A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: June 20, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: October 28, 2003
- Cast: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte
- Director: Ang Lee
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- 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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