Directed by Ang Lee
Produced by Gale Anne Hurd
Written by Comic Book:
Starring Eric Bana
Music by Danny Elfman
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) June 20, 2003
Running time 138 min.
Followed by The Incredible Hulk
Hulk (2003) is a movie based on the comic book series The Incredible Hulk published by Marvel Comics. It was directed by Ang Lee and stars Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas, and Nick Nolte. The plot of the film deviates from the Hulk origin variations presented in the comic books.
The film received mixed reviews, and mixed opinions from audiences and experienced a second-weekend box office drop of 70%, the second-largest drop ever recorded for a movie that opened as the top box office draw its opening week. The movie also had a tie-in video-game.
* 1 Plot
* 2 Cast
* 3 Reception
* 4 Sequel
* 5 Trivia
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
The movie opens in flashback, which plays over the opening titles: David Banner (father of Bruce Banner, the Hulk) is a genetics researcher who experiments on himself, trying to improve on human DNA. Once his wife gives birth, he is concerned about how his modified DNA might affect his son. Young Bruce is a withdrawn and closed child, rarely outwardly expressing emotion in extreme cases. The only physical effect of his mutated DNA is the strange patches of green skin that appear when he feels intense emotions. The elder Banner, under extreme guilt for his unintentional damage to his son, is feverishly attempting to find a cure for the child's condition when the government, represented by Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, shuts down his research after learning of his dangerous experiment. David Banner, in a fit of rage, causes a massive explosion of the facilities' gamma reactor. After the accidental death of his wife David Banner is locked away while Bruce is sent into foster care and adopted, taking on the last name of Krenzler, and believing both his biological parents to be deceased. During his life, the repressed memories of his parents, the explosion and his young life manifest themselves as intense nightmares that leave the young Banner shaken and disturbed but unable to conjure the memories.
The Incredible Hulk.
The Incredible Hulk.
The movie then advances 20 years to Bruce Banner's adult career as a brilliant researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. Bruce uses nanobots, activated by gamma radiation from a Gammasphere, to regenerate living tissue; the nanobot experiments result in out of control cellular growth and are invariably fatal to its test subjects (The screenplay modernizes the Hulk's origins somewhat, presenting a fusion of gamma radiation, nanotechnology and congenital mutation as responsible for the transformations.). The military-industrial complex, represented by the unscrupulous Major Talbot, becomes interested in the research to build self-healing soldiers. David Banner reappears and begins infiltrating his son's life, working as a janitor in the lab building. "Thunderbolt" Ross, now an army General, also begins to investigate when he learns of Bruce's involvement in the research through Talbot. Ross, the estranged father of Bruce's ex-girlfriend and co-researcher Betty Ross, becomes concerned both for his daughter's safety around Banner, but also because Bruce is working in the same field as the father he does not remember.
As Bruce, Betty and their other co-scientist Harper continue to work towards progress in their experiments, during a routine power-up, a laboratory accident involving an overload of the nanobots with Harper stuck in the lab room. Bruce saves Harper and takes the brunt of the gamma radiation himself. Afterwards, we see Bruce sitting in a hospital bed telling Betty that he's never felt better, which she can't fathom due to the fact that the nanobots have killed everything else they've touched. We come to discover that the radiation has intertwined with Bruce's already-altered DNA. Soon after, the building rage within him stemming from all of the stresses building up around him (his father, Betty, Talbot, the accident, etc) cause the gamma-radiated DNA results in Bruce's signature transformation into the Hulk.
The Hulk breaking loose.
The Hulk breaking loose.
Banner's and the Hulk's battles are fought on many levels in the film. On the surface, the Hulk's nemesis is the military commanded by General Ross. Seeing Banner and the Hulk as a threat based on his perception of David Banner, he orders Bruce sealed away from the world, and by extension, from his own daughter who refuses to give up on her former love. On the other side of the military equation is Talbot, whose primary concern is learning the secret locked in Bruce's DNA and replicating the experiments that resulted in his transformation. His goal is simply to patent the discovery and reap a fortune by selling it to the military. On a lesser note, Talbot is jealous of Banner. Having been a college love interest of Betty Ross, Talbot cannot cope with the idea that she could possibly have feelings for the apparently weak Banner.
