Hulk, one of this year's big summer movies, is the latest in a long line of big-budget comic book adaptations to reach the big screen.
X-Men 2, Daredevil and the world-wide box office hit Spider-Man have all thrilled audiences in the last 12 months, mixing high action and comic strip humour.
But director Ang Lee, the man behind Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has made a very different kind of superhero movie.
It is a comic book film for people who do not like comic books.
Hulk is a considered piece of film-making, and, while it may sound like an oxymoron, it is that rare beast - an intelligent action blockbuster.
The Hulk is computer generated
The movie begins in almost languid fashion, as the back story to the birth of the Hulk is developed.
Ambitious scientist David Banner is shown turning to self-experiment in attempt to prove his theories on cell regeneration.
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It leads to horrifying consequences when his wife conceives a child whose own genes are affected by the experiments.
Instead of rushing to the action set pieces, Lee offers a controlled first hour.
Questions of identity, ethics, nature vs nurture and repressed memories are all explored in the first half of the film.
Bana plays Banner as a man of buttoned-down, almost inhibited passions, which is reflected in Lee's restrained film making.
There is a dream-like, almost narcoleptic feel to the first half of the film, while the second half, when the Hulk is released, is much more dynamic.
Nolte gives a fine performance
Only Nick Nolte, playing the grizzled father of Banner, seems to have escaped the somnambulistic shackles of the film.
Jennifer Connelly, the beauty who calms the beast, seems seduced by the slow tempo and spends most of the film staring dreamily at the camera.
It is intricately edited - using split screens, artful wipes and ingenious switching of viewpoint to create and sustain the feeling of a graphic novel.
But by the time the Hulk finally appears, many teen fans will already have tired of such a determinedly slow-paced film.
Connelly tames the beast within
The second half of the film is familiar territory - Hulk is chased across the desert by the full might of the military, which amounts to three helicopers and two jets.
The thrills never really arrive and the computer generated Hulk seems a little absurd in his rip-proof elastic shorts.
Even when he is in a rage, Hulk seems no more menacing than a baby who has lost his rattle.
But while the adrenaline never starts to pump, Hulk remains a stimulating film and Ang Lee should be applauded for flouting the blockbuster convention.
Hulk is out now in the United States and is released in the UK on 18 July.
This debate is now closed. Please see below for a selection of your comments.
The whole story seemed so vague and misjointed, all the pre-hype and special effects did not make up for the lack of a decent script line.
Nigel Rapson, UK
Completely miscast, poor script and hardly any direction.This is a big disappointment.The action scenes are like watching someone playing a video game while the lead character is a complete joke - he lacks any kind of presence! Poor.
My comments are coloured by the fact that I took 7 ten-year olds to see the film. I'm not sure what audience the film was aimed at - the first hour or so being devoted to describing the emotional landscape of the adult Bruce Banner went completely over the head of the boys! And only just skimmed mine.
When the green man finally made an appearance, we'd drunk all our drinks and eaten all our sweets and we were all a bit fractious. The people sitting behind us were equally fed-up, but that was our fault. We liked the jumping though, and the army scenes went down well. I don't think we'll be bothering with the video.
I wasn't sure I wanted to go and see it at all. I was a fan of the original TV series and I knew this wouldn't touch that. The film itself was boring, the CGI not the best and there was no real story and not a lot of action. The only nice thing was the very small cameo from the original TV series Hulk, that was good. Other than that I was very disappointed.
This film can be summed up in two words.
It's at least an hour into the film before it gets going. Sorry Ang. For me this film has missed an opportunity.
The Hulk is a really good movie if you are watching for special effects. The CGI had some bad points, with too much cartoon. The story line is rubbish, so far the different types of Hulk, TV servies, comic books, cartoons and now the movie, they all have different story lines. Should they not stick to the original version by the writer?
There wasn't much acting in the movie, all the Hulk wanted to do was smash things. I think the producer was trying to make a comic book movie for adults. The movie could been a really big blockbuster, however people would forget about it in a few weeks unlike other comic book movies like Superman, Batman, and Spiderman.
