1. The Incredible Hulk (3,505 Screens, 114 Minutes, Rated PG-13): As we all know, certain writers for entertainment weekly magazines think this movie is rather superfluous. After all, 2003’s Hulk was directed by Ang Lee, who had just received an Oscar nomination for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, starred up-and-comer Eric Bana and then-recent Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly (she won the award for 2001’s A Beautiful Mind), and still ended up being a box office disappointment (Not an out and out flop. Yes, it’s $132 Million domestic box office came short of its $137 Million budget, but its $113 Million worldwide grosses put it out of flop territory).
But no matter what accolades the creators of the film held, Hulk wasn’t that good of a movie. It was an example of style over substance and lacked emotional weight. And the ending was marred by an really bad CGI and over-the-top hammy acting by Nick Nolte.
But worst of all, Hulk missed out on what made the concept so great. Bruce Banner is a tortured soul, hunted for who he is, cursed by what he’s become. The Incredible Hulk TV series, campy as it might seem today, understood these elements and used them to great effect.
If this film is a sequel/remake of anything, it is that Bill Bixby TV show rather than Ang Lee’s movie. This is a Bruce Banner who is on the run, yet desperately searching for a cure for his ailment. It is the type of pathos that granted immortality to the stories of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein.
This film should be judged on its own merits. Ang Lee’s Hulk might have damaged the Jade Giant to such a degree that any adaptation would be viewed as damaged goods. But this film seems to skew more towards the heart of the concept. If audiences go in with an open mind and still don’t like the film, then I’ll say that they shouldn’t make another.
We will be able to find out what Film Buff Online editor Rich Drees thought of the movie later tonight or tomorrow. He saw a preview screening and will post his review sometime before the weekend. Be sure to check back regularly to see when it gets posted.
Update: The review has been posted.
2. The Happening (2,987 Theaters, 91 Minutes, Rated R): If The Incredible Hulk got some bad pre-release buzz, it was nothing compared to what this movie got. Having a critical paragraph in a snotty EW article doesn’t really compare to having vandals change the name of your movie on public posters to The Crappening (as happened to some posters in NYC).
The backlash against M. Night Shyamalan is massive, vicious and brutal. But is it deserved?
I though The Sixth Sense was a jaw-droppingly good film. Unbreakable was the 2nd best comic book movie not to be based on a comic book (The first would be The Matrix). And Signs was effectively spooky, if flawed.
However, I found The Village to be somewhat idiotic and while The Lady in the Water‘s plot wasn’t as offensive to me, Shyamalan boosting his usual cameo up to a pivotal, plot-important role left a bad taste in my mouth.
That being said, I think most people are a little harsh on him. Sure, if you are a director known for your twists, you are only as good as you last one. And the promotion for this movie is mock-worthy, from the dorky tagline (“We’ve Sensed It. We’ve Seen the Signs. And Now…It’s Happening”) to the cringe-inducing scene in the trailer when Mark Wahlberg yells out “It’s Happening” right before the title card pops up on screen.
But, at least in my opinion, he’s over 50% in the good movie/bad movie ratio. The slamming he’s been taking seems to be meanness for meanness’ sake. Give the guy a break already.
Of course, this opinion may change after I see this film.