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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Incredible Hulk 2008

More Credible Incredible?
variants on a Story Board
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Hulk is Incredible, no doubt about it, and no matter what. It seems totally out of sobriety to me if one calls oneself fond of light, yet subtle fiction for entertainment and refuses to worship the Hulk. Stan Lee came up with his green angry idea in the ´60s, and there is not many fictional inventions of popular culture that could remain to reign for such a long period. Characters from various comics did though, now having their chances to validate themselves as motion picture adaptations. Hulk, being a successful comic character, is no exception. The green humanoid monster of semi-epic proportions, who rips apart all in one of his 32492834293 purple trousers is a being who is great fun to enrage - just don't be near him when you do. While a fresh motion picture output about The Inrcedible Hulk is always firm subject matter to be enthusiastic about, there is nothing, absolutely nothing hip-, nothing mean-, and, worst of all: nothing Incredible about THIS Hulk.

Ang Lee´s Hulk movie from 2003 was, in my opinion, a ruthless punishment committed against the Hulk myth I believe(d) to be true, or at least, thought to be proper. A movie that unleashed the most horrific low blow on me that I could imagine by the day: the Ang Lee Hulk direction denied all chances from me to like it. It was the worst Hulk output I endured so far, I would choose a slap from an angry Bruce Banner over yet anothe sit-through of the movie in question, no doubt. As of today, when Mr. Lee is asked about a possible Hulk sequel directed by him, he states that that particular movie still has a long way to come. Then there is hope yet, because hope dies first, but inviting the worst.

Now, could there be worse than the worst? Surely, it is easy. It is worse than the worst when worst seems to stuck around, and invites history to repeat itself.

Apart from the comic form, Marvel ruthlessly, even sanely - as we will see - emerges to establish itself more- and more as an entertainment group focused on motion pictures. The group thoroughly checks which of its zillion characters it can make proper money of, which is absolutely acceptable, but I tend to think that the agenda is to make the movie adaptations with minimum effort put into them. I realize I might sound a bit harsh here, but, in reality, this is not necessarily the case. Let us see into this. Never forget that Marvel already delivered storytelling excellence via the original comic forms of these movie adaptations, thus these motion picture variants are to be considered as - in good case - nice supportive contents to enrich the depicted myths, yet, they could also end up as scant, stale fiscal ripoffs ordered by rights-proprietors with the maximum profit- and minimum effort equation in mind. Something you can not really blame them for, as you can always have the Real Deal Hulk as the original experience via the comic form, yet, in a Marvelous World, even the Hulk movies would deliver evidently strong drama and/or action. I would be utterly satisfied with either of those, but their mutual absence is the worst combined trait a Hulk movie can go to the screen with, I think.

Normally you should not get a nervous breakdown, or at least not too radical of that in case a movie proves to be deeply "inferior" when compared to the wholeness of its originator. Especially not since these primal forms of comic book characters have decades of fiction to power them. These recent comic adaptations must show faithfulness to the original variants, with steep awareness from the creators of how the hardcore fan will take her/his revenge if things are not presented as they should have been.

Thus Marvel sought out/established this particular minimum effort it absolutely NEEDS to put in into these movies. But now these comic book adaptations are so reminiscent to each other that now temptation is sorrowfully steep to skip the usual sequences of textbook character drama about lost loves and terrible secrets and a liking for the bizarre and jump to the actual happenings right away. But either THAT won´t surprise you all that much, probably. The new Hulk is a great example: when he transforms for the first time and they start shooting him like crazy -well, I can imagine how anxious you were that Hulk might actually end up shot dead in the 15th minute. What an intense, well researched period!

See my point? This predictability is virtually killing all potential out of a narrative to cause relevant peek moments. Military personnel shooting the Hulk. And it has no effect. Thus they shoot again both to deny and to confirm. And both of these desires are satisfied, as, amazingly: the bullets have STILL NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER on the Gamma Beast! Some seriously exciting stuff there, wouldn´t you agree?

I think it is safe to say that Marvel surely has the bomb-and bulletproof Marvel Comic book Character Story Board That The Audience Will Keenly Suck In. Revealer of the minimum effort that will get people into the theaters still, yet in reality, a safe, even shallow of an effort it is that does not have ANY, absolutely ANY aspiration to enrich or to develop the depicted and adapted fictions via any directions.

Statement: things in Marvel movies, especially dialogs actually seem to go on utterly inept and massively underdeveloped paths these days.

Solidification: check the lines of the female protagonist, Liv Tyler. God, the lines she shoots, poor lady, her role is truly horrible. I guarantee you that every single time when she and the Hulk will be present on the canvas together, she will inform the Gamma Beast and you that:

"It´s OK!"

It´s not like "It´s OK!" and then it is NOT OK, it is like - "It´s OK!" and it is always "It´s OK!" to the point from which on you can not help but think that retarded monkeys on massive sedatives had to nod their heads on these dialog lines. Or: maybe even THEY did not have to. Seriously, how a production team could give the green light on that? They probably said: "It´s OK." And poor Liv Tyler blames them eternally. Yet, I guarantee your neurons will fry out all at once as soon as Liv informs the "Hulkic Monstrocity" for the THIRD time about the unfolding events that do surround them! This is truly puzzles me, and concerns their third confrontation. Here Liv tells THIS to the Hulk:

"It´s OK!"

