Just Pillow Talk v Marvel Comics! Number 2: HULK SMASH PUNY JPT!

If there’s one argument that never goes away, then this one is it: Chinese Hulk v French Hulk. Now, from my side of the fence, I think they’re both pretty terrible films, and wouldn’t give either of them anything remotely approaching a decent rating. However, this isn’t my quest, so what I think doesn’t matter a jot. Just Pillow Talk’s trek through the comic book adaptations continues below with a double-header of Ang Lee’s terrible Hulk and Louis Leterrier’s boneheaded and mostly terrible The Incredible Hulk.

Let the SMASHING commence: 


Hulk (2003)

The two Hulk movies have, let’s just say, divided our esteemed Changian type community. It has turned bastards into bigger bastards as they seek desperately to defend failed attempts at bring the green giant to the big screen and actually make a good movie.

Ang Lee attempted to approach his hulk film a little differently, trying to film it as a comic book, the way shots are framed, the side-by-side of actors, the overlapping of shots, etc. I just don’t think it works and serves more as a distraction.

The movie begins in the 60’s with Bruce’s daddy conducting experiments for the army and juicing up his own son with gamma juice. Across the board the acting is pretty piss poor in this early section. Fast forward to the present time and Bruce (Eric Bana) is working in Berkley doing science stuff, there’s some back story romance with Betty (Jen Connelly), Josh Lucas is trying to lure Betty away and take over Bruce’s research, and Daddy Banner (Nick Nolte) is snooping around gather hair follicles from his son. There’s an accident at the lab and Bruce is exposed to gamma radiation, seemingly unaffected.

What the hell is this?

Of course he has bad dreams of iguanas, toads, jelly fish…yes…this is complete horseshit. While in the hospital recovering, daddy shows up and tells him that he’s his dad and things are not all normal in Brucie land. It all sets up a conflict of children vs. their daddy’s. Daddy Banner views all Ross’s as a threat to his son, to his uniqueness, which the world would not stand for in his eyes.

So let’s talk Hulk transformation, which is shit. It’s CGI at its worst. The Hulk seems like he has no presence, no weight to him as he moves. When bullets hit him, it looks…off. I also don’t like the fact that he gets bigger and bigger as he gets more angry. It just looks stupid that he’s like 25 feet tall. I think in the intimate moments when he’s just looking at Betty, the Hulk looks okay, but in action, not so good. The fight with the Hulk poochies is a mixed bag, and I think that sums up the CGI Hulk. There are times during the movie where the special effects are effective enough, but other times where they look downright horrible. I think the hulked out dogs look a bit silly, but the actual fight is handled decently. So half the movie is gone by, in a Hulk movie no less, and we finally got an action scene. WTF. That’s like making a Transformers movie and waste time with jerking off jokes or robots being pissed on instead of robots battling. Thanks Mr. Lee at your valiant attempt to put me to sleep. You got to Mrs. Pillow already, as she complained just before nodding off “This is such a long movie about nothing.”

Bruce ends up being captured and brought to the desert base, Daddy Banner gets himself changed into an absorbing man type bad guy, and Josh Lucas tries to forcibly remove some of Bruce’s DNA to replicate the Hulkiness and sell it on the open market to major league baseball players. Things go sour and the Hulk escapes, hello horrible CGI. At least in the underground base he looks pretty bad. Once he’s outside battling the tanks and helicopters, it’s better, still not great, but better. This goes on for too long, the Hulk bounding around the desert. He ends up getting captured again (damn you Betty!) and, in a move I call quite questionable, the army decides to bring in Daddy Banner to talk to Bruce. Um, you already know that Bruce has issues, including repressed memories of daddy, and yet you decide to bring in daddy to talk to him? Sort of alone in like a warehouse, with no way of preventing Bruce from turning into the Hulk? WTF.

The final battle between Hulk and Daddy is pretty cool, but fuck, did it take fucking forever to get to that point. So that counts as a good mark for this movie (the final battle, not the amount of time it took to get there), as is Jen Connelly, who I think is hot and I thought she did a good enough job playing Betty. She conveyed her feelings for Bruce effectively. Bana, who I tend to like, doesn’t really register one way or another as Bruce. His acting was fine, yet I could care less what happens to him. Nolte is entertaining in spots, and Sam Elliot as General Ross is blah. This movie is devoid of fun. However, I will award it ½ a purple pants out of 4 for the final battle and Jen Connelly.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Okay Mr. Leterrier, you’re up next to try to make an entertaining Hulk movie. I mean, it shouldn’t be that fucking hard, right?

