By Zach Patterson Monday, 30 Jun 2003

The Hulk has finally arrived, and I must say, this is quite a surprise of a movie. Even I will admit, I thought the f/x looked terrible in the trailers. Everyone I talked to said it looked horrible and no one really wanted to see it. Well let me tell you friends, this is a solid comic adaptation.

Eric Bana is a great Bruce Banner, he plays the role so well and believably as the tortured scientist who turns into the hulk. Nick Nolte also plays a pretty damn good role as Bruce’s madman father. Lets see, Jennifer Connelly plays a great Betty Ross too, who cares for Bruce and ultimately finds out his secret and their past together. And let’s not forget Sam Elliot as hard ass Gen. Thunderbolt Ross, who plays the character with great spirit and even gives him a human side not always shown in the comics.

And then there is the hulking goliath, the CG-rendered Hulk himself. He looks so much better in the theaters than in the trailers. The great part is that he still looks like Bruce, just bigger…and greener, something that added to the believability. The CG was shot well too so it actually looks like there is a monster on the loose, not just some hackneyed effects by the movie folks. The mutant dog scene was one of the better action sequences where Hulk just goes crazy. Another great scene is the tank scene where the Hulk just kinda throws them away like they are toys. There are a bunch of other good Hulk destruction sequences but you really have to see them to appreciate them, as the destruction looks realistic, even if Hulk doesn’t at times.

The one thing that I am relieved they maintained in this movie is that the Hulk is not a bad guy, just very scared and angry. He never destroys for the hell of it, its either because of confusion or to save someone. It is one of the reasons the Hulk has been around since 1962, because he has a human side.

I have to give props to Ang Lee too, because I worried about his directing after watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It’s a good movie, don’t get me wrong, but combining the two movies seems like it would produce the Hulk flying around feudal China or something ridiculous. Speaking of flying around, the Hulk does do some pretty unrealistic leaps, but it is kept to a minimum in most of the movie and doesn’t become terribly distracting. But yeah, Ang Lee did an excellent job capturing the Hulk on film without making it seem dated or really stupid. It is a mix between drama and action, and well done, at that.

The only part it kinda gets crazy is at the end with Nolte and Bana facing off. It becomes real comic book crazy and probably lost some folks. I thought it was a little too out there, as it seemed almost like a scene out of an anime like Akira or something. But all in all, definitely another Marvel adaptation worth seeing: in order of goodness, its better than Daredevil, not as good as X2, and roughly in league with Spider-Man.

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