30 07 2008
He’s hardly incredible–he’s . . .
. . . Edward Norton, a sympathetic hulk if ever there was one, especially when he seems to have watched KING KONG a little too much and to have lapsed into a really sweet sentimentality. This film has truly touching moments, which makes it all the more shocking when it skips into male-male brutality on a gargantuan level, since Tim Roth, foaming at the mouth, is also eager to have Gamma inside him and once he gets it things go over the edge. The rampage outside the Apollo Theater on 125th Street, Harlem (actually, Yonge Street, Toronto, right outside my office) is slickly edited and very fiery. William Hurt has just the right level of slightly sadistic uptightness as the noxious General, and as his lovely daughter, Liv Tyler brings the tenderness we want Norton to have. They can’t have sex, though, or he’ll go green. The film is therefore–for all its egregious pummeling and growling–oddly chaste. Some early sequences in a pop-bottling plant in Rio are strangely angular and enchanting, and the only real problem in watching this extravaganza is that flaming helicopters, flying missiles, crumbling vehicles, and high-intensity sound have become rather “done.”

I liked this film, for all its flaws, and would see it again. Norton is an unheralded master of his craft, and the beautiful irony is that when he swells up and starts howling–his pants always torn in just the right places!–we actually miss him. For HULK addicts, a brief cameo by Lou Ferrigno (live) and Bill Bixby (on videotape), and a self-referential turn by Stan Lee (who dreamed up all this).




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