Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

I almost forgot I'd seen this one, as I caught it on ITV2 last night... until I saw Tim Roth's name in the credits. Because you can't forget Tim Roth, right?

I'd kind of mixed this one up with the Ang Lee one, which I haven't seen. Which was why in a way I was kind of hoping it was the Ang Lee one. You see I love an underdog, and that includes much maligned movies; I often find they have unwarranted criticisms and, overall, a bad rep - look at Heaven's Gate! It's not great but its not deserving of the hate it gets. I'm glad it exists because it tried something different and had something interesting to say - and there's not enough in mainstream Hollywood cinema of that, neither than and indeed even less now.

But I apologise for mixing this one up with the first origins tale from Ang Lee. Primarily I apologise to Ang Lee. Because I wouldn't want to make him Anglee (gag copyright: Stewart Lee)

As a kid I remember loving The Incredible Hulk series, and there's still something so intriguing about it even now, playing as it does on much older and more respected stories like the lycanthrope mythology, Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. However, I just don't feel I'm the intended audience for these Marvel reboots as the only one I've ever found truly entertaining was Iron Man. There's a lot to enjoy here and its primarily down to an accomplished cast; Ed Norton, Liv Tyler, William Hurt and Tim Roth....with names like that it should be amazing. But it isn't, because everything else is frankly bobbins.

What happened to Norton? How did the man who gave us such a terrifying turn in American History X, who so impressed in Fight Club and who left both Brando and De Niro standing in the disappointing The Score fade away into the mediocrity of poor popcorn (bar Wes Anderson projects) so quickly? There's nothing necessarily wrong with his Banner, but he never makes the role his own. In short, he's no Bill Bixby!

Liv Tyler  *sighs* is on paper a brilliant Betty Ross and shows the attributes required for the role rather well until ultimately the script lets her down giving her little to do other than simper and scream. Still, even though she has zero characterisation she at least looks gorgeous, because she is of course Liv Tyler.

William Hurt's alright as Gen. Ross but he's a bit comic book and infuriating even beyond the character requirements, especially in relation to his Frankenstein like turn around when having created a monster to combat The Hulk he ends up siding with The Hulk in a case of better the devil you know. I really need to see the Ang Lee version as I imagine Sam Elliott could be a better Ross.

Which leaves us with the best thing in the film; Tim Roth. Like Tyler there's nothing in the script to help him, but he still manages to create something through sheer balls out integrity that briefly saves the film. Then the narrative fucks it. Forget the CGI monster he tiresomely becomes later (and nothing turns me off quicker in a film than watching a CGI monster battle a CGI monster) because where Roth excels in one of the film's impressive battle scenes, running full tilt and then standing toe to toe against the CGI Hulk like he's absolutely nothing - which of course, he is until the technical wizards paint him in. Nah I prefer my Hulk as Lou Ferrigno.

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