Hey, at least nobody is saying "Yeah, it was kind of OK, not too bad, alright". What more can you ask for than a film that totally divides the audience 'fabulous' and 'rotten' camps? I'm just glad to have seen at least one film this summer that didn't make me feel it was made for the sole purpose of making money. That said, of course, I will definitely be going back for a second viewing this weekend.
Well, I was not disappointed, except to say that I can't wait for the next one! A fantastic movie, and the Hulk himself was superb. At times touching and some times hilarious, I felt that it was everything and more. Okay, it may have been a bit too cerebral, but with Ang Lee at the helm what can you expect. All performances were exceptional, especially Mr Nolte. Cracking movie, and I can't wait to see it again.
Not the best film ever. I was really disappointed. If you want to see a quality movie about a green monster watch Shrek!
David Anderson, Northern Ireland
I almost walked out halfway though! The film is a lot worse than the trailer makes out. The acting is good I must admit, but is too slow and the fights scenes bored me to death. I can't believe I paid money to sit for about 2 hours and a half completey bored! I don't like comic book movies much anyway, but this topped it!
Hey Gareth Davis, let's see you do better! Hulk was nothing short of wonderful.
A very strange and enjoyable film. The structure of the story had quite a few pacing problems, but it was very well directed. Characters were spot-on as well.
Tom H, UK
Dull Dull Dull........poor script, poorly acted and way to long. This film really disappoints. Save your cash and go and buy Crouching Tiger on dvd instead!
It was a good film - the Hulk was not meant to stretch the intellect but provide the goundwork for future releases, much like X-Men 1. So I like it - it was entertaining and what must be remembered is that it's a comic strip character portrayed to be exactly that. Good fun.
Andrew Hammond, UK
I don't think The Hulk knew what its identity was. Is it a comic book movie? Or is it a drama trying to win an Oscar? By trying to meld the two you lost out either way. In the nearly 2 and a half hour flick I couldn't understand why it took SO long to get to the smashing, and why there was only 40 minutes of it.
Someone should retake their university editing class because there were a lot of painfully unnecessary scenes.
In the theatre someone had brought a baby. When it was crying all I could think of for a reason was because the movie was so BAD!
This film was terrible, it is long and boring and the size of the Hulk is ridiculous! Comic conversions can work...Batman and X-Men but this, my friends, does not, please don't waste your time and money!
It was nice to have met the Hulk. He was big and green. The film it was boring, I had a sleep. What is this Ang Lee - I thought the Hulk got angry? Or is my American wrong?
I saw this on holiday in the US and it is the only time I have been tempted to leave a cinema. It's childish feelgood factor and poor storyline were the best bits. The CGI is overrated and added just for effect and not to enhance the story. I think the cartoon has far more depth of character and story. Spiderman or T3 are much better films.
I'm so glad this film didn't rush into an explosion-fest blockbuster. Ang Lee has made an intelligent, humane tragedy. Go Hulk 2!!!
readful.Plodding, ham-fisted, up it's own green backside with psycho-babble. Lee is a great director, but has no affinity with the genre. The CGI is laughable, even less convincing than Nolte's scenery-eating parent. Not mindless trash like Daredevil, just pretentious tedium. Bryan Singer remains the undisputed master of the superhero film.
Just a so-so movie. The Hulk looked okay, but never really real. The acting by Nick Nolte was pretty bad. But most irritating was the really terrible story! I mean, all that rubbish near the end with the Hulk's father wanting to grow into something more powerful. Anyone with an IQ above average would have problems with this. Why is it that all these superhero movies have such below-average scripts?
Wim, the Netherlands
What a load of rubbish! The film takes what seems to be an eternity to get going and then the cgi is atrocious! In this day and age where films like the Matrix and X-Men make the audience believe and ask, "is that real?" I was hoping for so much more from The Hulk. I think the cgi in Bugs Life and even Who Framed Roger Rabbit was better. Give me back my fiver!
