: June 20, 2003

Actors: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas

Director: Ang Lee

Special Notes: Ang Lee is noted for his remarkable diversity of projects. He has directed everything from "The Wedding Banquet" to "Sense and Sensibility" to "The Ice Storm". His most recently acclaimed, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," received a Golden Globe Award, a Directors Guild Award for Best Director and four Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Film. Check out the awesome website,, that contains previews of the Hulk ride at Universal and the new video game.

Plot: Bruce Banner (Bana) is a genetic scientist studying the regenerative effects of gamma radiation on damaged tissue with his partner and ex-girlfriend, Betty Ross (Connelly). When a freak accident accidentally zaps Bruce with radiation, he discovers his inner self can become the most powerful man on Earth when provoked. When fits of rage begin to change Bruce's genetic makeup and his beast within threatens the public (and himself), he's hunted by two men: a father he thought was dead (Nolte) and a General (Elliott) assigned to kill him.

Good: I have to admit I kind of liked the CGI Hulk more than the real one … I think it's his kind and misunderstood green eyes. At the very beginning look for the original "Hulk" television series' Lou Ferrigno, playing a security guard coming out of a building -- people in my audience clapped when they saw him.

Bad: I went to this movie expecting it to be an action-packed, thrill-a-minute adventure, but what I didn't expect was how intense, dark and violent it turned out to be. Granted, I realize this story is about a dark character, but somehow I remembered the TV show being a little lighter and funnier. The first thing that bugged me was that it took almost 45 minutes before we ever even see the Hulk "hulk-out". I mean, come on! The real reason all of us are going to see this movie is to watch our hero "Hulk out". When it takes almost an hour for him to do so, it begins to lose the audience. For those who are squeamish about cruelty to animals, there are a couple of scenes where animals are used for experiments (a starfish is cut open, a monkey reacts to some sort of gas being pumped into its cage, a frog explodes and mutant dogs are smashed against the ground). There are several violent scenes between the Hulk and man (even if it is with a fake, computer-generated green giant) including a long and intense one that involves three giant, genetically altered dogs who try and kill the Hulk. Another scene shows Bruce's dad morphing into a giant energy monster and fighting the Hulk for his power. Men are killed and thrown around there are lots of explosions, property is smashed to pieces, and soldiers open fire on the Hulk with machine guns and missiles but it doesn't hurt him. The bad guy repeatedly uses a stun gun to shock Bruce in hopes of getting him to turn into the Hulk. We see a flashback of Bruce's mother getting stabbed with a kitchen knife (nothing graphic just implied off camera) while trying to protect Bruce from being killed and other acts of violence. I was surprised to hear the amount of religious profanity used by the General. And I chuckled at a scene that shows a brief shot of Bruce's backside after he shrinks back down to regular size. Sometimes his little boxers would stretch (especially when he grew to be a giant) and sometimes they wouldn't. Betty even has her problems with having dreams about being abandoned as a child by her father, and the two don't get along until the very end.

Bottom Line: I feel sorry for the many parents who will take their little ones to see this movie thinking it's "kid-friendly" (ignoring the PG-13 rating) and end up with a terrified or disturbed child who'll sleep with the light on because of bad dreams. It's possible your little ones (under 10) might find the Hulk (and his actions) scary.