The Wax Conspiracy

The Incredible Rampage; The Hulk

Free from the restrains of bondage related to employment whipping my balls like the dominatrix filling out a Business Activity Statement, watching the latest comicbook movie, The Hulk, seemed like the best thing to do on a morning of release. Having never managed to catch a film at the cinema before noon I found myself walking into the theatre just as the start of the Universal Films logo was about to illuminate the screen. This despite the fact that the girl at the counter told me that I had at least five minutes before the film actually started.

With only the ambient light coming from the flicking of comicbook pages under the Marvel logo I found a seat pretty close to the centre of the theatre's audience. Of about only twenty up at such a time and without a job to tend to.

It starts off with images of Dr David Banner (Paul Kersey) slicing and dicing genes and frog play trying to work on something like the Super Soldier serum for the army. The stylised framing of the scenes is only a hint of their use throughout the entire movie. If Spider-Man captured a few classic poses from the pages then the editing of Hulk captured the throwing pace of the panelling used in comics. You're spared from the captioning seen in movies like Captain America or television like Wonder Woman or Batman.

Butting heads on procedures with a Young Ross, Banner uses himself as a guinea pig and injects himself with some of the formula to future study the effects. He's okay until he notices that his baby boy Bruce has a seriously hideous bout of varicose veins courtesy of the genetic transfer. Then there's a closed door, loud voices, a dull thudding and blackness. Cut to Bruce as a teenager in cold nightmare sweats with his adopted mother and then to Bruce Krenzler on a bike on his way to work at a university in Berkeley.

To which then the fat guy two rows ahead of me starts to laugh like the stereotypical fanboy he is. The scene features Stan Lee in a speaking cameo as a security guard talking about the need for more security on the campus. This is were Dr Bruce Banner/Krenzler (Eric Bana) works and bumps into Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly) like a tagging match another lard to the right of me starts to pick out the contents of a large potato chip packet. As soon as this glob on my right finishes of his snack the one in front of me starts up with a muffin or something and throughout the entire film these two whales are snacking their way up to the proportions of the Hulk.

In a kickback to the comicbook origins, Bruce gets bombarded with a heavy dose of gamma radiation while saving someone's life. Too bad that kid's name wasn't Rick Jones. At which point I think a blonde just over my right shoulder was putting back on her jacket. She'd later again take it off and put it back on like the feverish behaviour of a person ready to cough up details in graphic semi-solid form.

It's some time before the Hulk makes it onto the screen and it's pretty damn impressive what they've done with the texturing and the muscles. Rippling with green skin, the Hulk looked like he was an Indigenous American, this from the bone structure and look in his eyes.

Dr David Banner (Nick Nolte) finally makes it onto the screen shortly before the Hulk does and brings with him dialogue that doesn't seem out of place in comic but illicits a wringing feeling if said aloud. Then there are these three Hulk dogs, one of them being a poodle and another a pitbull. Reared by David Banner he lets them loose to attack Betty but only in an effort to bring out the Hulk.

Military action ensues soon after with real attention given to the dynamics of Hulk leaping and running across the Californian desert. And part of the Hulk are those purple pants which, if all the extreme magnifications of cells and such had anything to go by were a part of the Hulk as a being. No purple, no green.

The Hulk doesn't say much. Bruce takes care of that, and from the seconds leading into the transformations it's pretty evident how broken Bruce is mentally and the toll it has taken on his state of mind. He's struggling with all the pain and that comes through, and the final act ends in a way not totally unlike that of The Crow.

Comicbook style lettering usher the audience into the realm of the movie and the end credits - Jack Kirby is given due credit alongside Stan Lee for creating the Incredible Hulk - move along apace making effective use of the panels and speech balloons. Set Me Free plays in the background/foreground and you're left with this feeling that the typical smashing also broke apart the expectations of this Jekyll and Hyde type story from Director Ang Lee.

Ethan Switch

Reviewed on Friday, 27 June 2003

The Wax Conspiracy



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