In 2003 Ang Lee directed a movie called simply “Hulk”. It stared Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly and was considered by many to be too arty. Personally, I liked it a lot when it came out. I think Ang Lee is an incredible director and I thought it worked well. Audiences seemed to disagree though. In 2008 “The Incredible Hulk” came out with Edward Norton and Liv Tyler.
So what the hell happened in five years? Did Marvel really just hate the Ang Lee version so much that they would just remake it completely in half a decade? I’ll admit if they are planning to do an Avengers thing the new version ties things a lot better. But which do I prefer? That is a hard question.
The cast choice for the original one is a lot better in my opinion. Eric Bana is an awesome actor who actually sells having a beast inside him. I think the supporting cast is what does it MORE for me though. Sam Elliot as General Ross is a GREAT CHOICE. That hard as nails voice with his tough guy stare really makes you believe in what a hard ass he is. Meanwhile you got the sleazy Josh Lucas playing Talbot and Nick Nolte as the burnt out scientist that plays as the villain.
It all comes together really well. So why is it so disliked? It’s not as if there aren’t movies that aren’t way bigger disappointments. Take “Daredevil” and “Elektra” and you’ll find Marvel has made trash many times. The new movie I felt had the better story. It felt like there was more threat at stake and Tim Roth is a helluva villain. I don’t mind Edward Norton and Liv Tyler. They do decent. But the thing that really is glaring to me is casting William Hurt as the new General Ross. That man is the most boring man alive and I do not believe for an instant he could achieve the rank buck private much less general. He lacks any of the gravitas that Elliot has.
So that is why it’s kind of a push with those movies. They are both good for their own merits but both are better than the other at different aspects. I guess if I had to choose one over the other I’d go with the new probably. It was pretty fun despite some of the casting choices. Now the next subject is the “The Punisher” I really don’t think I should talk that much about it since I haven’t seen all the versions out there. I know there is a 1989 version with Dolph Lundgren, a 2004 one, which I have seen, and actually enjoyed, and a 2008 version which looked just awful.
Why did I not see the new version of that movie? Well besides it having nobody I cared for in it they tossed in Jigsaw as the villain, a guy with a face all cut to ribbons so he looked like a Joker rip off with the Glasgow grin. It was really weak move and the box office seemed to agree. The Fantastic Four movie was such a titanic piece of shit I wish they would redo that. Instead you often hear about the Roger Corman version that never saw the light of day. Sometimes you can find bootlegs of it and the parts you can find are hilarious. I remember seeing previews for in on coming attractions on a rented VHS once.
The movie looked very bad. I mean this director did direct “It Conquered the World” a movie about a carrot alien taking over a small town. In general, that group has suffered nothing but indignity with crappy movie after crappy movie. But the point I am trying to make here is how bizarre it is to remake movies only 4-5 years apart. That is strange.
Any fan of comics is familiar with the term retcon. For those of you who don’t know its short for retroactive continuity and it’s when they basically wave their magic wand over something and say. “Remember when this happened? Well, it didn’t. Now this happened instead.” Movies do it too sometimes but it is less prevalent since it is confusing as hell and works best as a soap opera plot device. It chaps my ass that some studios are so devoid of ideas that instead of taking many of the countless other items out there we have to have remakes of crap we’ve seen.