Movie Reviews

bellview--i love movies

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

Movie Awards
2004 Roundup
2005 Roundup
2006 Roundup
2007 Roundup
2008 Roundup
2009 Roundup


"The Hulk"

Directed by Ang Lee.
Written by John Turman, Michael France and James Schamus.  Based on the comic book. 
Starring Eric Bana, Jennifer Connolly and Nick Nolte.
Release Year:  2003 
Review Date:  6/23/03 


The burning question for the new film “The Hulk” is NOT how bad the idea was to computer-animate the lead character...

...the question is really:  Is the token scene in “The Hulk” the most shocking use of tokenism in the history of token black guy scenes???

The answer:  absolutely!  My friends Liz and Raymond were in town from Columbus, and we all took in “The Hulk” last night.  Now, when the scene comes up, you freakin’ KNOW that the black guy is a goner.  He’s a security guard, he looks amazingly confused, he witnesses a character literally pass a hand INTO a piece of machinery, and still looks like “Hey man, what’s goin’ on around here?”  Then, of course, he dies...and, he dies the worst death in the film.  Now, in a film where there are over 3000 actors, could the casting director not find ONE OTHER MUTHAFUCKIN’ BLACK PERSON?

Ang Lee’s update of the so-so Lou Ferrigno TV show is entertaining, and the filmmaker does an incredible job of presenting a fairly run-of-the-mill story about a scientist named Bruce (Eric Bana) that seems to have a problem with his temper, mostly due to gamma-ray exposure and his whacked-out dad (Nick Nolte).  But, with the help of his hot former girlfriend (Jennifer Connelly), Bruce tries to figure out just what can keep his anger from boiling over.

The presentation is aided by some of the best editing in recent memory--I loved the comic-book style framing, the fast pacing of the “details” (cool shots of helicopters, cutting to soldiers on the ground, cutting to an underground base), sweeping camera moves intercut with three angles of the same person’s face.  Lee and his team keep the film moving so well in the early going that I almost forgot that I wanted to see shit blown up and torn apart; hell, this IS supposed to be a film about a guy that smashes stuff up to vent.  You can tell that the aim is for something more than just your summer popcorn film, and in the film’s first hour, that is achieved.

In the second hour, we get the action movie treatment and “The Hulk” loses some steam, especially as it tries to come up with a decent ending...which it does not do successfully.  But, I do like to watch stuff get blow’d up and guns get fired, so there are a few testosterone moments that keep it real.  Some question arose, though.  Maybe I just didn’t pay attention to the comic, but could The Hulk basically fly in the Marvel comic treatment?  He seems to be able to jump from mountain to mountain with ease, and at one point, he seemed to jump so far that he ended up somewhere in Egypt, not Death Valley.  Also, maybe it is just so that we don’t have to look at The Hulk’s wang, but could someone explain how a man doubles in size and predictably shreds all of his clothes...but can still keep his boxers on and in good condition??  Oh, and the token gets pummeled with a heavy piece of equipment, but guys that are thrown inside of a tank come out with minor bumps and bruises?  A general (Sam Elliot) calls the President for “everything we’ve got to take down the threat” of The Hulk...and all he gets are four tanks and five choppers?

I’ll admit, it was cool to see the scene in the film where the green guy shows up in San Francisco; I work across from that building you see in the film that has the San Francisco Magazine sign near the end.  Who doesn’t love an over-the-top angry guy performance from Nolte, the authority on over-the-top angry guy performances?  The film does have some cool moments, and it really does need to be seen on the big screen.  And, I’ll also say that the CGI Hulk was a good call.  The things that the green guy is tasked with would only look stupid if you had a human in front of a blue screen, so this definitely is a good choice.

Even as I write this, the memory of “The Hulk” is fading, but it does provide enough moments to warrant dropping $6 or $7.

Rating:  Matinee


Comments?  Drop me a line at


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09