Different cast, director, etc, but it could almost be a sequel in that the transformation has already occurred and Bruce Banner is on the run in South America, much like The Hulk ended with Eric Bana. Here Bruce Banner is trying to live a “normal” life in Brazil, seeking ways to keep his anger under control and working in a bottling factory. It’s during once such day at the factory where he cuts himself and some of his blood lands on some bottles which get shipped off to the U.S. Back to that in a moment, Bruce is also in contact with another scientist who is trying to help him cure his little green problem. He ends up sending a blood sample to a “Mr. Blue”. Now that pesky bottle ends up getting drunk, with adverse reactions to the gamma infested blood, which leads General Ross to send a team (led by Tim Roth) to locate Bruce.

What follows is a pretty good chase through the streets and a decent battle in the bottle factory. I would say that it’s probably as good if not better than any action piece in The Hulk. The next action piece involves yet again some military trucks and a helicopter, which the Hulk easily disposes of. The added feature in this round is Tim Roth’s character being super powered with some gamma serum. He holds his own for a while until he inexplicably stands right in front of the Hulk mocking him. HULK NO LIKE MOCKING…HULK KICK! He promptly kicks him into a tree. His body is broken but thanks to the gamma infusion, he makes a quick recover and is itching to get back into the game.

Bruce finally meets up with Mr. Blue and they are able to successfully remove the green monster from him. Alas, General Ross shows up and they take Bruce into custody. Tim Roth decides to have Mr. Blue inject him with further gamma juice and he turns into the Abomination. Mass destruction ensues and they decide to turn Bruce back into the Hulk to combat the Abomination. Big fight. Hulk win.

Looking at this movie by itself, without comparing to the previous Hulk movie, how is it? Eh, it’s kind of meh. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the Hulk or what, maybe the character suffers from the Superman syndrome…all powerful and usually stacked up against really shitty adversaries. At the end of the movie he finally gets a worthy villain, one who is as powerful as him, to match himself against. The actual story is pretty shit, but then again, they still haven’t moved on from the General Ross must catch Hulk storyline. It’s the Lex Luthor of Hulk storylines I guess. Enough. Let’s see the Hulk go against some super team of villains of something, change it up.

Comparing the two Hulk movies, I say the action is better in this one, it doesn’t have that annoying as fuck split screen, comic booky shit in it, and it’s a bit shorter. Jen Connelly is the better Betty in my opinion, with Liv pulling her soft spoken bit which just comes across weak. Norton is not weighed down by Daddy issues, so for that alone, his Banner is better than Bana’s. I suppose I’d give Elliot the advantage in the Ross character, but really him and Hurt don’t do anything for me. Villains? I don’t know, I guess I have to give Roth the advantage since he at least faces the Hulk multiple times in different incarnations of himself as he progresses to the green side.

Edge: The Incredible Hulk.

I still only give it 1.5 purple pants out of 4. Still searching for a good Hulk movie, which I doubt will ever be forthcoming, not that I think there’s a big clamoring for one anyway.

Pillow out

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

51 responses to “Just Pillow Talk v Marvel Comics! Number 2: HULK SMASH PUNY JPT!”

  1. Jarv says :

    Let the Hulk wars, er, CONTINUE!!!

    You’re quite right, both are shit. Le Hulk is marginally better, but it’s between being smashed in the bollocks or kicked in the head.

    The following things are wrong with Hulk Foo Yung:

    1) Wrong focus. The daddy issues shit is both boring and faintly embarrassing.

    2) The CGI

    3) The pacing is off- particularly lack of action in first hour

    4) The inexplicable decision Lee made to do the mocap for Hulk himself, thereby guaranteeing that Hulk would look like a fat chinese dude trying to flex non-existent muscles.

    5) The end. It’s terrible- you are the only person that likes it. Ever.

    I’d also give it half, but that’s for nolte.

    The following things are wrong with Hulk L’Orange:

    1) It’s stupid. Like really, really stupid/

    2) It’s monotonous- the best section is the Brazil stuff, after that it’s a series of monosyllabic big green guy smashing.

    3) Erectile Dysfunction- why for the love of god would you do that. I know it came from an early Hulk 2003 script, but if even Lee had the good sense to get rid of it, then it’s a lousy idea.

    4) Liv Tyler may as well not have bothered.