Banner's ultimate foe (in both his Bruce- and Hulk-incarnations) ends up being his father. The elder Banner, having become completely obsessed with Bruce during his incarceration, conducts his own experiments at copying Bruce's transformative abilities, resulting in his ability to absorb and replicate the properties of various forms of matter and energy. After allowing himself to be captured, David Banner confronts his son (under the guise of attempting to make amends) and attempts to provoke a final Hulk-transformation. The now completely mad elder Banner needs the Hulk's unique abilities to stabilise the cellular reaction caused by his experiments, allowing him to fulfill megalomaniacal aspirations to godhead. This results in a father / son battle (described by critics as 'Oedipal') unfolding on physical, emotional and metaphorical levels -- the Hulk's brutal strength contesting David Banner's parasitic and transformative abilities, the psychological clash of wills between a power-obsessed father and his estranged traumatized son, possibly even some hereditary curse or Frankensteinian conflict (never explicitly named as such, but implicit in General Ross' speculations about the Banner family) between the 'monster' and its 'creator'. Something in the Bruce-Hulk fusion proves too much for his father to absorb. (Betty hints at this seemingly-limitless source of the Hulk's power via her earlier musings "A physical wound is finite, but with emotions who's to say it won't just go on and on, starting a chain reaction?") The increasingly-unstable David Banner seems to bloat and saturate, spiraling out of control, until an F-22 Raptor dispatched by General Ross with a high-energy gamma bomb in tow obliterates the battlefield. David Banner is destroyed, and Bruce's body never recovered.
The end of the film finds Betty Ross and her father operating under close, yet strained conditions as the elder Ross tries to balance his attempts to comfort his daughter's loss with his uncertainly-motivated mission to find Banner. However, the film's final scene suggests that Banner has made the decision to direct both his and the Hulk's abilities to helping those who need it (very much like the protagonist of the television series). Bruce is last seen treating a boy in a South American jungle when guerrillas arrive and demand the medicine. The leader speaks to Bruce threatening him. He then says the famous lines (in Spanish): "You're making me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." The shot pulls up as his eyes turn green, the rainforest is seen from a bird's view, the Hulk's roar is heard seconds later.
Spoilers end here.
Eric Bana Dr. Bruce Banner / The Hulk
Jennifer Connelly Dr. Betty Ross
Sam Elliott General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross
Nick Nolte David Banner
Josh Lucas Major Glenn Talbot
Paul Kersey Young David Banner
Cara Buono Edith Banner
Todd Tesen Young Ross
Kevin O. Rankin Harper
Celia Weston Mrs. Krensler
Mike Erwin Teenage Bruce Banner
Lou Ferrigno Security Guard
Stan Lee Security Guard
Geoffrey Scott The President
Regina McKee Redwing National Security Advisor
Daniel Dae Kim Aide
Michael Kronenberg Bruce Banner as Child
David Kronenberg Bruce Banner as Child
Rhiannon Leigh Wryn Betty Ross as Child
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After the astounding success of Spider-man in 2002, the public looked at the Hulk as the next big thing, and so did Hollywood. Backed by a massive list of promotional tie-ins and endorsements, and a long marketing campaign, Hulk looked certain to achieve blockbuster status.
Its ad during the Super Bowl was controversial because comic fans and some of the public complained that the Hulk looked too fake, drawing comparisons to "Shrek". Still the hype was big and it drew a $25 million opening day and a substantial $62 million opening weekend. But the bad word of mouth kicked in, and it never recovered.
