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The Incredible Hulk

by admin October 14, 2008 10:07 am
The Incredible Hulk

Thank the good lord that this movie was as good as it was. After the train wreck that was Ang Lee's Hulk, anything would have been an improvement, but LeTerrier knocked The Incredible Hulk out of the park, with a great script, a great cast and enough hidden "Easter eggs" to fill a comic geek's longbox. The 3-Disc Special Edition DVD (the "Hulkier" version described here) has a ton of extras, including the cut Captain America cameo, and while that extra in particular isn't all it could be, the rest are pure, gamma-irradiated goodness that will make you want to punch William Hurt in the mouth, in the best way possible.

DISC ONE

Director's Commentary
Is there anything more awesome than a British guy and a French guy talking about superheroes? Yes, and that's when they're both incredibly excited about the movie, there's plenty of stuff for them to talk about, and they're both pretty knowledgeable about the source material. In one of the few commentary tracks that I actually wanted to listen to for the length of the movie, Tim Roth ("Emil Blonsky") and director Louis LeTerrier talk about the making of the film, and all of the different locations they shot in. (There were apparently dozens, and not just the obvious ones. For instance, the interior of the Brazilian bottling plant was in Canada; and the interior of Banner's Brazilian apartment was a soundstage.) It's too bad Edward Norton isn't on the commentary, as well -- although it's understandable why not -- but I'm almost glad he's not, because I feel like he would have brought the room down. Roth literally laughs with glee when he sees the Hulk chasing him across a field, and seems to truly love how the movie came out.

Deleted Scenes
The first batch of deleted scenes includes a lot of fill-in-the-blanks. We see Norton mountain-climbing in Brazil, meditating with the metronome, receiving a book on flowers from Mr. Blue, asking his friend to locate it for him, and collecting the garbage he needs to make a crude centrifuge. None of this was in the final film, and yet we assumed that it all happened, and that was totally fine. A new scene is General Ross explaining his mission's failure to his superior, General Greller; it's the first time that we (and Blonsky) see that Ross also answers to somebody. We start to see Ross and Blonsky grow closer together, and that's reinforced in an extended version of the following scene in the hangar, where Ross explains his and Banner's involvement in the super-soldier program. It's probably twice as long as the original scene, and William Hurt sells every minute of it.

DISC TWO

Alternate Opening
You've probably heard a lot about this opening online, because it contains the much-anticipated, and yet incredibly elusive Captain America cameo. Some people aren't happy with it, because it's almost impossible to see and it only shows up for a split-second, but it's kind of cool when you think about it. In the opener, we see Edward Norton going far North, hitchhiking with those Ice Road Truckers we've been hearing so much about and then snowshoeing the rest of the way, until he gets to the edge of the ice shelf, and prepares to kill himself. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that it doesn't happen, but it's still a bit of a downer to kick off the feel-good-movie of the summer with. One thing leads to another, and for a brief moment you see Captain America frozen in the ice. In fact, you could say that this scene probably makes the discovery of Captain America possible. It's a cool scene, and a great Easter egg for fans, but I can see why it was cut.

Deleted Scenes
Yes, more deleted scenes -- there are over 20 in all, on both discs. This disc starts off with a bunch of goofy quick scenes of Banner delivering pizzas around the campus, including one where he corrects a study group's equation, one where he's told to embrace the hero inside him, one where he's told to smash a door down, and one where he wastes his "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry" catchphrase on two unbelievably rude sorority girls. All are better off cut, as is the entire idea that he would do the entire delivery route just to lie his way into the lab. A whopping six cut scenes are spent at Betty's house -- which here is actually Betty and Doc Samson's house -- and Doc Samson is in all of them, mostly to interrupt tender moments and psychoanalyze Banner. He comes across as a much less sympathetic character, possibly throwing a wrench in the Doc Samson, Ph.D. spinoff film.

A pre-fight rant by Banner about his and Betty's arrogance to try and change God's design bookends a post-fight monologue by General Ross about how he wants to harness the Godlike power Hulk has. Next to each other, they pretty clearly show where they differ in their opinions about science; separated by the fight, they might not have had as much impact. A post-make-out-session heart-to-heart between Betty and Banner is pretty sappy, and doesn't address Mr. Green's serious case of "Mr. Blue Balls." In the helicopter on the way to Stearns' lab, Blonsky starts to show some restlessness about engaging Banner directly, but is talked down by Ross's right-hand woman, Sparr, who also gets extra facetime in the earlier monologue and in a post-raid debriefing scene. And we end with the return of Doc Samson, who gets Betty on the phone long enough to be forgiven for turning Banner in and then told that Betty's not coming home right away. That should give him time to bulk up, grow his hair out and dye it bright green.

The Making of Incredible
...Brought to you by Volkswagen, for some reason. Not sure exactly why, but this is a pretty extensive overview documentary, with interviews with all of the principal actors about why in the hell they agreed to be in a sequel to a superhero movie, and interviews with Leterrier about his own thought process. We see some concept art that Leterrier sent to Marvel before he accepted the job, which is pretty cool, and we see a lot of behind-the-scenes footage as we travel with them to all of the locations. Also, we see Leterrier blow stuff up a lot. Entertaining. No computer effects work, though, because that comes in...

Becoming the Hulk
Not only does this doc show us how the Hulk's facial movements were captured off of Edward Norton's real face, and how his body movements were captured or copied, we also get plenty of video footage of Norton crawling around and pretending to get shot at, which is always fun at parties. Plus, extensive discussion of what kind of hair the Hulk should have (he almost had a military cut before he went emo), and a few quick shots of Ang Lee's Hulk, which looks effing preposterous. I'm sorry, anyone who says that movie stands on its own is crazy.

Becoming the Abomination
The logical counterpart to "Becoming the Hulk," this doc shows them working out how the Abomination is going to look and move. Leterrier and his designers took very little from the comic book, instead going with an overgrown, protruding skeleton theme, and it was pretty difficult for the animators to work with. Also, the movement coaches worked extensively with Tim Roth and others to make the Abomination's movements as different from the Hulk's as possible. So we get to see Roth in a leotard. In other words, warm up your pausin' thumb!

Anatomy of a Hulk-Out
Three more documentaries here, detailing how they filmed each of the Hulk's three big battles: "Hulking Out in the Bottling Plant," "Hulking Out on Campus" and "Hulking Out in Harlem." The first one shows how they moved all of those big machinery pieces, the second one shows how they got Blonsky to run that fast and how they filmed the helicopter crash, and the third shows how the CG animators dealt with the battle, since most of the practical work was shown in the "Making of" doc.

From Comic Book to Screen
I had no idea, but apparently the scene with Hulk and Betty in the cave was based on a similar scene in Heroes producer Jeph Loeb's and Heroes artist Tim Sale's Hulk: Gray Book 5. Because they're nice, the DVD guys gave us an animated version of that comic sequence, similar to the Watchmen motion comics you can watch nowadays. I wish they'd done the voice-over work for it, though. I'm sure Lou Ferrigno wasn't busy.

DISC THREE

The third disc is just a digital copy of the film. Don't worry, I won't describe it.

Still interested, now that I've spoiled everything? Buy it here!

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