Gareth Davis, Wales
Excellent, a magnificent superhero pic! Completely original in its presentation, story and depth for a super hero movie. Acting was excellent and the CGI was amazing! Much like the comic book, especially when the Hulk is leaping and bounding about. So many have complained that blockbusters are simple-minded, or not told well. And though there is a high drama content that may displease some, this is a graceful, beautiful and intelligently told story about a very charismatic character - be grateful!
Incredibly boring!! I was really disappointed with this movie, the television series is MUCH better than this!
WOW! This is really a thinking person's blockbuster. Those looking for a straight action film or a movie to occupy the kids for two hours then forget it. Hulk should be watched only if you're after a thought provoking movie which develops the central character with a decent storyline as opposed to relying solely on special effects. The film is deliberately slow and very dark.
I went to a preview of The Hulk last night and was amazed at how good a job Ang Lee did of putting this character onto the big screen. People seem to complain about the fact that for the first hour we don't see the Hulk....well that is the beauty of this film, Lee isn't over-eager to give people a quick fix and overwhelm them in special FX, the scientific montage at the start of the film is as good as the CGI to me.
The stylistic approach to the film is the best yet for a comic book film. The naysayers on this board seem to not want to have to think about what they are watching and in that is the beauty of this film, I can't help feeling that it will require repeated viewings.
People who dislike this film seem to have failed to notice Ang Lee took on the Hulk project to make a metaphor literal in a sense, there are many comments on modern life too. He did a wonderful job too, I walked out of the cinema wanting to see more....I hope he does Hulk 2!
Awesome. Ang Lee is a genius, it's got it all: emotion, action and a brain. Please make part two.
I watched this with my wife and a friend, and we drew the same conclusion - this is not your typical blockbuster movie. I left the cinema with a distinctly unhappy feeling. This is not a feel-good movie. It's an emotional journey of persecution, experimentation and ... highly stretchable short-pants.
I must admit the use of Arabic music in the desert scenes made me think of the war in Iraq, perhaps this was not a coincidence on the part of Ang Lee for its inclusion?
The CGI is a bit ropey in places, and the fight scene with the genetically-altered dogs was shot too fast to get a sense of what was going on, but on the whole, the effects were excellent. A brave effort indeed.
It's worth watching, but be warned - you'll feel like you've been experimented on when you leave the cinema.
Steve Scott, Malaysia
Yes, it's the nice movie, we like it Connelly is really cute, I like her so much.
The Hulk. Or so to be re-named the sulk. I was slightly curious about what he saw his father do to his mother. Then by the time the Chernobyl infested dogs appeared with beards I couldn't give a Green Goblin. Oh and if Mr Lee wants his more arty by a few split camera shots then have a reason for them being there for god's sake!
At times I thought I was watching Shrek 2 as far as the CGI was concerned. Nick Nolte looked like a throwback from some LSD experiment at Woodstock and Ms Connelly had a constant sign up saying "When's my next decent script coming, please?" Stan Lee better concentrate on his spiderman and Xmen franchises from now on because that's all he'll have left when the UK critics get their teeth in!
The Hulk is a clever movie and you won't like it if you're intellectually and emotionally lazy. The film, for me, was not a passive, couch-potato experience. Ang Lee drew me into Bruce Banner's tragedy as the movie progressed.
I cheered for Hulk as he successfully fought his attackers and felt sorry for him as they used Betty to trap him. The movie experience was like actually being in a comic book. Even though I liked Spider-Man better, I feel like Ang Lee captured the flavour of comics better than Sam Raimi.
In short, if you're simple minded enough that all you care about is a lot of killing and gore then you'll probably not enjoy this movie. On the other hand, if you are looking for something with a little more substance then I strongly suggest that you go see this authentic big screen adaptation of a Marvel comic book legend.
I've just came back from the cinema after watching The Hulk. It was a marvel to watch, the acting was spot one. Nick Nolte was a joy to watch as the slighty deranged dad. The story was great and the cgi was even better. Roll on Part 2.
As a fan of the nonsensical genre of super heros I cannot state how bored and disappointed I was with The Hulk. Although some of the special effects were good; the plot lacked substance and the characters had no depth. I am normally someone who can take something from any film, on this occasion the only thing I walked away with was a sore butt!!
