The Hulk

Bruce Banner: Eric Bana
Betty Ross: Jennifer Connelly
Father: Nick Nolte
Ross: Sam Elliott
Talbot: Josh Lucas
Young David Banner: Paul Kersey

Universal Pictures presents a film directed by Ang Lee. Written by John Turman, Michael France, James Schamus, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Based on the story by James Schamus. Running time: 138 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence, some disturbing images and brief partial nudity).

Central Theme
Human attempts to exceed the boundaries ‘established by God” are fraught with potential, danger and unintended consequences.

What if you always had someone around to look out for you?

To defend you when challenged by a bully, threatened by an enraged driver, assaulted by a knife wielding mugger? That at those moments of stress and escalating violence, someone appears— an ever-present avenger, fueled by righteous anger and possessing unequalled strength—and vanquishes the antagonist, rights the wrong, settles the score. Without remorse. Without consequence. Without memory.

And what if that someone…was you?

After more than four decades of continuing popularity, one of Marvel Comics’ most enduring and compelling comic book creations comes to the big screen, continuing Marvel’s superlative track record of bringing its classic characters to motion picture life: Blade, X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil. And now, this summer, The Hulk arrives.

Scientist Bruce Banner (ERIC BANA) has, to put it mildly, anger management issues. His quiet life as a brilliant researcher working with cutting edge genetic technology conceals a nearly forgotten and painful past. His ex-girlfriend and equally brilliant fellow researcher, Betty Ross (Academy Award. winner JENNIFER CONNELLY), has tired of Bruce’s cordoned off emotional terrain and resigns herself to remaining an interested onlooker to his quiet life. Which is exactly where Betty finds herself during one of the early trials in Banner’s groundbreaking research. A simple oversight leads to an explosive situation and Bruce makes a split-second decision; his heroic impulse saves a life and leaves him apparently unscathed—his body absorbing a normally deadly dose of gamma radiation.

…And yet, something is happening. Vague morning-after effects. Blackouts. Unexpected fallout from the experiment gone awry. Banner begins to feel some kind of a presence within, a stranger who feels familiar, slightly dangerous and yet darkly attractive.

All the while, a massive creature—a rampaging, impossibly strong being who comes to be known as the Hulk—continues its sporadic appearances, cutting a swath of destruction, leaving Banner’s lab in shambles and his house with blown out walls. The military is engaged, led by Betty’s father, General “Thunderbolt” Ross (SAM ELLIOTT), along with rival researcher Glenn Talbot (JOSH LUCAS), and both personal vendettas and familial ties come into play, heightening the danger and raising the stakes in the escalating emergency.

Betty Ross has her theories, and she knows the shadowy figure lurking in the background, Bruce’s father, David (NICK NOLTE), is somehow connected. She may be the only one who understands the link between scientist and the Hulk, but her efforts to stop the military threat, deploying every weapon in its attempt to capture the monster, may be too late to save both man and creature.

Acclaimed Oscar-winning filmmaker ANG LEE (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) turns his masterful eye to adapting the classic Marvel Comics character for the big screen. Setting out to faithfully transfer the Hulk comic book character from four-color paneled page to motion picture screen, Lee combines all the elements of a blockbuster visual effects-intensive Super Hero. movie with the brooding romance and tragedy of Universal’s classic horror films. Staying true to the early subversive spirit of the Hulk as envisioned by its creators (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) while also tuning the tale to current dangerous times, Lee presents a portrait of a man at war with himself and the world, both a Super Hero and a monster, a means of wish fulfillment and a nightmare.

Committed to bringing the Hulk to authentic life, director Lee and his effects teams logged countless hours to assure a creature true to the essence of Kirby’s powerful seminal artwork and Lee’s mythic stories. Designers and artists returned to the original Hulk character conceptions to honor the Marvel traditions and place the creature in a motion picture world—grounded in reality, dictated by time-honored practice and colored by comic book convention. ‚©2003 Universal Pictures.

When you strip away all the special effects at a very significant level this is a story about fathers and children. Roger Ebert observes, “there are two dueling oedipal conflicts at the heart of “Hulk,” and notes “it is touching how in many scenes we are essentially looking at damaged children.”

Banner’s father clearly wants to move beyond the boundaries established by God and makes a vague reference to the role of human religion in making the human soul inferior. His “mad scientist” mentality is shaped by man’s age-old desire to “be God.” In “Hulk” you are seeing the Garden of Eden and Tower of Babel rolled into one storyline.

