Friday, June 20, 2008

Comics Out June 18, 2008

Angel -- I am switching to trades on Buffy and Angel from now on.

Nothing jumping out at me in Comics News.

I did see The Incredible Hulk, and it was terrible -- just borring. No chemistry or charisma from the cast at all -- how much more charming is Liv Tyler in her nintendo DS commercial than in the whole of Hulk?

And then CGI monsters punching each other over and over till one of them punched enough he won. I had flashes of Alien Versus Predator: Requiem.

Ang Lee's Hulk was on TV last night, and I watched it again. I did not fully appreciate the way this film worked the first time around -- say what you want about it, and it is not flawless, but there is something really stunning about the attempt to fuse an art house meditation on the nature of anger with a summer superhero blockbuster. The new Hulk could not even keep the anger theme straight. They decided excitement of any kind -- including sex -- would turn him into the Hulk, which really means you have no theme at all.


Jason said...

"And then CGI monsters punching each other over and over till one of them punched enough he won."

That did indeed suck. I agree with all your criticisms, Geoff, but I'm curious -- what did you think of the earlier bit of the movie, with the chase of Banner and his first transformation into the Hulk? I thought it had a certain excitement to it.

I didn't watch that clip of Liv Tyler's commercial, but generally, isn't she pretty bad and boring in every movie she's in? I've never liked her in anything.

Another thing about Ang Lee's Hulk -- a lot of people don't mention this, but the whole psychological angle has precedents in the comics. People talked about how Ang Lee seemed embarrassed by his "big dumb" comic-book source material, so he turned it into, as you put it, a meditation on the nature of anger. But the source material would, with some regularity, contain such ruminations as well. There are certain key issues of Hulk that, if you've read them, are clearly the ones that the creators of the 2003 film were looking to when fashioning their adaptation: issue 312, from 1985, particularly. Also 1990's issue 377 and the "Minus One" issue from 1998.

(I don't know why I'm naming all the years -- I guess just to prove that I know them.)

I notice that -- at least among the online sampling that I've interacted with -- people who read the long Peter David run on the Hulk liked Ang Lee's movie a lot. (Peter David's Hulk = my next blog series, perhaps?)

I agree that the film is not flawless, but it does so happen to be a very faithful adaptation of the Hulk comic, particularly during the 1980s and 90s, and it has some moments of brilliance, I think.

Mikey said...

Geoff – I agree with you on this. I was sitting there thinking: “Hold on, I like the Hulk punching shit and stuff blowing up so I must like this…right?”

Jason, I for one would really like to read that series of posts on David's Hulk you suggest as the few issues of it I read I really enjoyed and think it merits having the cobwebs blown off.

I think Peter Bradshaw’s review at the Guardian is good fun, and also quite perceptive (he’s right, the Hulk in the movie wasn’t angry).

Also, you’ve mentioned it a few times recently and I’m glad you got to go back and rewatch Ang Lee’s movie (as I must). There’s a good, thoughtful (and mostly free of sub-academic noodling) reappraisal of it at The House Next Door.

By contrast, their review of the new movie is here.

Excuse the link dump.

No new comics for me this week. Picked up a copy of The Education of Hopey Glass and the World War Hulk trade instead.

Prof Fury said...

Peter David did have the gray Hulk suggest that he was partly a manifestation of Banner's libido, so there's some precedent for connecting it to sex; there's another ish early on in the David run where Banner and Betty are about to get cozy and Bruce turns into the Hulk. In this case, it's coincidentally because night is coming on and this is the era in which sundown triggered the change, but it did seem that David was working that angle there, too, in a subtle way.

Of course, he had a decade or so to tease out these subtleties and make them make sense, as opposed to what people are describing happening in the movie (which I guess I'm going to see, though I said that about Fantastic Four 2 now and I haven't motivated myself to do so yet . . . )

It's interesting that this new film has prompted so much re-evaluation of Ang Lee's version throughout the blogosphere. I'm tempted to give it another shot, but I dunno -- the memory of gamma poodles and Nick Nolte giving a performance worthy of Gary Busey is probably too powerful a disincentive.

Jason said...

Mikey, I will check out those links. Here's one from Nathan Rabin, the 100th installment of the " Year of Flops" project he did.

Geoff Klock said...

Jason -- no I thought the first scene in the bottling plant was still borring.

Thanks for all the links.

Streebo said...

Haven't seen Hulk yet - but I will soon.

I picked up a whole stack of books at the convention today. I scoured everything from the quarter bin to the video tables. I came away with a nice haul consisting of issues 1 & 2 of Comics Now, as well as assorted issues of Godland, Elementals, Doktor Sleepless, and Powers. In the dollar bin - I found two beat up old books on science fiction in the movies dating from the late Seventies.

The crowning achievement of my Search For Swag was my black W.A.S.T.E. t-shirt that has the black W.A.S.T.E. logo on the front and on the back are black letters spelling out "BEING BAD IS GOOD AGAIN."

I put a short convention update about my day at the Heroes Con on my blog for anyone interested.

Kenney said...

I just saw the movie today, and didn't like it at all. I told my friends that I would have been just as happy to come in and see the last 15 minute fight scene (which was ridiculous, but awesome), than have to sit through the whole movie.

It was really boring and really really dry. I also thought this Hulk looked worse than the Ang Lee version. By and large I found Ang Lee's version to be kind of boring as well, but at least he had that incredible scene with Hulk fighting the Army.

Oh lord, and how big of a step down was this version of General Ross compared to the one in the Ang Lee movie.

Jason said...

You know, I really did think the movie was decent enough after seeing it, but all the discussion here is making me -- in retrospect -- like it less and less. I'm a happy defector to the "It completely sucks" camp now.

Gene Phillips said...

I don't expect to convert anyone here (and may even offend some with my opening remarks), but if you wanna read a positive take, there's one of 'em here:

NeoKefka said...

THANK YOU! I'M NOT ALONE! I've been feeling like some sort of pariah over not liking this movie when almost every friend of mine was RAVING about it.

There were only two action bits that I liked in the whole thing (the start of the Abominations rampage and Blonsky going super soldier on the Hulk), I thought Tim Roth was a decent villain and hearing "Hulk Smash!" was awesome. Everything else was just dreadfully dull and about as generic a Hulk movie as I can imagine.

laseraw said...

i agree with you about the hulk sequel/reboot/but-we-dont-openly-wanna-call-it-that thing.

ang lee's interpretation was too far from what the audience of the character demanded and provably too slow for the audience of the blockbuster;
but it attempted something that this genera rarely shoots at once it reaches the mainstream of mainstreams... to have some actual content.
i really like ang lee so far, so its hard for me to ditch this one, although in my opinion the father as an antithesis could have flown further with out the absorbing man powers...

it's kind of funny that even the cgi was sort of a faliure on the sequel, once you compare it... having the 5 year old prequel appear more photo-real than the latest one, seems to go against all the competitive racing and perpetual tech-out-doing they have on fx based blockbusters.

at this point i have sen nolan's the dark knight so i'm ok now.
the year, comic-hero-adaptation-wise, would have been terrible for me if it ended on the note of the incredible hulk