I'm sorry but this to me is one of the most boring and dull movies I have ever seen. I mean, yes it is exciting to see the Hulk become enraged and break objects but 2 and a half hours of it? It was not even 2 and a half hours of fighting, one hour was spent explaining his past..BORING. The graphics were ok, good acting except for both of the fathers. Actually I would rather watch the older version with Lou Ferrigno. All I can say is go see the movie, waste your money so people in the box office can become rich and get a large bag of popcorn and a happy meal because the toy in that damn child's meal is more interesting than this movie.
It was good till they had that father to son talk and it got ruined and became so corny.
I'm not sure if I saw the same film as some of the other reviewers. As a comic book aficianado and fan of adaptations such as the recent SpiderMan, I was hugely disappointed. The Hulk is slow, woodenly acted and so bad in places it's unintentionally laughable. Gobble gobble - save your money and stay away from this turkey!
Tom Choco, Bermuda
What a great movie! Good slow build-up, then the Hulk burst on the screen with all his might. Stayed true to the comic. The transformation scene was brilliant.
This was yet another in a series of disappointing action movies. There was little to no chemistry between the leads played by Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly. When the Hulk emerged, there was no resemblance between Bana and his alter-ego. The first hour was a series of sad attempts at reconstructing the emotional damage done to Bana as a child, merely succeeding at being quite comical. With less than satisfactory performances all round, excluding Connelly who I'm sure did her best under the circumstances, it was not what one would expect from an excellent director like Ang Lee. Can I get a refund?
Kim Soper, Thailand
I'm sorry - the graphics ruined it for me. The Hulk looks terrible. Lou Ferrigno (or some modern roided out champ) in green paint would have looked better. I would have prefered claymation - the skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts look better. I watched a rerun of the original King Kong and marvelled at how good Kong looked compared to the Hulk. I watched some old cartoons of the Hulk and they woulda been better using that animation. Get my point? The CGI is BAD!!!!
The movie is getting good reviews because of the director and actors -they are all great but the character CGI actually ruins it.
The film opened here in Jamaica yesterday so my son and I went to see the latest in comic book hero adaptations to the big screen.
Ang Lee is a true master of the genre and film making. It was a pleasure to watch the story unfold, with no hint of rushing to the obvious. The editing was superb - the transitions were novel and enhanced the film, rather than distract as is so often the case. The split screen has been around since Abel Gance, but it been a long time since the technique has been used in such an effective and restrained way.
Bottom line? A thoroughly enjoyable film from a brilliant director.
What I thought when I saw The Hulk was how absurd the plot was. People just tried to torment Bruce Banner to turn him into the Hulk, and then destroy him. If they just did nothing, nothing would happen, and there'd be no problem. Then I realised that what the movie showed is what would happen if there really were a Bruce Banner. Even more absurd.
James A. Stewart, United States
This film doesn't hit the right buttons and that ending was just appalling. When I first watched the Incredible Hulk on TV as a kid I was scared. This hulk doesn't even do that. In this adaptation the story was there but the direction wasn't pacy enough. I think Ang Lee should stay away from the second installment of the Hulk.
One of the best movies I have seen, well done Ang Lee, for daring to make a comic book hero not so camp and perdictable as all the others.
Ang Lee has, in The Hulk, given life and emotion to a CGI character. This super superhero is not a ticked-off Shrek, but a humane, mean green metaman. I had a blast watching him break loose and waste American Apache helicopters, Abrams tanks, and corporate moneygrubbers.
Ang Lee uses - tastefully, I might add - assymetrical screen splits to mimic comic book panels, which is a spectacular effect, and the character development scenes of David Banner (and his mad dad, Bruce, who also has a superhuman power), are page-long at most, but like a Zen tale, packs in all the necessary background development for the attentive movie viewer.
The real people can act, too. Mad dad (Nick Nolte) and his big boy (Eric Bana) engage in a climatic sit-down dialogue that is, quite simply, Shakespearean in tone and effect. The love interest, an empathetic scientist (Jennifer Connelly), has just enough dark edge to keep the nerd sitting behind you from moaning.
