The Hulk

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Hulk, The (vt.Hulk). Ang Lee, dir. James Schamus (story, co-script, prod.). JS, John Turman, Michael France (screenplay). Based on the Marvel comic book character created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee (SL also exec. prod.). USA: Good Machine, Marvel Entertainment, Pacific Western, Universal, Valhalla Motion Pictures (prod.) / Universal Pictures (US dist.), United International Pictures (dist. outside US). Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas, Nick Nolte, Paul Kersey, featured players. Avi Arad and Gale Anne Hurd, prod., among eight listed producers of various sorts. 138 min. Rick Heinrichs, prod. design. (Filmographic info. from IMDb.)

IMDb lists the genre of Hulk as "Adventure / Drama / Sci-Fi / Action / Horror"—to which one can add "Art Film (of an unusual variety)." As the critics note, in Hulk Ang Lee often divides up the frame in ways that recall comic book panels, but which also recall big-time TV news shows ca. 2003 and the Fox-TV series 24 (2001 f.)—and in a manner decorous for a story of psychological division. Similarly with transitions suggesting metamorphosis, even as Bruce Banner "morphs" into the Hulk. Less subtly and even more decorously, the movie parallels psychological (and political) repression with images of threatening enclosure within high-tech machines—especially an underground mechanical womb—and with the intrusion of various probes, needles, darts, and infusions into the bodies of a wide variety of animals, from jellyfishes to humans. Also: In addition to allusions to King Kong, most relevantly Kong vs. the biplanes in King Kong (1933), compare Sam Elliott's emotionally repressed Gen. Ross with Alfred Abel's Johhan (Joh) Frederson for most of Fritz Lang's Metropolis. CAUTION: Hulk presents a memorable instance of "recovered memory" where the remembered event indeed happened; "the debate over recovered memories" is vigorous and highly charged, and viewers should be reminded first, "A 'for instance' is not a proof" and second, "It's only a movie; it's only a movie" (see, e.g., Psychiatric Times 14.12 [Dec. 1997], <http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/p971201.html>). (RDE, 25/06/03, 26/06/03)