So, now it seems evident that Marvel operates a pretty meat grinder in which you fill in the trademark character on the top and good old money comes off on the bottom. These aforementioned example-deficits do concern a clear lack of interest - sorry for the neat metaphoric disturbance - to develop dialog, drama and character relations. This is not a tragedy, of course. Yet imagine how good a good Hulk movie could be.

Check out little tiny events nevertheless that are interconnecting various Marvel movies with each other - usually at the very end - so anticipation is considerable for the imminent Marvel EPIC only a FOOL would miss out on. But, to be honest with you, I think these recent Marvel efforts - yes, Iron Man and this here effort Hulk included - do rely on such a strictly calculated and predictable storytelling narrative that virtually it would be absolutely OK to see ONE recent Marvel motion picture and substitute the heroes with each other. You won´t miss anything. I realize that my words do have an interpretation field from which on I might sound like an utterly negative person, and one could tell me something like this:

"This is a comic adaptation, dude. Why don´t you get an antidepressant or a life and enjoy the movie for what it is? A COMIC. ADAPTATION. Got it?"

AHHHAHAHAH! A Comic Adaptation!

Surely, I would drink keenly those words in case I would have had the chance to experience flamboyant lightweight entertainment characterized by: - this is it - fun. FUN! FUN! Where is my fun from this Hulk movie? I looked for it, I sought for it, and OH!, it was my persistence doing these that led me to this here conclusion: no, no, no, no, no. Marvel does NOT make comic adaptations anymore. What Marvel does is it is simply using the Universal Story Board I fantasized of before. The workflow, if I am correct, is pretty much similar to a First Person Shooter game's map editor. Marvel redraws the characters, weapons and enemies. Sells the New Game, the New Hero, the New Movie. Does and creates no things to surprise you, yet I do realize that this is not the agenda, either.

I accept that Marvel is not in an easy position if it wants to impress all generations, yet I do have the feeling that the company instead chose to form a compromise which they thought would weight in as highly acceptable for most viewers, and now we are in the period where the answer will shortly be born whether they were right. This will happen by the day Avengers do hit that theater near you with zillions of superheroes in it. Have no doubt of course that it will be a blockbuster. In the meantime, let us hope that Robert Downey JR.'s affectations and Bruce Banner will team up with each other to visit Samuel L. Jackson who has absolutely no concept of saying "no" for a question if it concerns a movie, a role proposal, and him. True. I did not yet forgive for Jumper. Not for Samuel L. Jackson, and not for Anakin.

To wrap this account on the new Hulk blaming up, let us run through the synopsis in a brief fashion yet: Banner will be forced to withdraw from his original habitat, will be forced to cover his identity, he has a secret friend and an archenemy, later he will reunite with the love of her life whose father is the co-archenemy. Banner will produce maybe 2 or 3 focal rampages in Hulk form and none of those will look particularly impressive, and I do not say this because I decided to not write anything good about this movie. It's simply: not. That. Good.

Check the screaming, when Hulk emerges for the first time. Now, is this a scream to chase your astral body galaxies away? Hardly. Yet such is the scream that I would anticipate from the Hulk. Animators had but below average success revealing rampant Hulk destruction. No worries though: when they realize that they succeeding only but mildly at best, comes Saviour gentle creature Liv Tyler to deliver the cited, most memorable line of this product:

it's ok

- It's OK!
- NO! It's NOT OK! OK?

In reality though, nothing is OK with this movie, as there is absolutely nothing in it which is beyond "being ok." I don't think I should be regarded as an incorrigible idealist if I prefer to demand freshness, cunningness, a degree of narrative subtlety, surprise power, and most importantly: good old FUN from a Hulk movie. Seldom are the times when even great actor Edward Norton looks inept on the big screen, yet the 2008 Hulk will give you sequences of such antipower. Sorrowfully lame attempts at humor, pointless, though surely harmless references to former Hulk adaptations are accessible as well, yet those probably caused much more joy for the creators of these references than for the contemporary audience, but now I might truly be crude here.

Nevertheless behold Lou Ferrigno and please never forget to laugh out honestly and louldy as Edward Norton tells him: "You Are The Man!" This is so cute. So humane. So: so -- sorry, robs sobbing soul out of me. Anyway. Exceptionally weak renditions of tough emotional situations are of focal additional attractions to interconnect the peek sequences you most likely signed on for. Peek sequences surely do concern Hulk and Puny Humans with related vehicles and objects they created. Entropy thus emerges triumphant as Hulk goes and Smashes. As mentioned, CG is above average at best, while Hulk's convince power as far as good old destruction goes weights in as below average, in my opinion. Utterly shallow final conflict - sorry I spoiled your enjoyment - and a credit list of true relief power to wrap this product up. For a product, it is an acceptable effort. For a Hulk movie: it is a joke, and a bad one at that, too. I still worship The Hulk, not The Hulk 2008, though.

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