Hulk opened on this day 20 years ago. I could go into how this film did, but c’mon. You all know how Ang Lee’s expensive superhero extravaganza fared. Critics met it with a collective “well, that was, um, kind of interesting” shrug while audiences were even less forgiving, and the movie failed to find any form of legs after a front-loaded $60 million opening weekend.
Normally, this is the part where I do my “I actually quite like this piece of supposedly unloved cinema” paragraph…except that I’m sorry to say I’m kind of with popular opinion on Hulk. It’s an ambitious but woefully misguided mess, bringing new meaning to the term “tonal whiplash” as it has a devastating flashback of a boy watching his own father accidentally kill his mother with a blade intended for him, and then follows that immediately with a scene of Shrek having a really bad day as he smashes through a bunch of bad guys. Having said that, I genuinely like Sam Elliot as General “Thunderbolt” Ross, while Josh Lucas is enjoyably hammy as a cartoonishly evil scumbag who wants to use Hulk’s powers for…something. I think he was after Hulk’s blood? Maybe?
And then there’s Nick Nolte as Bruce Banner’s old man, and his performance here is certainly…something. The climax has Nolte’s Papa Hulk and Eric Bana’s Banner engaging in a shouting match that seems to go on forever, before duking it out with each other in a titanic battle that is certainly….something. It’s a CGI fight scene so dark and confusing that it might’ve inspired the now common saying “this CGI fight scene is so dark and confusing.” I’m pretty sure Nolte literally turns into a giant bubble by the end of it?
Anyway, don’t feel bad if you’re a Hulk fan, as it does have a good number of passionate defenders. Besides, I like fucking Batman & Robin. So clearly my taste shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Enjoy what you like, is what I’m saying.
Now comes the part when I get into a cool fast food promotion that Hulk had…except that, here in the states, it didn’t. So instead I’ll have to talk about this dumb commercial for “Hulk Hands”–which as far as I’m aware are the only things inspired by this movie that made real money. This feels like it came straight from 1995, which is fitting, since it aired in 2003. But hey, HULK HANDS! I’ve…got nothing else to add here.
Have a SMASHING good day, y’all!