    5) General Ross again. You’re spot on about him being the Lex Luthor of Hulk

    I’d give it 1, and that’s for Roth, who seems to be having more fun and for actually using “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” and “Hulk Smash” which should be present in every Hulk film.

  2. Droid says :

    Meh. Honkers Hulk >>>>> Surrender Monkey Hulk. If, for nothing else, Hulk edges TIH because it doesn’t feature a fight between a gigantic bowel movement and an enormous mouldy penis.

    • Jarv says :

      At the end of the day, both of them such dog eggs.

      Why is it so hard to make a good Hulk movie? I’ve been reading about Ang Lee’s and it was a fiasco. They spent $20m on Script development and kept throwing ideas out. Some made it to the screen in both versions, but it’s universally the terrible ones such as Daddy Issues and Erectile Dysfunction.

      • Droid says :

        All the things that Pillows said he didn’t like about Hulk, I did. And vice versa. I liked the editing style. I liked the CGI. I didn’t like final fight. And the desert action scene in Hulk absolutely shits all over everything else in TIH.

      • Droid says :

        The only okay scene is the Brazil bit. But I’ve got Fast Five for my awesome Brazil action so TIH is especially pointless.

      • Jarv says :

        Once he gets back to America, it does nosedive. The cab bit made me want to punch the writer.

      • Droid says :

        I can’t stress this enough… It is a superhero who is afraid of his own penis.

      • Jarv says :

        Terrible decision. Particularly the way it is played for laughs. He’s an unstoppable force of nature that’s scared of his own cock.

        There’s no sugar coating it, it’s a bad idea.

        However, the daddy issues crap is equally awful, if not worse, because that was one throwaway moment in a pretty bad film, whereas Daddy issues was the entire crux of Hulk.

      • Droid says :

        Eh, I don’t have a problem with daddy issues. It made for a much more satisfying storyline than “HULK GOT SECRET RECIPE FOR SUPERSOLDIER. NEED HULK BLOOD”. Which is basically a clothesline to hang action scenes and penis gags on.

      • Jarv says :

        I don’t get where you get satisfying from. I’d go with massively boring and hackneyed.

        I’m not defending IH, because it’s not good either, but I do wish they had gone with some of the earlier Hulk ideas which would have been much more interesting.

      • Jarv says :

        Basically, I think the way to look at it was the way the early versions handled it. Hulk on the run. Make it a sort of chase movie, excise Daddy issues/ impotence and do it kind of like the Fugitive but with smashing.

        Ang Lee and Leterrier both made bad films.

      • Droid says :

        Um, that’s what TIH was and look how that turned out.

      • Jarv says :

        I know, but the difference is they fucked it up with him having to go to see Mr. Blue. Point being, the best and most watchable bit of either film was in the Favellas, and that’s almost precisely what I outlined. That they fucked it up is not the point, the concept was sound.

        I’m thinking about the old TV series/ movies, which were infinitely better.

      • Droid says :

        Nah, the bit in the Favellas is shit compared to the desert sequence in Hulk. It is the best bit of TIH by far though.

      • Jarv says :

        I tend to agree with pillows here, that’s easily the best bit of Hulk, but ruined by lousy CGI- he’s got no weight and frankly looks like a fat chinaman squeezing out a stale loaf.

        Why is Hulk so hard to get right- and I mean the design. He looks terrible in both films.

      • Droid says :

        Nah, the CGI during the whole Hulk film is excellent.

      • Jarv says :

        It really isn’t. Looking at those pictures, and others when it came up, he looks like he’s got no depth and isn’t physically interacting with his environment. He looks superimposed in places.

        It doesn’t matter anyway, because the design and mo-cap is so bad.

      • Droid says :

        I’m not looking at pictures. I’m looking at the film. And the CGI is good.

      • Jarv says :

        When I saw the film last time it was on TV, I was absolutely astonished at how, well, fake Hulk looked. The prime example is the scene when he’s trapped in the goop in the base. He clearly looks like he’s not there. I would argue that for most of that film, it isn’t just bad, but terrible. It’s far, far worse than the CGI in TIH- which isn’t great either, but is helped by hiding him in the dark.

      • Droid says :

        Nah, it’s good. Anyhoo, since we’ve run this subject into the ground again… I’m going out to get some breakfast. Coffee and a cigarette. Breakfast of champions.

      • Jarv says :

        It’s crap.

        Cup of tea time.

