Today I will be analyzing a short clip from the movie The Hulk from 2003. I have been a fan of the Incredible Hulk since I was a little boy. I loved the TV show from the late 70’s starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. I have also collected Incredible Hulk comics, toys, etc for over 25 years. In 2003 I saw The Hulk movie in theaters and I was disappointed. The movie was too long and probably could have been trimmed by 15-20 minutes. I thought Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly were underwhelming as Bruce Banner and Betty Ross. The movie could have been saved at the end but I thought the ending was weak too. I was hoping for Nick Nolte’s character David Banner to also turn into a Hulk for a big Hulk vs Hulk fight but that is no where close to what happened. It may appear I am dogging the movie, which I am! That is why I want to look at this Hulk scene from different perspectives. This is the scene:
First I will analyze the scene by watching the scene with the sound off. The scene starts with a close-up of Bruce Banner and then uses a few behind the character shots, two from behind Bruce Banner and one behind the Hulk. It ends with a looking down at the Hulk perspective while he falls. The camera angles do not say much, however, seeing Bruce Banner look at the Hulk in the scene opens the door for many possibilities. Has Bruce been separated from the Hulk like he was in the comics? Where does Bruce go after the Hulk grabs him? What in the world did the Hulk say!? If I had only seen this scene without having already seen the movie, I would be excited about finding out what happens next. On the technical side of things I think director Ang Lee should have shot the Hulk from a little lower angle to give him a more powerful presence. It should also be noted the CGI looks quite awful by today’s standards and it was barely passable back then.
I will now analyze the scene by listening to the sound only. The scene opens with some water dripping and music that gives you the sense something bad will happen. The music starts building up like something big is about to happen. It gets a little weird like someone is chanting in the background. What in the world is going on here? Glass breaks and we here someone say “puny human.” Oh my who was that!? Was that the Incredible Hulk? Puny human is something he says all the time in his comic books! Did the Hulk just punch through a window and grab someone? Maybe Tony Stark aka Iron Man? Or maybe General Thunderbolt Ross, Betty’s father. The sound does a great job building up the scene until we here that classic Hulk catch phrase.
I will now watch the scene as originally intended. The audio and video work well together but being an avid Hulk fan, I would think Bruce is having some kind of a dream about the Hulk. It turns out I would have been correct. Having both characters wipe the mirror at the same time was a neat trick though. This is one of the few scenes that work’s well in Ang Lee’s Hulk in this Hulk fan’s opinion. To my surprise, the scene was very interesting with just the audio. Pretending I had never seen the movie, the audio built things up very well and had me wondering what is next? What did happen next is an underwhelming movie that was followed by a marginally better sequel in 2008. At least the Hulk was awesome in Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Maybe you’ll get another movie of your own someday big guy.