Monday, June 10, 2002
Childhood Memories Crushed Again - Hulk Smash!
Well, this is pretty sad...what happens when you hand over The Hulk movie to artsy-fartsy Ang Lee? Bad, scary things, from the sound of it.
As you may or may not recall, in the comic books, The Hulk came into being when mild-mannered nuclear physicist Bruce Banner, attempting to save his young friend Rick Jones from the effects of a bomb test in the desert, was blasted with gamma radiation and subsequently began turning into not-so-jolly giant called The Hulk. Now...maybe I'm no fancy-pants director like Mr. Lee, with his Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon acclaim and such, but I don't see a lot wrong with that origin story. You have a guy selflessly sacrificing himself for a friend, a massive atomic explosion - all within the first few minutes of the film, basically. Sounds good, right?
Well, in Mr. Lee's version, which has nothing to do with the classic Hulk we remember, Banner is bitten by feral, radioactive dogs (created, if I recall the rumors correctly, by Banner's father, The Absorbing Man, a Marvel Comics character that had nothing to do with The Hulk, let alone had any relation to Bruce) and, at some point, battles a giant Hulk poodle. Yes, you read that right - a Hulk poodle. Mad yet?
After the success of Spiderman, any moron could see that there were going to be plenty of superhero comic adaptions made in the near future. What's sad is that most of these will probably be written and directed by people who've never picked up a comic book in their lives, unlike Sam Raimi, who was a life-long Spiderfan and wanted to see things done properly. Aside from a few minor changes, Spiderman was left pretty much as I remembered him and rightly so.
What Raimi seemed to understand and what Ang Lee doesn't, apparently, is that these characters were popular with people around the world to begin with, for good reason - and while I'm not against someone trying to add to their appeal, I think that throwing away the things that made them popular in the first place, in an attempt to make them "better" is foolish and counter-productive. Perhaps Lee's movie will be good and moviegoers who've never read the old comics and children who haven't grown up with The Hulk will enjoy it greatly and I hope that's the case. However, there will be a lot of people out there who are going to be bummed out over these radical and unnecessary changes, the very people who bought all those comic books years ago and made it popular to begin with. They only get one chance at making these movies and if The Hulk tanks, there won't be another one for a long time, if ever.
In worse news, in a particularly pathetic case of bandwagon-jumping, there's going to be a movie based on The Wonder Twins, of Superfriends infamy, possibly two of the lamest characters to ever come out of the superhero trash heap. Apparently some idiot Warner Brothers exec must have seen them on the Cartoon Network for ten seconds and mistakenly thought they were cool and asked around for the movie rights.
At least we can take some solace in the fact that David Koepp, the screenwriter credited with Spiderman, has signed on for round two.