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PCR # 170  (Vol. 4, No. 26)  This edition is for the week of June 23--29, 2003.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Two stars!

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Crazed Fanboy

Universal Pictures     
Starring: Eric Bana, Sam Elliott, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte
Directed by: Ang Lee
Rated: PG13
Running Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

After his last film, the Oscar-winning "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," Ang Lee seemed the perfect choice to bring Marvel Comics "Hulk" character to the big screen. A film full of fantasy, special effects and, yes, a little romance was just what the Hulk story should be about. Or is it?

There is so much I didn't like about this film that I don't know where to begin. How about with the Hulk, himself? Another in what is turning into a steady stream of hints to Hollywood - if you are going to call your film HULK it helps to actually introduce said Hulk early in the picture.......not 45 minutes in. Especially not when the next hour and a half just seem to d r a g. Also, director Lee tries to tell his story in comic book form, using split screen and multiple panels. However, these just tend to confuse and muddle the story. A much better example of this technique was used by George Romero in 1982s "Creepshow." And the story doesn't need any help in the muddling department. In a nutshell: Scientist David Banner (Nolte) is working on a top secret project for the government. As most brilliant scientists are wont to do, Banner branches his experiments out and ends up injecting his young son Bruce with a concoction he has developed. Then, as we have been taught when dealing with brilliant scientists, he apparently goes crazy. Many years later we meet Bruce (Bana) again. Now all grown up he has coincidentally taken up the same field of research as the father he can't even remember. One day in the lab he gets hit by a burst of gamma rays, which trigger the concoction dad gave him as a tyke. Now, when he gets angry HE GETS ANGRY.

Much has been made recently of Computer Graphic Imaging (CGI) in films. From the terrible Jar Jar Binks to the great Gollum, CGI has become a steady force in fantasy film-making. I'm happy to say that the work on the Hulk is excellent. Due to a rushed commercial during this year's Super Bowl, there was a lot of negative word of mouth on how the Hulk would look. I was very impressed with the amount of emotion that was able to be expressed by the almost child-like creature. I only wish there was more of him. I'd also like to know how he keeps his pants on but that is probably better left unanswered.

With the exception of Connelly, who seems to still be in her "A Beautiful Mind" mode, the cast is quite good. Bana, who stood out in the ensemble cast of "Blackhawk Down," does an excellent job in portraying the quiet intensity of a man with a secret. Sam Elliot has aged well and has seemed to find a new career as a character actor. And Nolte, looking very much like the mug shot that was splashed around the world after his traffic stop last year, chews up the scenery in every scene he is in. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "HULK"  

This week's movie review of "HULK" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2003, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.