Hulk screenplay, cinematography disappoint

Despite the childish stereotype surrounding them, comic books can suit all likes and ages. Not so easy to agree, is it? But one look at the movies that have been based on comic books, and the infantile stereotype is cast away.

Road to Perdition, Ghost World, The Addams Family — all these films have been adapted from comic books, but they are not as widely known as in the case of Spiderman or Superman. And all these films were nominated for Academy Awards. This goes to show, that movies based on comic books can be well done.

The Hulk is no such movie.

Director Ang Lee has been versatile throughout his career. His filmography includes an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel (Sense and Sensibility), a film about the American Civil War (Ride with the Devil) and even the Oscar winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

He’s done well before and the expectations one might have about The Hulk are certainly set to high standards.

Unfortunately, with The Hulk, Lee strays from the beaten path of acclaimed movies.

The Hulk is an alter ego of Dr. Bruce Banner, a genetic scientist accidentally exposed to gamma radiation. By what he believes is plain luck, he survives the exposure. Soon he finds that his anger changes him into a gigantic, strong creature able to regenerate any of his parts. When the government finds out about it, they try to kill the Hulk but are unsuccessful.

The interesting thing about The Hulk is that it can’t be described as a bad movie. There is a thin line between a bad movie and a movie with good intentions. The Hulk stumbles on that line and eventually trips over its own feet to land flat on this border.

The subject of the movie, as unbelievable as it may seem, is not its main fault. Rather, it is the telling of this tale that is its death sentence.

The cinematography, which tries to imitate the look of a comic book, is erratic and lacks consistency. It seems to be a good idea the first few times it is used, after which it becomes a distraction. The computer graphics have a long way to go before the Hulk stops looking like Shrek and becomes more human in his bestiality. Also, it is quite clear that the movie has been created with a sequel already in mind.

The film’s screenplay is also faulty. Bypassing the fact that the plot of the movie is only somewhat similar to the plot of the comic book (which may matter to some comic book fans, but makes small difference in the movie), the film has no clear point. There is no real villain here, other than the very elusive government and some of its officials, which leads to an anti-climactic resolution.

The acting is well done, with tackiness reserved only for the part of Nick Nolte (Bruce’s father). Eric Bana (Dr. Bruce Banner) and Jennifer Connelly (Dr. Betty Ross, Bruce’s love interest) act with feeling and compassion, but bring nothing new to the table.

In this second movie of the year with a faintly green glow to it, audiences are better served in The Matrix Reloaded time and time again, rather than shelling out money on something that is likely to disappoint them. The film may not be all bad, but why waste the time?

Rating: C-

Action, PG-13, Running time: 138 min.