directed by Ang Lee
USA 2003

 

The Hulk becomes the latest Marvel Comics superhero to get his own movie franchise, following in the wake of Blade, The X-Men, Spider-Man, and Daredevil. However, in this case, Lee and his screenwriters have essentially thrown out what was previously established. The foundation may be the same as in the comic books, but everything else is different - sometimes radically so. Yet, despite abandoning so much, Lee pays homage to what has gone before. Both Stan Lee (who, along with Jack Kirby, created the character on paper) and Lou Ferrigno (who played the title character in the late-'70s/early-'80s TV series, "The Incredible Hulk") have brief cameos.

Hulk begins with a short prologue in 1966 where a young Bruce Banner watches his unhinged father, a discredited military scientist, commit an unspeakable deed. Skip ahead about 35 years. Bruce (Eric Bana) is a scientist working at the Berkeley Nuclear Biotechnical Institute alongside his ex-girlfriend, Betty (Jennifer Connelly). Their current project has hit a few stumbling blocks, but that hasn't stopped sleazy corporate executive Talbot (Josh Lucas) from taking an interest. Also watching things with a careful eye is Betty's father, General Ross (Sam Elliot), who is wondering if the project has military applications. Then, one day, a lab accident exposes Bruce to a massive dose of radiation. Not only does he survive, but he isn't even injured.

Excerpt from James Berardinelli's review at ReelReviews.com HERE

 

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: June 19th, 2003

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DVD Comparison:

Universal (Single-disc Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray

(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Universal

Region 1 - NTSC

Universal - Region FREE Blu-ray
Runtime 2:17:55 2:18:13
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.22 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Video codec: VC-1, dual-layered

Feature: 38.1 Gig
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1, DUBs: French Dolby Surround 5.1, Spanish Dolby Surround 5.1

English DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround, DUBs: French, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Castellano Dolby Digital Plus 5.1

Subtitles English, Spanish, French, none English SDH, Spanish, French (and 37 other options), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary with director Ang Lee
• Hulk Cam - Inside the Rage

• Featurette: "Super Hero Revealed: The Anatomy of the Hulk" (6:59)
• Deleted Scenes

DVD Release Date: September 16th, 2008
Keep Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.85:1

1080P Dual-layered, VC-1 encode

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary with director Ang Lee

• Featurette: Evolution of the Hulk

• Featurette: The Incredible Ang Lee

• The Dog Fight Scene

• Deleted Scenes

• The Making of The Hulk (16:17)

• The Unique Style of Editing the Hulk
• 
Blu-ray U-Control features Picture-in-Picture
 

DVD Release Date: September 16th, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 32

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Well, he's a bit greener! Although dual-layered the new Universal Blu-ray (the feature fills 38.1 Gig) only exhibits more subtle increase in image quality over the new single-disc widescreen SD-DVD in the screen grabs below. It becomes much more apparent depending on the system that you are viewing it on. This is notable mostly in the colors and detail which raise up a few healthy notches. Overall the new Blu-ray gives a dimensional look that is very impressive at times. Part of the trouble with extensive use of CGI is that under the microscope of 1080P resolution it can tend to look a little 'cartoonish' (I made this same statement about Beowulf). The nature of those effects produce hazy results that even a very advanced visual update can not eliminate. I noted this especially when our Hulk is standing in the majestic vistas of the desert. The Blu-ray brings out the sky and contours of the environment with crystal clarity and our large green protagonist looks even more contrasted - not only with his color - but the variance in detail as well. I guess I'm trying to say it looks more 'fake' than on the weaker SD-DVD. This is certainly not any fault of the transfer - it's more a sign-of-the-times for this style of film production.  Now the Blu-ray looks pretty smart, but it's not totally perfect, showing some minor noise here and there. The bottom line, visually, is that it's remarkably better than the concurrent SD-DVD edition. I toggled back and forth on my system (simultaneously playing) and the difference is easily, and at times dramatically, discernable. I can't see relating any better than simply viewing the screen captures (and clickable larger resolution ones) below.

Audio-wise the new SD edition had decent 5.1 track (and DUBs in same) but this Blu-ray effectively improves upon it with its DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 . My ears aren't great but even I could detect the improvement in certain spots. It gets more than its fair share of action as the film is rife with an excess of helicopter explosions and deep green grunts. My rear speakers got some much need exercise. The Universal Blu-ray adds choices for DUBs in 6 other languages and a massive 41 subtitles options! (one issue with this is they are not selectable from the Main menu so you must toggle through them to get - or remove - your desired option - it's a bit of a pain.)

In terms of supplements the single-disc widescreen SD-DVD has some of the extras and the commentary from the older 2-disc edition while the Blu-ray appears to have all of them. Ang Lee is a good commentarist and I appreciate him getting involved but this is a fairly long super-hero 'joint' and it often feels like the information is being stretched to the film's completion and limitations. Still, I'd much rather have it than not have it. The other features feel a bit filler too although I liked the, brief, one on Ang Lee himself (lots of glad-handing) and the 17-minute Making of...  but the deleted scenes didn't do much for my appreciation of the film. Bottom line for Blu-ray fans is the inclusion of the U-Control Picture-in-Picture accessible via the color buttons of your remote. It has cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage running while you can still see the film in the background.  

I'm glad I was able to watch this again as I didn't think much it the first time - many years ago. But viewing the 1080P Blu-ray it was like a new experience - a second chance (if you will). It still has an excess of explosions and violence for my personal taste (or for showing with the very young kids around) but I thought Bana, Connelly (hubba, hubba) and Elliott were great and I was further accustomed to the comic strip framing. The cartoony CGI Hulk didn't seem to bother me as I was more into the story. Others may be more bothered. This Universal region-free Blu-ray is a pretty good one and the film has me in a 'Hulk' frame of mind for the upcoming Incredible Hulk Blu-ray release (the one with Edward Norton.) If you are a super-hero junkie - as I seem to be further evolving into - then this Blu-ray should sate the pangs for a while.

 -Gary Tooze

 



SD-DVD DVD Menus
 

Extras on both discs

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 


(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray
Menu: Blu-ray

 
DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Universal

Region 1 - NTSC

Universal - Region FREE Blu-ray


 





 

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Gary Tooze

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