There are elements of King Kong and Frankenstein in the film, US corporate imperialism is questioned and criticised, and TV Hulk Lou Ferrigno and Hulk creator Stan Lee both make a cameo.
You know, I am not a big action movie fan unless it involves Angelina Jolie leaping around in short shorts, so I must actully, honestly, have loved The Hulk!
Do go see!
Ron P. Swegman,
When the comic book came out, everyone tuned into the character as an up-dated version of Jekyll and Hyde - with a politically relevant subtext involving the military-industrial complex thrown in for good measure. I see very little of that on the screen, and perhaps that's for the best. The graphics occasionally border on the absurd, but this is an entertaining ride and it certainly delivers the classic bang(s) for the buck.
Robert del Valle, Detroit USA
I thought The Hulk was excellent. I thought the whole split screen thing was great making it seem like you were looking at a comic book. I also was glad they went back to the original Hulk and not the TV series. Ang Lee was the perfect choice to direct the movie. I hear all these reviews about how The Hulk looks fake and how his shorts stay on, well I think everybody is taking the movie way to seriously. He's a comic book character. It's fantasy, get over it guys. It's definitely one of the best action movies of the year.
Simon Marfleet, USA
Ang Lee gets my thumbs up for The Hulk which I throughly enjoyed except perhaps for the first 30 minute build-up which was rather boring.
But the film more than makes up for the "lost time" and Ang Lee has set a precedent with his CGI effects for all future superhero films.
Let's do away with real actors for such part and use CGI characters from now on.
Way to go, Mr Lee!
When I woke from my stupor... wait, that's not fair, I anticipated an action movie for more than an hour. Wanted character development that never really worked. Eric Bana just didn't project that desperate need to contain emotions that Bruce Banner has. Nolte was fun but over the top, and I never really cared for the sloppy father son relationship that hinged on the twist that the Hulk was the real son to David Banner.
I did like Jennifer C. kept thinking about how soft those lips must be on the repeated close-ups.. Oh did she have a character? Anyway it was the silliest military of all time and the frustratingly hokey final scene really annoyed me. A definite D for a grade.
Ed Hovey, USA
Should have been called The Incredible Yawn.
With most people coming to see the film as a result of the cult TV series, Hulk will disappoint; not least because of the CGI green thing that keeps on leaping about. The story begins slowly and keeps this pace. Worse, it takes itself far too seriously and the two-and-a-quarter hours seems like an age. Although it maybe faithful to the comic strip, the film is a hulking waste of time.
Andrew Jupp, United Kingdom
I've always wanted an "adult" film to be made of one of my favourite comic book heroes, but all previous attempts at this have fallen short. When Alan Moore and Frank Miller came out with The Watchmen and The Dark Knight graphic novels, I began to hope that the superhero might make it to the big screen in a non juvenile, can-be-taken-seriously-without-tongue-in-cheek way, but only now, with Ang Lee's Hulk has Hollywood come even close to this goal.
I must applaud the film. Although it does have its shortcomings, I'm pretty sure it'll wind up being a favourite film of mine, because it is basically the first superhero film to be a real movie. Thank you, Ang Lee and all others concerned!
Richard Streeter, USA
All I have to say is, when the Hulk gets angry, watch out! Great movie!
Craig Goodwill, Canada
The movie is awesome in every aspect. I loved every frame, every scene in the movie. I liked the way the story builds up and the action sequences are great. Initially I did not like the Hulk cgi, but when I watched the hulk in the context of the movie my perspective changed entirely. In short, I think Hulk is great story telling at its best.
Worst comic-book rendition ever. Ang Lee tried to keep the comic book feel, even though it was a movie. This is all well and good, but he kept the cheesiness of comics as well, only it was to be taken seriously - not as a joke: as the movie turned out to be...
Austin Carr, USA
What? Hmm? Sorry, must have been napping....
OK, that's a bit harsh, but it is VERY slowly paced.