Some critics disliked the picture-in-picture multiple scene framing, but Ebert approved. While not a box office bomb, the film fell short of Universal's financial expectations. Reception from mainstream critics was generally lukewarm to negative, often criticizing the film for being overly serious. About half of American critics bashed the film , internationally it received somewhat more praise. Sight & Sound' called it "...the best Marvel adaptation so far.". The New York Times critic A O Scott called it "incredibly long, incredibly tedious, incredibly turgid" and Entertainment Weekly wrote that "a big-budget comic-book adaptation has rarely felt so humorless and intellectually defensive about its own pulpy roots". MSN Movies ranks Hulk as the fifth worst superhero movie to date. However, Ebert & Roeper gave it "Two Thumbs Up!" on their show. Other critics like David Ansen of Newsweek, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, James Berardinelli and Jeffrey Lyons of WNBC-TV also gave the film positive reviews. It holds a 59% overall score on Rotten Tomatoes. Some comic book fans also criticized deviations from the comic, though the comic itself changed considerably throughout its lifetime.
Main article: The Incredible Hulk (film)
In a January 2006 interview, Bana stated that "nobody's talking about any sequel" to the film. However, Internet source Ain't It Cool News spoke with Avi Arad on January 18, 2006 and announced that Marvel is moving forward with a sequel and that Marvel Enterprises will produce the film while Universal Studios will distribute it. This deal is outside of the Paramount distribution deal that Marvel finalized with Paramount Pictures late last year. Arad announced that he is talking to various writers that he is interested in having work on the film. Arad also stated that he felt that the Hulk was too big in the first and that he will be smaller for the sequel. At this point, there is no recasting in place or planned. Avi Arad also debunked a few rumors circulating about the film: the film will not star David Duchovny in a straight-to-DVD release. Arad recently (April 26th) stated that the villain in the upcoming Hulk 2 will be the Abomination. The film will be titled "The Incredible Hulk".
In 2006 it was announced that Louis Leterrier had been signed to direct. No casting has yet been announced.
This article's trivia section has too much trivia. To meet Wikipedia's quality standards, the article requires cleanup.
Content in the trivia section should be integrated into other appropriate areas of the article.
* The military vehicles featured in the movie include the M1 Abrams tank (actually Centurions visually modified to make them look like M1 Abrams tanks), F-22 Raptor, and RAH-66 Comanche. Ironically, while the Comanche was in service in the film, it had yet to do so in real life, and was eventually cancelled by the Army in 2004.
* The name "David Banner" is a reference to the "Doctor David Bruce Banner" from the 1980s television series starring Bill Bixby. In the comics, the name of the Hulk's father was Brian Banner.
* Glenn Talbot's character in the movie works for a defense contractor named Atheon, most likely a take off on the U.S. military contractor Raytheon.
* David Banner in the film essentially becomes a film-adapted version of the Absorbing Man, a Hulk villain from the comic series, who has also battled Thor and Spider-Man and various individual members, and different team incarnations, of the Avengers, among others. David Banner's electrical transformation also pays homage to another Hulk villain (Zzzax, a colossal living energy-being who drains/feeds on the life force and mental energies of others). Both characters are "vampiric" in some sense.
* Early in the movie, Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno appear in a brief cameo appearance, discussing the security of the laboratory. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the Hulk character and Lou Ferrigno played the Hulk in the 1977 television series.
* In Ang Lee's installment of the Internet series The Hire in 2001 actor Clive Owen, after being knicked in the ear by a bullet, applies a Hulk band-aid to his wound.
* When Bruce transforms into the Hulk the first time and passes out in his house, there is a message on his telephone from a friend saying "He is selling his purple pants". This a reference to the Hulk comic books when he wore his notable purple pants.
1. ^ Box Office Data - Hulk. the-numbers.com. Retrieved on 2007-02-02.
2. ^ Box Office Data - Hulk. the-numbers.com. Retrieved on 2007-02-02.
3. ^ Roger Ebert (2003-06-20). Hulk. rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved on 2007-02-02.
4. ^ Major U.S. Metropolitan Reviews of Hulk(2003). rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved on 2007-02-02.
5. ^ Rob White (August 2003). The Rage of Innocence. www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound. Retrieved on 2007-02-02.
6. ^ David Fear. 10 Best Superhero Movies. movies.msn.com. Retrieved on 2007-02-02.