|Script Review: The Incredible Hulk|
Page 1 of 2
Edward Norton gives us the anti-Ang Lee with his action-packed (but emotionally inert) script for The Incredible Hulk.
I couldn't help but consider Ang Lee's failed project Hulk while I read Norton's script. Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Brokeback Mountain) approached this pulpy material like a Greek tragedy, the personal drama of a disastrous relationship between father and son. There were special effects and CGI, even some explosive confrontations between Hulk and the military, but that wasn’t the focus of Lee’s film. His vision, while not bad (in my opinion), was different. It didn’t meet the expectations of viewers, leading to lackluster ticket sales and ultimately what was viewed as a disappointing failure. Where did Lee go wrong? He made a film more in line with what he had done before and has done since (and I can’t fault him for sticking to his vision), but (and I kind of hate to say it) fans wanted Transformers.
With a character like The Incredible Hulk, fans don’t want a quiet, character-driven drama; they want “HULK SMASH!” followed by a green behemoth smashing anything and everything in his way. They want Transformers, but with the Hulk instead of giant robots. I will say that TIH (I’m beginning the review now) delivers precisely what fans want to see (if my assessment is correct). TIH, intended more as a reboot than a straight sequel, is about as far from Lee’s vision as it could get, and for that reason it will most likely be a lesser movie, but a better moneymaker. I’m going to start by looking at what works well in this script. I love a great opening to a film, and TIH definitely starts strong, to wit:
We’re met with a black screen and the sound of strong, howling wind. We then see the exterior of a squat old ship, the miles it’s traveled etched in its hull, churning down a narrow lane of open water flanked on either side by expansive polar shelves. Bruce Banner stands in its prow, gazing out at a stark white world, bone-chilling ice as far as the eye can see. He disembarks, turns his back on the ship and begins walking toward the distant horizon, apparently toward nothing, until he eventually comes to a place with mountains at his back and a glacial sea before him. We see he has a revolver in hand, a haunted look upon his face. Flash to a memory, a point of view shot of a woman lying unmoving on a debris-strewn floor, with flames dangerously close. But the image isn’t clear; it’s streaked, blurred and warped, accompanied by a shrieking, distorted sound. Just as quickly as it comes it is gone, and we return to Banner, a close-up of his face, anguish in his eyes. We look on from a short distance behind him, and as he thumbs back the hammer we see a dull, pulsating glow begin emanating from his skull, just below his cap. We see that it has a greenish radiance to it, more brilliant than the Aurora Borealis blazing in the sky overhead. We jump to a close-up of his eyes, squeezed shut, Banner straining for courage. But they fly open, the irises changing from their natural blue to a deep, glowing green.