August 7, 2008

It's not easy being green

Not a Hulk fan, but BIG Edward Norton fan, so of course Lynn and I still HAD to see The Incredible Hulk. It's $1 admission Tuesdays at my local little movie house. And it was a well-spent $2. I never saw Ang Lee's Hulk but I heard this was a definite improvement. It's not quite the Batman, Spidey II or Iron Man but it's fun and enjoyable enough.

As the opening credits roll, you get a clever montage of the Hulk's back story. We next see mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner working in a Brazilian soda bottling factory. He's also been taking lessons from a jiu jitsu master so he can control his inner green guy. He has been instant messaging mad-but-in-a-good-way scientist Mr. Blue (Tim Blake Nelson) who thinks he has the cure for Banner's gamma ray poisoning. Evil General Ross (William Hurt) eventually tracks down Mr. Green with the help of special-ops soldier Blonsky (terrific and terrifying Tim Roth). Blonsky himself is not averse to a little genetic modification and experimentation. And of course, ex-girlfriend Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) reunites with Bruce to stop her dad's dastardly plan of creating an army of Hulk soldiers.

The Hulk still looks fake, the action scenes are pretty perfunctory. Funny how the General doesn't seem to care about civilian collateral damage. The climactic NYC showdown between the two hulking CGI creatures was just alright. The best parts are the little wink-winks to the audience: the "Lonely Man" theme song from the TV series, Bill Bixby footage, Lou Ferrigno cameo, Stan Lee cameo, nod to King Kong, and the "you wouldn't like me when I'm...hungry" bit. But of course Oscar-nominated Edward Norton's acting carries the film. His physique, his angst and geeky scientist demeanor is the perfect counterpoint to his angry alter-ego. Lynn and I were lucky enough to see him off-Broadway in Burn This. He had such stage presence. Mr. Norton's just a hulka hulka burnin' love.

(photo from Moviegoods)

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