The Unbearable Hulk

Every once in a while, especially when you do not watch that many movies and therefore carefully pick the ones you see, you need to go and see a truly horrendously bad movie. Just to remind you that there is such a thing as good and bad moviemaking. just to make sure you have not entirely lost your ability to tell a crappy movie when you see one.

Despite a widespread, though totally unfounded, belief, I am not an eternally unsatisfied cynical pain in the ass: at least not for movies.
I tend to look for redeeming qualities in every single one I watch and usually end up finding some. Lately, no movie was really not worth watching. At least that’s how it felt.

I mean, even Matrix Reloaded seemed to convey some sort of cinematographic interest and did not give me the feeling I had thrown away two (three?) hours of my precious and short existence to watch it… although it certainly did help that I saw it off a divx, on a friend’s home theater system, hence without shelling out any of my hard-earned money to help produce more bloated, self-indulgent, black-is-the-new-black, oh-look-yet-another-kung-fu-fight movies like that.
And by the way, the fact that a movie so blatantly tries to sell you the next sequel by letting its contrived plot lazily hanging by the balls at the end of what is already a blatantly artificially created sequel, just begs for widespread piracy over the internet. how can you so shamelessly display your will to squeeze every possible buck out of a movie franchise… and then be shocked when every good netizen puts to work their freshly learnt lesson in movie-capitalism by saving themselves the inflated multiplex ticket price and escaping release marketing schemes thanks to cut-throat internet competition.
Lazy franchises like the Matrix Reloaded deserve to be pirated.

Well, I guess I did not like the Matrix 2 that much after all…

But seriously, beside all the unavoidable hollywood bullshit factors, none of the movies I saw recently gave me an irrepressible urge to go back in time and warn myself against spoiling neurons which could have been used so much more wisely by dropping acid and sitting in front of my screensaver for hours.

I am not talking about the obviously bad stuff. The flicks where you just need to spot the mere presence of Martin Lawrence in the cast, some talentless pop-star’s real-life story in the plot or Jerry Bruckheimer in the credits… to know beforehand that you are dealing with movies so aggressively bad that no amount of mind altering substance or date’s groping in the dark can make them even remotely bearable.
See, using common sense and any internet movie database cross-referencing, it is pretty easy to spot the marks that a given movie is a sure shot for mtv’s funniest-dood-movie-of-the-year award.

But here, we are talking about the work of one of this decade’s best director, shooting a classic, popular – if not deeply intellectual – story and most likely endowed with an holywood budget proportional to the size of its main protagonist. Everyone was expecting something slightly out of the ordinary. And I guess nobody would have complained if Ang Lee had injected to the traditionally brain hemorrhaging blockbuster style some degree of wit and wisdom, as he has done so masterfully in the past.

Well, I am glad to announce it is still possible to find desperately bad movies with no attenuating circumstances or excuses.

I am also extremely thankful I did not spend any money on this one, as I would have been morally obligated to engage in a long and costly civil lawsuit against the studio, the actors and the director, seeking retribution for psychological damage and the excruciatingly painful state of bore where this movie has kept me for two hours.

Hulk, the movie, is one of the worst piece of cinematography I have ever seen.

I won’t comment on the CGI craft, or lack thereof, since I am clearly biased by my blind hatred toward most uses of cgi in recent films, where the semi-decent to nearly-believable quality of the effects seem good enough excuses for absence of proper acting, incoherent plot and epileptic editing. No need to restate that, in the end, intelligent use of technology and subtle blend of special effects made the Lord of The Rings infinitely more watchable than, say, Spiderman.

Hulk the movie is bad, not only because most aspects suck so openly, but also because you can tell where the director tried really hard and failed lamentably. Setting unreachable goals is not, in my book, any attenuating circumstance for not even managing to come within reach of them.

One example: it is not hard to see how Ang Lee, through different nifty cinematographic tricks, tried to literally render the world of comic books. All kind of split screens, simultaneous multiple angles, pop transition effects, not to mention a cartoony looking monster, make it all look like animated paper comic… or rather, it is supposed to… because even though the intent is clear, it is about as successful at it as the uber kitsch original batmanrobin show (you know, the one where you see big “POW!” and “TACK!” popping on screen each time they punch a villain)…

As for the actors and their characters: it is hard to discern if you are watching crappy acting, crappy dialogues or just both combined. Every actor seem to have mastered the art of uttering their line with complete absolute dullness, which after all, fits the quality of the dialogues.
The repressed military/distant father character plays so well distant repressed rage that you really need to listen carefully to his words to understand he is not placing a pizza order.
Every character is a one dimensional space filler constantly struggling to keep itself out of zero-dimensionality (and this is not exactly the kind of struggle that you get into)… The villains are so enticing and present in the plot that the lead evil character in the whole movie is basically a yapping mutant french poodle (I am not kidding).

As for the plot, I spent the first two thirds of the movie wondering why it took so long to start the story… and then realized that this was the story.
I don’t think I will be spoiling anything by telling you it’s about a doomed scientist who is, deep-down inside, a repressed monster waiting to get out, who finally get out, get captured, get out again, trashes stuff around and finally dies. Well, sort of dies, because in what seem like one of hollywood’s most audacious moment, somebody at the studio apparently think there was room for a sequel.

And considering that even The Fast and the Furious got their “sequel”, it is reasonable to fear this monstrosity might get one too. The mere thought of it sends shivers of fear and hate down my spine.

Anyway, did I tell you how bad I thought this movie was?

1 comment

  1. Heard this movie was bad and waited until it hit the second run theatre to see it.

    For what it’s worth – I liked the movie.

    As background, I’m 32, been reading comics in some capacity since I could read, liked Spider-Man, hated Daredevil.

    If you haven’t seen this movie yet and you’re remotely interested, then see it – make your own decision.

    For me, the scene where Banner’s father tells him that he turned his life into a memory was worth the price of admission alone.

    I’m a little bit surprised at everyone saying the story took too long to build up – I guess they would have complained if the movie had been nothing but the Hulk smashing things up.

    Worst movie ever? Not by a longshot.
    Best superhero movie ever – no, but that’s okay, I wasn’t expecting it to be.

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