Saturday, May 16, 2009

Slumdog Superhero?

Let me just say this about the re-booted Hulk: he's sure got nice teeth!
And let me just say this about Hulk director Louis Leterrier: he knows his stuff! I thought he was just another Luc Besson hired hack, but no. I was thinking of Chris Nahon. I don't know if this is the kind of thing I'd see a second time, but there was something about the plot structure that made it interesting. One probably would be loathe to call this an actor's movie, especially Edward Norton. But he does well as the put-upon Bruce Banner, and after a while it started to bug me that this guy doesn't enjoy his life more. Plenty of lesser beings out there who wouldn't mind being the Hulk, and get more than a big kick out of it. Come to think of it, Tim Roth for me probably had the best part, and he was in danger of tearing the plot down by pointing out that he was put in harm's way not knowing what he was up against. William Hurt plays Gen. Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross. The fact that the movie didn't make this name more apparent, well, I consider it a lost opportunity. He's quite interesting in the part, let's put it that way. When he first appears, you won't recognize him, frankly! How'd they do that? Is it just the hair? And I'm saying this as a fan, but Arwen somehow just didn't work. She seemed fine in the trailers and in the clips they played on the review shows, but somehow she brings the movie to a halt whenever... well, to be fair, whenever she thought she could tame that beast known as the Hulk. Why, the very Battle of the Sexes is right there on the screen, is it not, ladies? The put-upon Beauty, and her giant dumb Beast. Oh, she just can't take him anywhere!
Another thing I was disappointed about. Everyone made it a point to call this a reboot. Oh, it's a reboot. It's the Hulk done right. The way the Hulk should be done. None of that fruity James Schamus Oedipal Complex crap. And yet, where does this start off? Where THAT one left off! South America! Not exactly the clean break I was led to believe this was. Anyway, so the action starts off in Brazil, and let me just say. I'll be the first to admit I'm prejudiced, but I'm glad I don't live in that neighborhood. Nary a plant in sight. A whole mountain of nothing but houses! Somehow, it just can't be good. So Bruce Banner's there in Brazil, working at the local bottling plant. And of course, there's bullies. Always with the bullies. The group of bullies who would take the hot chick away from him. It's a little bit like Spider Man: working class hero, picked on by the bullies, caught in an incestuous, insidiously close love triangle. The hero must temper his superpower for fear of hurting his close circle of friends. Good plotting. And again, a better reviewer than me would know why this is, probably those bastards over at the World Socialist Web Site, but there's something about the simplicity of the plot that worked for me, and for my close friend whose opinion I trust who always complains that today's action movies are too convoluted, and not clearcut enough. This one's pretty clearcut, not too convoluted... and plot holes galore. I'll leave those for you to drive through. Seems to me, though, that the General gets away with a lot of Army actions on native soil that would get HIM thrown in Gitmo, but that's just nitpicking.
Two funny parts worth mentioning. One: I guess this won't be too much of a giveaway, as you saw it in the commercials. Ed Norton is dropped from the helicopter to battle the Abomination. In mid-flight he doesn't turn into the Hulk like he thought he would, and he says "Oh, shi..." The other part: in the big final battle, at one point the Hulk is calm, kind of shrugs, then gets mad again. And of course, when the Hulk finally speaks... well, that's a fanboy moment if there ever was one. That, and Stan Lee's big cameo, as always. I liked him better in Spider Man 2, I think. Oh, snap! And of course, I'm always a sucker for a film that's got that old-timey 1970s Panavision look to it, which this does. Good on ya, Menzies Jr.! Bet that added about 30 million to the budget, ma'am!

-so sayeth the Movie Hooligan

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