      • Droid says :

        Is Hulk always a loner in the funnybooks? Because it would be good to see him in a movie that involved him voluntarily fighting a villain. In the films, he seems like he just wants to be left alone and this Army guy has taken a personal dislike to him because he boned his daughter.

      • Jarv says :

        No idea.

        I know there’s all sorts of different coloured Hulks. I think he may be in the Avengers or something.

        I wonder if Pillows isn’t on to something with the Superman comparison.

      • Jarv says :

        Also, he does voluntarily fight mouldy penis monster.

      • Droid says :

        Nah, not what I was thinking. He’s a reluctant hero. I mean, he is more accepted as an asset (doesn’t have to be fully accepted, there can be conflict there) and he fights for good. During the whole film. Not right at the end after spending the whole movie trying to get away from the Army.

      • Droid says :

        It created a better conflict than just some guy who wants to get another guy. I liked it. You are free to think whatever you want.

      • Jarv says :

        Why, thank you.

        The problem with Daddy issues as an emotional driver in a comic book movie is that so many of them do it:

        • Spidey- Uncle Ben= Daddy Substitute. Great Power comes great responsibility, basically trying to make his uncle proud of him.
        • Batman- Parents murdered by the Joker/ Parents murdered by Joe Chill. All the guff in Begins about the Wayne Legacy.
        • Superman- Absent father (Jor-El), making yokels proud of him.
        • GL- Driven by daddy issues in film.
        • Daredevil- father killed, hence fighting crime to make daddy proud of him,

        I can go on.

        You get the idea. The thing is, though, Hulk has alternative motivation and there was no need for Lee to do such overwrought freudian claptrap.

      • Jarv says :

        I think I like it a bit less than he does, to be honest. I would agree with you about the final fight, which is terrible by any reckoning.

        I can’t bear the comic booky shit in it.

  3. tombando says :

    Of course its French Hulk>China Hulk. I do like the second one it just feels like a Hulk movie. First one at least has Jenny C, Sam Eliott and desert fight going for it. They don’t need a third.

  4. Bartleby says :

    Im literally the only person here who probably liked both of them.

    I prefer Ang’s Hulk personally, because it was strange and set up some interesting character conflicts. JPT isnt the only one who likes the end. I thought it was great too. The flashes of the battle in the clouds felt far more like a comic book than the split panels, etc.

    With IH, I liked it less, but I’ll be totally honest–when I saw it at the theater I had fun with it, and I think I remember Jarv, you did enjoy it too when you first saw it. It may not hold up, but it was a reasonably enjoyable comic book movie. The last battle in that one was fun too, but granted, in a more dumb big 60’s monster movie kind of way.

    Neither would be the Hulk movie I wished they had made, but both kept me entertained, so there you are. I’d give Ang’s Hulk 3 stars and Letterier’s 2.5 stars.

    Good reviews, Pillows.

    • Jarv says :

      I did enjoy it as mindless entertainment first time out, but I’ve tried rewatching it, and it isn’t good.

    • Bartleby says :

      I rewatched it recently–and still enjoyed it. It’s not that I can’t see the flaws, or don;t see filmmaking, storytelling deficiencies. I do. I see them in almost every single movie I see, but with IH, that’s the kind of storyline that used to run, not in the Ferrigno/Bixby Hulk, but on the Saturday morning Hulk cartoon.

      Memories of watching that with my dad do create a kind of nostalgia, and I liked that Hulk did end with a big, stupid fight. It was just a big saturday morning cartoon writ large.

      • Jarv says :

        I may give it another shot.

        Why is it so difficult to make a good Hulk movie? The more I think about it, the more certain I am that pillows is right.

      • Bartleby says :

        Im not passing it on nostalgia, I’m just saying that it does more or less what it sets out to do, and it’s faithful to the comic inspiration for the most part.

        I think most of the issues leveled against could be leveled against the source material. Tyler’s better was the real weak point for me.

      • Jarv says :

        Tyler is utter crap in it, but she’s generally utter crap.

        I’ve just discovered that Betty dies in the funny books, and that Ross becomes Red Hulk. How fucking shit is that?

    • tombando says :

      I actually Kinda liked the first one–the Hulk Dog fight was at least brutal, hmmmm mentioned Sam Elliott, the desert fight, etc. But the rest? sure it’s a misfire. Eric Bana as a wuss doesn’t cut it.

      But to me, there’s nothing really ‘wrong’ w/ number Too, it’s got it’s moments, Tim Roth is fun, and I hear the DC of it isn’t bad either. So there ya be.

