Sunday, June 15, 2008
Movie Reviews: THE INCREDIBLE HULK & THE HAPPENING
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Still stuck with the ability to turn into a raging behemoth, Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately searches for a cure that will rid him of his gamma-irradiated alter ego once and for all. However, he's barely given a chance to stop running from the obsessed General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), who will use the entire might of the U.S. military to find Banner and kill the Hulk. Meanwhile, Banner must also deal with his tortured relationship with Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), as well as contend with a new opponent, another gamma-created monstrosity called the Abomination (Tim Roth).
Cast Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell, William Hurt (more)
Director(s) Louis Leterrier
Writer(s) Edward Norton, Zak Penn
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date June 13, 2008
Running Time 114 minutes
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for sequences of intense action violence, some frightening
sci-fi images, and brief suggestive content
Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk supplies plenty of what most felt was missing from Ang Lee's much maligned Hulk, lots of crazy smashing and carnage. Gone is the Freudian mind trip and it's been replaced with a more straight forward comic book action movie. Personally, I have always thought Ang Lee's Hulk wasn't as horrible as most make it out to be, it's slow but thoughtful and really try to turn the genre into something artful, even with it's faults it was bold. That being said it didn't get the reception that most would have expected. Leterrier's straight forward action flick is pretty much bare bones in terms of story and heavy on the smashing. It knocks out the origin in the opening credits and immediately begins making visual connections to the 70's TV show, something that continues throughout the film. Edward Norton as Banner is good if not great. Norton isn't really given very much to work with as the script is clunky, filled with unnatural dialogue. Norton gives it his best try and makes Banner a brooding reluctant hero who hates his power. He's effective but I can't help but feel that with a better script he could have done so much more with the character. Liv Tyler has the thankless job of being the female lead and she's given even less meat to chew on and it shows. Her character is fairly one dimensional and in the end we know fairly little about her and Banner history. William Hurt gives General Ross a slightly harder edge but it veers terribly close to caricature which isn't helped by the fact that the character lacks depth. Tim Roth's character is the hidden gem here and at times I was more interested in his character than Banner's. Roth does a solid job here and actually brings a lot more to the table than the bigger names. Action wise Leterrier's keeps the carnage coming throughout, huge set pieces filled with Saturday morning comic book goodness. The final battle, which is nearly 20 minutes long, starts to feel a bit like a video game more than an actual movie, this is mainly because the CGI varies from very good to very bad. The mildly redesigned Hulk looks a tad less cartoon-ish equipped with more rippling sinewy muscles this time around. As a whole The Incredible Hulk delivers what you would have expected from this modern day Jekyll and Hyde action flick, lots of bashing mixed with a dash of anguish. Is it great? Not really. Is it fairly enjoyable, sure but its kind of forgettable as well.
When the entire fate of humanity is threatened, Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) takes his family and tries to avoid the impending apocalypse.
Cast Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Betty Buckley (more)
Director(s) M. Night Shyamalan
Writer(s) M. Night Shyamalan
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date June 13, 2008
Running Time 91 minutes
MPAA Rating R - for violent and disturbing images
I had given up on M. Night Shyamalan films after The Village, his mock Hitchcock style had just grown old and his twist endings were becoming more and more tired. I skipped Lady in the Water entirely and from everything I've read and heard it was probably for the best. Still it was hard not to be intrigued by The Happening, it looked like it may have something worthwhile, it looked like it might be suspenseful. Sadly it's neither of those things. Shyamalan has been on a fairly steady decline since the oft overrated The Sixth Sense launched his career and now his craft is at such a level of degradation that one has to wonder if his first success was more dumb luck than actual talent. Not since George Lucus have I seen a director suck the life out his actors so completely. Mark Walburg is horribly miscast and has to utter some of the worst dialogue outside of an independent middle school stage production. Zooey Deschanel is completely wasted and is also given lines of lame of dialogue to utter. She's tasked only to occasionally react and move along a subplot that doesn't fit or really matter to the overall story. John Leguizamo is in the film for a quick moment and disappears from the story so quickly it makes you wonder why Shyamalan bothered to cast him in the first place. Slow, feeling hours longer than its actual running time, The Happening plods along like some lost troll on the road to no where. Shyamalan might tell you this film says something about man and his place on the earth and that conversation would probably be more compelling and suspenseful than this waste of celluloid.