The Hulk



The Hulk lacks personality; not a great movie.
  • Review Date: October 26, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 138 minutes

What parents need to know


A great deal of comic-book-style "action violence," meaning that there is a lot of destruction, but it is not very graphic. Intense action and peril.


Brief non-sexual nudity.




Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has a great deal of comic-book-style "action violence," meaning that there's a lot of destruction, but it's not very graphic. Some viewers may be upset by the tragic family events in the story.

What's the story?

In THE HULK, Eric Bana plays Bruce Banner, a scientist who has repressed memories of childhood trauma and as a result represses his emotions as well. He cares for fellow PhD Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly) but is unable to let her get close to him. When he is exposed to gamma rays in a lab accident, it triggers a genetic mutation that was the result of his father's experiments. When all that repressed anger is released, he becomes the physical embodiment of rage: an enormous green guy known as the Hulk. After the Hulk saves Betty's life, he winds up being held captive at an Army base, where Major Talbot tries to obtain the Hulk's superpowers in order to make a profit.

Is it any good?


Director Ang Lee creates images of great grace, elegance, and dignity, but he tries to make the inner conflicts the focus of the story and so this movie doesn't work. It's also way too long. The decision to make the Hulk character computer-animated was a mistake. The Hulk doesn't speak (except for one sentence), so he never comes to life. And his interaction with the physical world isn't believable. He's supposed to be extremely heavy, but when he jumps, he lands like a grasshopper. We never really care about him or root for him, and his fights, while impressively staged, aren't compelling. He doesn't fight bad guys; he fights the Army, which is trying to stop him from destroying everything around him. He's more like King Kong than Spider-Man.

Jennifer Connelly looks lovely, but basically carries over her Beautiful Mind role, except this time instead of being in love with a brilliant crazy guy she's in love with a brilliant green crazy guy. Nick Nolte, looking worse than his mug shot, overdoes the mad scientist bit as Bruce Banner's father. His character is supposed to add dark, Oedipal themes of destiny and consequences, but his appearances frequently sparked laughter from the audience.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of comic book characters, especially the Hulk, the tangible representation of repressed anger.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 20, 2003
DVD release date:October 28, 2003
Cast:Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte
Director:Ang Lee
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:138 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sci-fi action violence, some disturbing images and brief partial nudity

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bylizperle April 9, 2008

Not your typical mindless movie

I went with two boys -- 9 and 10 and a pair of young teenaged girls. There were some slow moments as the characters discussed the ins and outs of repressed dreams (yawn for a preadolescent boy...) but as a parent, it wasn't painful. There's lots of suspense -- the two thirteen year old girls squealed a few times and not just because the Hulk looked like Shrek on steroids. (Mike Meyer where are you when we need you?) But Ang Lee directs intelligently and uses split screens reminiscent of comic books. All in all it was much smarter than I thought it would be and while none of my children walked out enlightened in any way, they were thoroughly entertained without blood, language or anyone taking off their clothes. (Oh yeah, there was a naked butt (you think the hulk shrinks back to Bruce Banner with his pants in tact?)
Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion May 25, 2009

A Waste of Time...Trust Me!

THE HULK is just a bad movie. No two ways about it. Not even talented actors like Sam Elliot or Jennifer Connelley can save this boring, repetitive waste. It's not the most inapropriate film you've seen, but I wouldn't recommend it for your kids, simply because it's a bad movie. The Hulk often goes on destructive rampages, crushing things and people alike. However, the only graphic violence in the movie comes when characters perform experiments on animals. A jellyfish is stabbed with a surgical knife, a starfish has its insides cut out, and a flog blows up in a momentary explosion of blood. Several scenes and one character will be frightening for kids. There is no sex or references, but one scene where Bruce/Hulk is seen naked while walking towards a car. While is front is always blurred when seen from that angle, all else is exposed to the camera. Language is some "d**n"s and "a*s"s.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Kid, 10 years old July 17, 2013

Dull, boring, action-less superhero movie from director Ang Lee

Some action, not that much. Too much talk.


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