Monday, July 14, 2008

My Date With The Not-So-Jolly Green Giant

How can you not love eyes like this?

This summer*has truly been the Summer of Superheroes in my mind. We started off with Iron Man. Now Hellboy and Batman are on their way. I might even consider arguing putting Indiana Jones in that category – no ordinary human being could do such amazing things. I am pretty much excited about them all. Even though I am not a fan of Hellboy, the visuals in the trailer are starting to convince me. However I'll talk about my latest super hero experience this season: The Incredible Hulk.

Before I go any further I have to warn you that when it comes to the Hulk I'm prejudiced. He is definitely an awesome superhero though sometimes I question that term because he's not really the kind who's out to save the world. He's just a big, unstoppable force who's basically always on the wrong side of the U.S. military. Perhaps it's this unusual slant that makes him interesting. Or maybe it's poor mild mannered Bruce Banner who's plagued by this monster inside of him that could break out at anytime. In that, he's not too different from the rest of us. We all have to keep a check on our emotions, and a lot of us have to fight to keep our tempers down before we get out of control. In poor Bruce's case, the results just happen to be more far reaching, with bigger explosions, holes in walls etc. In short, the Hulk is a manifestation of the conflicting personalities in all of us, and I think I can relate to that. Maybe that's why I like him.

However I must say what kicks Hulk up a notch on my coolness meter is the transformations. I think the old tv series started it off well. Remember when some witless thugs would push Banner aside, and he would conveniently fall behind a counter or something. While the thugs go about their business, Banner's eyes would take on that eerie green glow, and then you start singing (or at least I do), "Now you're gonna get iiiiiiiiiiit." That's what a Hulk movie has to have: a "Now you're gonna get it" moment.

The old tv series did a good job building up the tension in these scenes, and I remember waiting eagerly for this moment in every episode. When the first movie came out I was ready to see the Hulk in another incarnation, to see another type of transformation. I mean Lou Ferigno and Bill Bixby did their jobs well, but if there is any hero who needs a little special effects work, it would be the Hulk. While Lou Ferigno is an intimidating looking guy, I wanted to see what a man mountain of a hulk looked like. It's impossible for an ordinary man –no matter how buff- to become this big green Frankenstein. (On a side note, what exactly happens when Banner changes? How can his body create that much muscle mass out of nothing so quickly? Perhaps it's some sort of quickly dividing cells? That might hurt. And where do they go when he changes back? Hmmmmm.)

I've heard a lot about what people thought about Ang Lee's Hulk movie a few years back. I've heard the complaints and the fuss, that it was too thoughtful (how is that possible?), that it took too long for the Hulk to appear, (uh, they were trying to build the story), that it was confusing (a little but not that much) and that it was boring (nope) – in short, I don't agree. It wasn't the greatest movie ever, but there was some good work put in there. I respect Ang Lee as a director – his body of work alone is so varied, you've got to be a leetle awed by that. I love how he tried a different format, tried to make a story which was about the man as much as the monster. Besides that, I cannot believe any movie that features sweet faced Eric Bana and one of my favourite actresses Jennifer Connelly could be all bad. This movie also generated one of the best trailers I have ever seen. No lie, I actually watched it over and over in fascination. Check it out here:

Anyway, what did I think of the new movie? Didn't I already say I was prejudiced? It would be hard for me not to enjoy a Hulk movie, but this one had a lot to like. Instead of Eric Bana, this one has Edward Norton who does a good job here as he does in every movie. You ask Edward Norton to play a mild mannered man struggling to come to terms with a terrible curse, and he does it right. Of course, no matter how bad you feel for Banner, you're still waiting for him to bring down hell on himself again, so the Hulk can make an appearance. The requisite slugfests which follow are great, and at one point, I witnessed one of the most intense hand to hand fights I've ever seen in a movie. Besides that, this movie doesn't forge any new frontiers, but I had lots of fun, and that will do for now. To summarize, I'll post the review I posted on Facebook i.e.
Hulk run round. Hulk smash up stuff. Good fun.
So there you have it, so far my Summer of Superheroes is going fantastically. What with discovering Robert Downey Jr for the first time (yup never really knew anything about him before. Iron Man made me a convert) and seeing Indiana Jones in action again, things are going well. Next stop The Dark Knight and the most unkempt Joker I have ever seen

* Yes I use the term "summer" even though I live in the West Indies. These are North American movies so I feel justified

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