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Something’s Gotta Give: Ang Lee’s The Hulk

By Geoffrey O’Brien

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Excelsior, Ang Lee! Comic book aesthetics hit the big screen in this Hulk adaptation

The Incredible Hulk, as a comic book, was a model of narrative clarity. It had the bracing simplicity of garage rock modified by a note of piercing melancholy that evoked Smokey Robinson's "I've Got to Dance to Keep from Crying." The Hulk himself, barreling through all snares and obstacles while uttering a few characteristic monosyllables ("Hulk trust no one!"), was the embodied spirit of comic books. But the flavor was in the sadness: when the Hulk wasn't throwing his weight around against the likes of the Rhino or the Behemoth, he was lost in contemplation of a solitude beyond redemption. . . The beautiful monster, the wounded monster, the sad monster: this other hidden Hulk is subliminally present if not always perceptible in the giant green simulacrum of Ang Lee's Hulk—although there is unquestionably a forlorn quality in those pogo-stick leaps across the arid wastelands.


You can read the complete version of this article in the July/August 2003 print edition of Film Comment.

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