Howdy Inter-webbers, I’m Matt Cohen, and I dig The Incredible Hulk
In a year (and summer season) that may very well go down as having the best comic book movie slate ever, one film has really grown on me. While Dark Knight is brooding and cinemtacally triumphant, and Iron Man is slick and hip and a great origin story, the movie I find myself re-watching the most (and will most likely continue to do so) is Louis Leterrier’s “clinic on fun”, The Incredible Hulk (Hellboy 2 not included in said math… It’s HB. Gonna trump ALL others in my mind).
I am happy to report that the DVD/Blu-Ray release of the film not only packs in more features than most DVDs in general, but the overall enthusiasm of the filmmakers make the disc one that bumps into my all-time favorite home releases. Some might’ve thought that, due to the film’s “underwhelming” performance box office, we may get that standard “embarrassed-no frills” DVD release, but it couldn’t be less the case. But before I go flapping my jaws, let’s take a look at the disc(s). I will be reviewing the special edition Blu-Ray version, but most if not all features crossover to the standard (But get a Blu-Ray already!!!!).
THE FLICK: Though I may be repeating myself a bit here (My original review of the film), this movie is pure, unadulterated fun. Look, it’s not going to win any awards, or change the way people see films, but damn it if Leterrier and Co. didn’t make a balls-to-the-wall blast of a good time. THIS is what super hero films should be, in my not so humble opinion. Yes, Dark Knight is powerful and moving and all that good stuff, but at the end of the day it’s not fun. Fun - a simple concept some seem to overlook these days, especially relating to comic book movies. Everyone wants reality and truth and grit, and I’m in the back row going “What happened to the fun?”. Hulk happened. It sadly seems like we will not get a sequel, but at least this film exists for our repeat viewing pleasure. Look, there are more challenging, deeper films out there, but when it comes to pure pulp entertainment, The Incredible Hulk does and will continue to do it for me.
THE COMMENTARY: I was extremely surprised (and truthfully disappointed) to find that Edward Norton is nowhere on this DVD (more to follow), and the commentary is no exception. So no Norton, no star, no Banner… What do we get? Director extraordinaire Louis Leterrier and Mr. Orange himself, Tim Roth. So, a Frenchman and a Brit doing commentary on one of America’s most beloved fictional characters. And… they nail it! The zest for the process and the respect that both men have for the source material shines through in every sentence of this, a very in depth and passionate look at a film that is “Much more then it needed to be”. Leterrier has got himself a new fan (already was on the Roth tip).
Alternate Opening: Pretty damn great, if you ask me. Yes, the filmmakers (and most likely the studio) have a point that it tips its hat to a pretty dark direction and would set a dreary mood off the bat, but in terms of being evocative and staying true to the nature of the comic (the more recent years of the comic, as least), it works. Everyone has by now heard of the “Captain America Cameo” but folks, I’ve got a big HDTV and I freeze-framed this sucker 30 times. I see nothing. Maybe a dark blur. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I saw it. So there.) This scene definitely deserves to be seen and enjoyed by all.
The Making of Incredible: Not surprisingly, another nice little feature to round out this great release. Here we have your standard behind the scenes doc… nothing special. What makes it truly worth watching though is (and not surprisingly if you’ve been reading this column) a man who I can see myself becoming a huge fan of in the near future, Mr. Louis Leterrier. Yes, like 99% of the features, it’s sadly Norton less, and while I would have liked to have seen Edward’s take on the process (and just how involved he really was), it’s a very worthwhile feature for any fans of the film.
Becoming the Hulk: CGI done right. I was one of the folks defending the Hulk’s look in the Ang Lee incarnation. Wow… I want to punch me from 7 or so years ago in the face right now. The “Incredible” Hulk is MILES beyond the previous versions, in terms of both comic book accuracy and straight out bad-assness. This feature takes us into the design process for Big Green and, while nothing groundbreaking, it’s a really insightful look into how they arrived at the Hulk that they did (In particular, seeing all the various concept sketches really made my day). A in-depth look into one of the best CGI characters in film history. Check it.
Becoming the Abomination: Basically the same as above, but featuring Roth and The Abomination. At first I was not a fan of the character’s look in the film, but after some repeat viewings I am fine, if not happy, with it. At first I was upset that it lacked the reptilian look of the comics, but now going back and especially seeing it being developed through the design process I realize that I was wrong and the CGI does manage to evoke (while not emulate) the look of the comic book A-Bomb. Cool little segment that gave me a deeper appreciation for the film’s main “baddie”
Anatomy of a Hulk Out: In my opinion the fight scenes in this film are some of the strongest CGI battles we have seen to date. There is such a fluidity to the movements, a real sense of weight and power that is sadly missing in some (if not most) CGI creations. Sure, the Toronto for New York isn’t that polished, but other then that, a near perfect fight scene, and one which I’ll take any insight I can on.
Deleted Scenes: Sorry kids, no Fury and no Captain. This isn’t that DVD. What does lie here is a collection of deleted/extended scenes that I personally would love to see assembled back into the film as a “director’s cut”. More Norton is always a good thing, but I particularly dug seeing some more Ross/Samson action.
FINAL WORD: A stacked DVD that compliments the “Stacked” film. In the realm of comic book movies, this one has quickly shot to the top of the heap, and though new, better films will undoubtedly come out, I highly doubt The Incredible Hulk will ever get stale or outdated. The film we should’ve gotten years ago (If only we were getting a sequel…. sad panda). A must buy for any comic fan and a should buy for movie fans in general.
Sadly, tis all for now campers. Look for some very exciting developments in the next few months, and please keep checking out the most “factually inaccurate pod on the web”, Bagged & Boarded, starring yours truly and the mouth from the south, Jesse Rivers (Hosted right here on QuickStopEntertainment.com!!!). But most importantly, and as always (and now podcast appropriate),
“Keep em’ bagged and boarded”
-Matt Cohen is currently Rulking out…. It’s a red hulk thing.
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