BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Nov 23rd, 2008 •

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I interviewed producer Gale Anne Hurd about the DVD release of THE INCREDIBLE HULK.

Next for Gale is the December theatrical release of Marvel’s PUNISHER: WAR ZONE for Lionsgate and Sony Pictures Entertainment, starring Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle, scheduled for release on December 5, 2008. Stevenson is best known for playing Titus Pullo (and Cleopatra’s sperm donor for her child with Julius Caesar – a bizarre bastardization of history) in HBO’s fabulous series, “Rome”. The film also stars Julie Benz, best known as Dexter’s girlfriend Rita. Gale has produced more than two dozen feature films that have generated billions of dollars of revenue. Her other credits include THE TERMINATOR, ALIENS, and ARMAGEDDON.

I watched the single-disc edition DVD that included only the Commentary and Deleted Scenes.

Universal is also releasing a three-disc special edition DVD that includes a Leterrier/cast commentary and extensive behind-the-scenes featurettes; the Blu-Ray edition also adds interactive features that allow viewers to examine background material while watching the film.

Both the Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray releases include over two hours of bonus extras, including an exclusive, never-before-seen alternate opening and a digital copy of the film that is iPod, PC or MAC compatible.

After watching the terrific 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio transfer, I watched the movie again with commentary by director Louis Leterrier and co-star Tim Roth. Most fans of movies consider the DVD commentaries as film-school-at-home and Louis and Tim do not disappoint. In fact, Tim, contrary to the roles he is known for, is very funny. I asked Gale about having Norton, Roth, and Hurt, three intense actors, working together. Gale said it was a pleasure to work with such committed actors and said that Hurt waited 4 hours to do off-camera dialogue for a co-star! She also said that Norton was very helpful working with Liv Tyler.

When I specifically mentioned how Roth’s warm personality emerged in his conversation with Louis, she said he was not only very funny, but is a big family man. That certainly comes across as he continually mentions his children. Gale said that Roth only took the part after consulting with his children. Roth was their first choice for Emil Blonsky, Hulk hunter and nemesis, The Abomination.

Gale said that Norton was particularly proud of the greening of the production. He and the production worked with on offsetting some of the carbon footprint of the production. They tried to reduce paper use by doing more electronic paperwork. They also made a lot of the film in Toronto, Canada, where there are good low-sulfur diesel rules and no idling rules with vehicles.

The DVD retains the brilliant colors and very good CGI effects intact. Along with the Commentary, there are the Deleted Scenes, the majority of which are of Banner in Rio and give a fuller picture of his dreary, self-imposed isolation. There is also an extended scene between Ross and Blonsky.

The Hulk is no do-gooder. Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) hasn’t gotten that far yet. He’s grappling with a voluntarily administered gamma radiation dose that activates his R-complex brain stem. It has unleashed a jumbo-jet charged, testosterone-fueled id. The gamma radiation transforms him into a behemoth of a monster when he gets mad. Where would civilization be without the R-complex?

The evil military-industrial complex, under the tutelage of General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt), works with Banner and his colleague Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” Ross (Liv Tyler) to make a superior fighting soldier. Banner offers himself as Patient Zero. They didn’t bother tinkering with monkeys.

With professional athletes breaking world records, high schoolers doing steroids, and HGH as easily available as ecstasy, who doesn’t want to be super-human? Technology is the new savior.

Banner soon realizes he’s the perfect military creation and escapes to the slums of Rio de Janeiro. He has been working at a bottling factory and living in monk-like squalor.

A random drop of Banner’s blood falls into a soft drink bottle, gets shipped off to the U.S., and the hunt for him gets hot! Now, Ross knows exactly where Banner is. It is an unlucky setback for Banner, since he has been working with a mysterious contact via the internet who has been helping him to find an antidote. To capture Banner, Ross calls in Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth).

After his initial encounter with The Hulk, Blonsky is jealous. He wants a mega-dose. Of course, General Ross is no fool! He kept a few doses for “a rainy day”. If these guys want to be guinea pigs, it’s a good idea. Blonsky happily becomes The Abomination.

The casting of Norton is perfect. And, as Tim Roth continually says in the Commentary, working alone, as Norton must do as Banner, is very hard for an actor. You have no one to play off of.

There is a mood Leterrier has created, with the actors, that elevates the source material. There comes the time when they have to deliver the CGI and they do. The Hulk and The Abomination destroy a city. The Hulk looks pretty damn good and the final fight will make diehard fans and new fans satisfied.

The Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray releases include the following: Alternate Opening, The Making of The Incredible Hulk: An in-depth look at the making of the blockbuster film, featuring interviews with Edward Norton, director Louis Leterrier, and producers Avi Arad, Kevin Feige and Gale Anne Hurd and the entire cast and crew. The documentary covers the film’s innovative take on the character, look and storyline, as well as the casting process, production and profile of director Louis Leterrier; Becoming The Hulk: This featurette focuses on Edward Norton’s approach to the iconic role and the incredible visual effects employed by award®-winning studio Rhythm & Hues to create the character on screen; Becoming The Abomination: From the first motion-capture session to the visual effects at Rhythm & Hues; viewers go behind the scenes with actor Tim Roth and watch as he transforms both his mind and body into the super villain known as The Abomination; and Anatomy of a Hulk Out: Behind-the-scenes looks at three of the movie’s most exciting action sequences.

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