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PCR #429 (Vol. 9, No. 24) This edition is for the week of June 9--15, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Incredible Hulk"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"The Incredible Hulk"  by Mike Smith
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If Nominated I Will Run, If Elected I Will Serve .... Congrats To The Kid .... A Little More Doh! .... Duh Bya .... Passing On .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1960 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth and William Hurt
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 54 mins

Before I sat down to write this review I checked back on my review for the film “HULK,” from 2003. I gave the film two stars, lamenting the lack of action a film called “HULK” should certainly have. Now, five years later, Marvel Films has re-booted the film series with a new cast, new director and much better results.

Bruce Banner (Norton) is a one time scientist now reduced to sweeping the floors and tending to the equipment in an aging South American soda pop factory. We’re informed that it’s been almost 6 months since Banner’s last “incident.” He is currently training with a local man to control his breathing, thus controlling his necessity to become angry. See, you wouldn’t like Bruce Banner if he gets angry.

A failure when first introduced as a comic book character, most people are familiar with the Hulk character from the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno television series of the late 1970s. While Ang Lee’s film had it’s fans, the major complaint, mine included, was that the film concentrated more on the relationship of Banner/HULK and his girlfriend then with the HULK wreaking havoc. I mean, let’s face it, when you’re dealing with the Incredible Hulk you want to see some carnage, not an insight into his soul. In this film, director Leterrier (“The Transporter”) ups the ante by introducing a new character, a renegade soldier named Blonsky (Roth) who is assigned as part of a team put together by General Thaddeus Ross (Hurt) to hunt Banner down. When Blonsky learns the reason for Banner’s condition (wisely told during the opening credits, meaning more time for the film and less devoted to the origin) he insists on attempting the same experiment. “We’re dealing with a whole new level of weird,” he informs the general,” not aware that his quest will have abominable results.

As Banner, Norton gives a strong performance. Like “Iron Man’s” Robert Downey, Jr., Norton is a former Oscar nominee who brings a wealth of talent to a role one normally wouldn’t consider him for. But it’s his skills as an actor that lend a human touch to the character of Banner, as well as to the CGI Hulk. As former girlfriend/fellow scientist/general’s daughter Betty Ross, Liv Tyler is equally good, giving a performance here that makes up for her screaming/whining victim in “The Strangers” a couple of weeks ago. Hurt chews the scenery every chance he gets as the power crazed military man while Roth seems to be having fun, as if he still can’t believe he’s part of the cast of a comic book film! The special effects, the worse part of the previous HULK film, are much better here, with the character given a more defined look. Keep a close eye out not only for some fun cameos, including a shot of Norton watching a Portuguese dubbed episode of Bixby’s classic “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” television program, but hints of other upcoming adventures from the Marvel universe.

A fine companion to this summer’s earlier “Iron Man,” on a scale of zero to four stars I give “The Incredible Hulk”

This week's movie review of "The Incredible Hulk" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.