The story also explores the law of unintended consequences in scientific experimentation. The story also shows how the military, for-profit research labs and a mad scientist share in common an insatiable hunger for power.

Beliefs num
–Scientific research produces results that can be used for good or evil.
–Scientists can create that which they cannot control.
–Scientific discoveries can be exploited for good or for evil.
–Those who wish to exploit discoveries are often by an insatiable hunger for power.
–Human morality and agreed upon values can be important restraints on the scientific endeavor.
–Humans fear that which they cannot understand or control.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us abut who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–Given today’s advances in genetic engineering is it possible that one day a creature like Hulk could be a reality?
–Since humans will not restrain ourselves from experimenting with the possibilities, should limits be imposed on such experimentation? Who would do this and how?
–How does this story illustrate the dangers of a value-less science or scientist?

Provocative Quotes byline
–I want to achieve human regeneration. What has been passed on? Confirmed my worse fears. Must find a cure.
–There’s something inside you, so special. Someday you’re going to share it with the world.
–You’re just a byproduct of my inexplicable obsession with emotionally distant men.
==Betty to Banner.
–Someday I’ll, write a book, ‘When stupid ideals happen to smart, penniless scientists.’
–I can help you understand if you’ll let me, if you’ll forgive me.
–Everything your extraordinary mind has been seeking has been inside you.
–Even now I can feel it. Buried somewhere deep inside. Watching me, waiting. But you know what scares me the most? When I can’t fight it anymore, when it takes over, when I totally lose control. I like it!
==Bruce Banner
–I bet you’d really like to destroy it, but I don’t think you would destroy part of yourself would you?
==Father to Banner.
I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I’m becoming, but I know one thing for sure…you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
==Bruce Banner.
–My son is…unique. And because he is unique, the world will not tolerate his existence.
–A lot of people want in on this. A lot of money to be made.
–I should have killed you.
==Banner and Father both say this to each other.
–Puny human. I don’t want to see you. I want to see my son…my real son…inside of you. I gave you life…now you must give it back to me.
==Father to Banner.
–Keep fighting. The more you fight the more of you I take.
–You’re making me angry. I don’t think you’re gonna like me when I’m angry.
==Bruce Banner’s final lines in the movie.
–When I was younger, I loved the movie Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff as the monster, and I also loved Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One day, I figured, ‘Boy, wouldn’t it be cool to combine the two of them and get a character who can change from a normal human into the monster?’ I always felt that in the movie Frankenstein, the monster was really a good guy. He didn’t want to hurt anybody—he was just always being chased by those idiots holding torches and running up and down the hills. So I thought, ‘Why not get a sympathetic monster, but let it be a guy who can change back and forth?’ So, the Hulk became the first Super Hero who was also a monster.
==Stan Lee, creator of Marvel’s Hulk.
–I always thought the story of the Hulk, as presented in the Marvel Comics, had elements of a Shakespearean tragedy that had great cinematic potential.There was real, elemental drama of the human condition in this character. What I always liked about the Hulk was that he was a hero, but not really a Super Hero, not when compared to the other Marvel crime-fighting characters. The Jekyll and Hyde conflict intrigued me. Part of it is a cautionary tale, not only about the demons that we have to come to terms with inside ourselves, but it is also a bit of a commentary about the ramifications of having the technology to create a Hulk. The comic book dealt with Cold War issues, but we’ve been able to update it and it’s relevant, if not more relevant, now.
==Producer Gael Anne Hurd.
–I had seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which I liked very much, and later watched The Ice Storm and Eat Drink Man Woman. I was curious about Ang and The Hulk—the combination of Ang and the source material interested me. I wondered, ‘Well, what is he going to do here?’ You have this comic book level, but then you have mythic proportions to it; you have psychological fantasies involved; you have childhood psychology, archetypal, primal stuff, smothered by a veneer of adult, pseudo-responsibility, false maturity, false wisdom and the gamesmanship of rivals. There was so much to it. And Ang seemed like a great choice because we get a marriage of the East and the West. That was exciting to me.
==Nick Nolte.
–This is a comic book movie for people who wouldn’t be caught dead at a comic book movie.
==Roger Ebert.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in June 20, 2003 by | No Comments »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

− 2 = 8

More from Staublog