Nolte is very good, but it's hard to see whilst you are remembering his mug shot. Everyone else gives acceptable performances. There is some great editing. Loved the comic book visuals. (Sorry, will never use the term graphic novel.) All in all, not Spiderman, but not bad.
Jana Palumbo, USA
I managed to see it! Let me rephrase that, I managed to stay in the cinema until the end through pure willpower. It's dire!!!
Anyone who could possibly say this is a great movie accidentally went into the wrong movie and must have been wearing sunglasses or something. It's rubbish, it's pathetic and I would advise strongly to give this a wide berth.
Great fun, fun CARTOON movie and great special effects.
For all those moaners out there what do you expect, an Oscar winning performance. It's not a real monster you know? This is just a laughable comedy.
If you want to watch a real movie, watch the GODFATHER!!!
I don't understand these criticisms at all. The first half is not "slow-pced", it is simply more of a character movie. Also whilst the CG Hulk is clearly computer-generated, he still looks amazing, and some of the transformational scenes are incredible!
I really enjoyed this, and as a long-time fan of the comics, its great to see the genre treated with respect and intelligence, rather than as teen-cinema fodder.
Great film, great effects and set up nicely for a sequel. But perhaps it could either have been longer, allowing us more of a possibility to empathise with the character and work of Bruce Bannister or split into two films. There was simply too much potential wasted for a really "dark" comic strip film. The directing was very clear though and the use of split frames gave it that comic strip effect. Would liked to see two versions....one for the kids (without the first 45mins) and one for the adults (more on the family, General Ross and "Angry Man" project and childhood of Bruce)
Alex Saroian, UK
People that believe it was slow to start or tried to be to artist obviously have never watched an Ang Lee film before. Spiderman was slow to start, everyone knows the story of Spiderman. Bitten by a spider gets super powers. Why didn't it cut to the action. The Hulk is a whole different story. And as for the CGI it was unbelieviable, how else do you expect the incredible hulk to look, Hulk Hogan in green paint would satisify the fans of the tv series and tv movies. Bring on Hulk 2!
What a fantastically filmed movie. Hulk is a rare treat for the older comic book fan with depth and excitement, thrills and spills. I agree that the young Hulk fans, and those how know little about the Hulk apart from the fact that he┐s green and smashes things, will get very agitated with the opening 45 minutes as it is a slow but necessary process. Ang┐s life was always going to be a difficult one as many of us remember hiding behind the cushions as Lou Farrigno┐s shirt ripped and those eyes faced the screen. Hulk is a fantastic story told fantastically.
Bring on Hulk 2.
Dull, predictable, almost impossible to see what was happening at times, oh well, there have been a few good hero films lately, bound to be a rubbish one sooner or later, just a crying shame it was The Hulk, I was so looking forward to it as well.
One word, 'Rubbish.'
I think the film was boring, and too far fetched in comparison to the original series.
Why has this film been hyper-marketed as a 'crash-and-bash' superhero, mindless action flick? No surprise then that disappointment has rained upon so many advertising-fuelled expectations. None of the promotional material that I have seen and heard give the impression of a 'serious insight' into the genesis of the Hulk, instead they have blasted us to oblivion, or at least ignorance, with images of the Hulk rampaging. Don't watch this film in order to fulfill pre-conditioned expectations - go without expectations and enjoy the experience for what it is, or else don't go at all.
If you really want to see this, wait for the video and even then, make sure someone else pays the rental fee.
My wife said it all. He looks too much like Shrek to be scary!
I think Ang Lee should stick to the 'Crouching Tiger' genre, where he excels. The Hulk is far inferior to anything he has done before
What's all this talk of 'thought provoking' and 'intelligent' -- there's a Hulkified Poodle for Christ's sake. It's a 2.5 hour long pile of nonsense. Thankfully I went to a free preview. I'd hate to have spent any money on this.
Ang Lee has done a magnificent job with this film. Granted, it starts off a little slow, but I think this is necessary to explain the background of the characters (especially for those not familiar with the comics).
People expecting your run-of-the-mill, mindless, intellectually stunted action movie will be disappointed and should stick to Power Rangers or something.
Roll on the sequel!