Reviewed by: Jay Levitz
Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas | Directed by: Ang Lee | Produced by: Avi Arad, Gale Anne Hurd, Larry J. Franco, James Schamus | Written by: David Hayter, James Schamus, Michael France, John Turman, Michael Tolkin | Distributor: Universal Pictures | Produced in association with Marvel Enterprises, a Valhalla Motion Pictures/Good Machine production
Sequel to this film: The Incredible Hulk (2008)
The first thing many adults will want to know about director Ang Lee’s new film, The Hulk, is, “Will it be like the television show of the ’70s, starring Lou Ferrigno? Yes, Lou Ferrigno is in the film—for roughly 10 seconds, playing a security guard. No, he does not play the hulk. And this blockbuster is definitely based on a comic book, not a TV series, as evidenced by the creative wipe effects and split screens—familiar to comic readers and rarely ever used in films of the last 2-3 decades.
For those unfamiliar with The Hulk’s premise, this is a Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde story re-told in the vernacular of modern science. Scientist Bruce Banner (newcomer Eric Bana) gets in the way of a lab accident involving deadly gamma rays, which would have killed him, except… you have to see the movie to find out the rest of that puzzle.
As in typical comic book style, such as the recent SPIDERMAN (also created by artist Stan Lee), hero Bruce is a science whiz who can’t have the girl he wants until he undergoes a transformation that occurs in spite of himself. After receiving his new powers, he does his utmost to save his girl, Betty (Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly) from peril while father figures struggle to control him and keep young Bruce (aka The Hulk) away from her.
Bruce Banner’s periodic transformations into a 12-foot-tall, seemingly indestructible green monster may be seen as a metaphor of frustrated masculine anger given complete vent. Set loose “from the boundaries God has set up” through science, Bruce now has the freedom to wreak uncontrollable havoc, expressing his rage through extreme physical violence. But the hero’s power also enslaves him, frightens Betty, and makes him a target for evil men seeking to take advantage of his strength.
Even more interesting, it is revealed through flashbacks that Bruce was born with this monster inside him, ready to explode given the opportunity. This raises questions in one’s own mind—is there something dark and evil inside of me that would cause an awakening of rage, given the right circumstance? Can a human being—even a small baby crying for its stolen pacifier—be capable of unyielding ferocity? This movie suggests this same premise and carries the metaphor to thought-provoking lengths.
Discover what the Bible has to say about man’s sinful nature and the chance for new birth and transformation—GO…
For mindless entertainment this summer, look elsewhere. The Hulk is a frightening, relevant reflection of a society willing to defy God in pursuit of more power, of fathers deserting and destroying their own offspring, and of children seeking ways to move beyond their parents’ self-serving power struggles in order to find real life and hope. For more on hope, see: THE HOPE.
Don’t believe The Hulk is demonic, despite his green, frightening appearance. He’s the true nature of all human flesh made manifest—self-serving, cunning, and evil. This is one film where Hollywood gets sin right. There is no “power within” Bruce Banner to help him conquer the monster who keeps rearing its ugly head each time he gets angry. Only love seems to appease him.
Ang Lee’s new epic, “The Hulk,” is a fascinating morally-grounded story that will thrill action-adventure and comic book fans. The objectionable content includes the use of God’s name in vain a few uses, plus a long shot of Bruce’s bare posterior. The violence is primarily directed toward objects, machines, and some large, vicious dogs.