  5. Continentalop says :

    Both movies are failures. Arguing which one is better is like arguing which Golden Girl is hottest – futile and a complete waist of time.

  6. Continentalop says :

    As for the daddy issue with the Hulk, that exist in the comic but it first popped up in the late 70s and became a deal in the 80s under Peter David.

    So think about it, they made something that was unnecessary for the Hulk character for almost two decades as the centerpiece of their film. Mind-boggling pointless attempt to make the Hulk more “adult” and “intelligent”.

    • koutchboom says :

      Conti, I just recently got one of these clinical overview of character books Marvel puts out from time to time. Just sort of briefly going through the history of a character. These are all for Deadpool, it’s actually boring as fuck to try to read, because they come off written more as a text book history lesson so all the crazy fucked up shit they do its just BLAHBLAHBLAH JUMP THROUGH TIME TO KILL BLAHBLAH THEN WHEN TO ANOTHER EARTH, have you ever read one of these? It’s just funny how even the most outlandish shit can be broken down to seem boring as hell.

  7. Toadkillerdog says :

    Middle Kingdom Hulk vs Maginot Line Hulk

    Although the Maginot line is synonymous with failure (it really should be more synonymous with hubristic complacency)- actually worked for a while – the Germans circumvented it by going through Belgium. Just like frenchie hulk – it actually worked for a while.

    The Middle kingdom, on the other hand, has always considered itself the center of the universe – hence the word middle, therefore it believes it can do no wrong and even if it was wrong it will kill anyone who says so. Ol Ang thought he knew it all and thought his pseudo- introspective, slow moving, over acted (Nolte shewed through 75 million dollars in scenery) and mostly boring movie is what audiences who were clamored for hulk smash- really wanted to see.

  8. Toadkillerdog says :

    Good job on this piddoes! There are some true stinkers in this bunch but some gems as well

  9. ThereWolf says :

    Both piss.

    I still go for Ying-Tong Hulk over Platini Hulk – but it’s by the width of an gnat’s eyelash.

    I prefer the actors in Lee’s movie – except for Bana, I too think Norton is a better Banner. I can’t recall the FX that well, I wasn’t that impressed with Hulk in motion in either film but some of the close-ups looked good. I’d have to watch them again for a better idea. Forgettable, the pair of them.

    The telly series is still the best!

  10. Just Pillow Talk says :

    I’ve now watched 3 stinkers in a row. Maybe I’ll go after the Spidey films next, though that last one..yeesh. JPT SMASH WEBMAN!

  11. the col says :

    i can’t believe Ang did the mo cap on his. Now you mention it, he does look like a fat middle aged Chinese guy! Lol

    but i rather like Joe le hulk. Crouching hulk is pretty stupid, with hulk dogs being super fucking dumb. I did lik the attempt at style with the comic book frames on screen. But that’s it.

  12. Spud McSpud says :

    Both pretty meh, though for me Your Mother Smells Of Elderberries Hulk edges it over Miyagi-San Hulk, if only for the fact the early chase in south America was great and I liked the idea of Banner using self-calming techniques and a heart monitor on his wrist to warn him of impending Hulk-outs. Tim Roth was loving every minute of the hamy scenery-chewing he got to do, and so, for me, it’s Truffaut Hulk over Bruce Lee Hulk any day.

    If they want to so it RIGHT, they need to either make Brian Azzarello’s BANNER! into a movie (they actualy use Doc Samson right in that graphic novel, too) or THE PUNISHER – CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES by Garth Ennis, which is so fucking insanely entertaining it would be the best Marvel movie EVER. The Punisher is his usual badass self, Spidey is just some wise-cracking smartass, Daredevil is a po-faced do-gooder who takes himself WAY too seriously, and Wolverine is a dumb-as-shit brute with no intelligence who exists solely so The Punisher can figure out new and interesting ways to, if not kill him, majorly incapacitate him, usually in the funniest and most interesting set-pieces in the book. And how they work the Hulk into it all… pure genius.
    So – Spud’s vote: Garth Ennis Hulk > Gitanes Hulk > Jeet Kune Do Hulk.

  13. Joycelyn Gorter says :

    yes bruce banner is one of the 8 smartest guy on marvelverse and i really wanna see him fight red hulk in animated movie !i have a blog dedicated for discussion about marvel DC whatever comic anyway just take a shot and have a nice day marvel DC mania !

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