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The Hulk: Stickin’ it to the Man?

Lately I’ve been reading more and more about the upcoming remake, or re-imagining, or whatever category we’re suppose to put the new HULK (The Incredible Hulk) movie into, and it’s becoming pretty obvious that there are quite a few folks out there who seem rather perturbed by the whole idea, and I can see why: I mean if even Marvel thinks that the movie was bad enough that it wants another crack at it so soon after, shouldn’t we all be getting a refund for the tickets to the steaming pile that Ang Lee dished up?

Personally though (trying my best not to come off as a total Marvel fanboy), I think that Marvel, in particular Marvel Studios, are using The Incredible Hulk to make a point: Providing that there are no delays The Incredible Hulk will be in cinemas tearing off everything but his purple pants some time in 2008, just five short years since the critically panned version mentioned above. However in the four years that have passed since that film was release there have been some major changes in the way that Marvel Studios is involved with the film adaptations of its (Well, Marvel Entertainment’s) IP.

Marvel Studios was formed in the late nineties and was instrumental in Marvel’s character returning to both television and cinema screens. Unfortunately external financing had to be found for the production of these forays, which meant that more often than not Marvel was forced to relinquish much of the creative control over these projects: Sometimes with disastrous results.

Fortunately, in 2005 Marvel came to a big-numbers arrangement with with financial gurus Merrill Lynch & Co., and was able to announce that from that point on THEY would be producing the movies based on their IP, with Paramount Pictures subsequently distributing the resulting films. Ultimately this means that Marvel now have the creative control over their films and are able to bring their own, undiluted vision of their characters to the screen… The first of which will be Iron Man in 2008.

So, how does all this tie in with The Incredible Hulk? Now, taking into account that this is all purely, uninformed, probably misguided (if guided at all) conjecture on my part – Heck, it’s my site, I’ll post about zombie robots satellites from space if I want… And I have! – But it seems to me that Marvel’s push forward with a sequel that’s not a sequel is intended to be a statement: A “this is how it’s done” so to speak.

I think it’s fair to guess that Marvel wasn’t completely in favour of the deviations from source in The Hulk (or any of their other adaptations I suppose) and so The Incredible Hulk should, if we’re lucky (and I’m right – which is doubtful) stand as a tight adaptation from the pages of the comics… And if we’re REALLY lucky maybe this time Lou Ferrigno will get a cameo that makes it into the final cut! [source]

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    The Hulk was a great “film” in my opinion but it was NOT the type of film that catered to the audience it should have…hence the weak box office. The Hulk has way more potential. If you didn’t like the first film that’s fine but it was far from a “steaming pile of crap”. It just wasn’t what most people expected at all. I’m all for the makeover of the character and the difference is…this time Marvel is making the movie…NOT Universal.

  • I have to agree with Mr. Dark. I thought the Lee version of HULK was entertaining, and far from steaming, let alone crap.
    Control over creative influence is a regular theme here on EOL and it is these insights (and the eloquent way that they are expressed) that makes me keep coming back for more. I have little (read; no)insite into where you source your information and this does not influence my decision either which way to stop me from coming back for more.
    This IS your website and zombie robots from space aside, the creative ejaculations expressed here are rightfully yours.
    It will be interesting to see which way Marvel turns not only with HULK but all their projects from this point forward.

  • You guys are entitled to appreciate and be entertained by Ang Lee’s movie and you’re entitled to your opinion… As am I, and my opinion IS that the film was a steaming pile (note that I didn’t say ‘crap’ – not here, or in the initial post).

    I didn’t mind Bana as Banner, I think he did a pretty good job portraying the (almost) listless kind of character that Banner was in the early comics. Unfortunately there were two — three if you count hulk-dogs — things that ruined the movie for me:

    Firstly, there was no sense of direction, with the exception of the cliché “where did I come from” arc with Banner, and the weak and predictable attempt at the love story, there was nothing. Just wanting to escape is hardly a worthwhile premise… Hell, even the Bill Bixby series mixed in a whole ‘fugitive helps those who need help’ element into each episode, but hinging the movie on Banner’s abandonment hang ups simply wasn’t enough to drive the movie (for me). By comparison look a the way that (essentially) the same issue has been dealt with in the X-Men movies: Yes, Logan wants to understand where he’s from, what he’s made of etc; while it is an element that drives the character it hasn’t driven the movies. What it has done is put the audience into a position where, now, after three films, the idea of a movie based wholly on that premise (the discovery of his origin) is extremely appealing.

    Sure Ang’s movie answered the question of what happened to Bruce’s old man, but it didn’t really give us anything about the character. By the end of the first X-Men film we knew little about where Logan came from but at least we knew what kind of man he was. By the end of The Hulk, well, sure he had some answers, but the character was still pretty insipid.

    Secondly: Referring to the source medium in such an obvious way as using comic panels on the screen is just gimmicky and insulting to the audience. Look at Batman Begins, it make no reference at all to the fact that the character and story has it’s origin in a comic book, nor should it, but one can argue that it is the most successful adaptation so far, in that it put on the screen the true nature of the characters without resorting to reminding the viewer of the original medium used to tell the story. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be the odd tip of the hat to the source (like the inclusion of the shot which mimicked the origin issue of Action Comics in Superman Returns) but sticking to a colour pallet or using some other method to visually represent a ‘comic book’ on the screen is not only lazy, but it smacks of someone (ie: the director) who has no real understanding of the genre or it’s audience… Why not just add a cartoon sunglass wearing dog, who rides a skateboard and wears his hat backwards.

    I’ll entertain Advanced Dark’s comment that Ang’s film was a good ‘film’ for a moment… That’s great, I’m glad that you guys enjoyed it, I’m glad to hear that all the hard work that everyone (including Ang Lee) put into the movie is appreciated. Ultimately that’s all that matters.

    The point of my initial post wasn’t to start a debate about The Hulk, but, as Dark alluded, to point out that this time Marvel would be the ones controlling what comes to the screen (and not Universal).

    Thanks for your comments Macca (and Advanced Dark), your opinions is always welcomed here – I’ve been running some version of elroyonline since 1998 (yes, before the invention of the word ‘blog’) and it’s always been just for my own amusement, the fact that anyone else finds the content here entertaining is just a bonus.

  • …and what about my girl Jennifer, hey!! phwar!!

  • As always Macca, you’re the guy bringing things right back to where they orta be!