The Incredible Hulk (Universal, 2008) D: Louis Leterrier, w/ Edward Norton, Liv Tyler. Rating: NNNN; DVD package: NNN
The Hulk's real tragedy is not that mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) turns huge, green and violent every time he gets excited, which keeps him apart from the woman he loves (Liv Tyler). Nor is it that he's relentlessly pursued by military maniac General Ross (William Hurt). No, the real heartbreak is that he's trapped in an ongoing series, forever denied the ecstatic climax that makes both King Kong and Frankenstein (his close relatives) enduring classics that leave not a dry eye in the house.
A pity, because The Hulk is a classic in every other way. Louis Leterrier's unobtrusively fluid camera and cutting fuse acting, story and imaginative set-pieces into a seamless whole that feels far shorter than its 114 minutes. Not even the countless Marvel Comics in-jokes interrupt the flow.
Everybody makes the most of their big moments, particularly Tim Roth as Ross's attack-dog minion. And the emotional moments work as well as the spectacle.
The single-disc edition I screened carries some deleted scenes and a jokey, informative commentary by Leterrier and Roth. The real goodies are on the two-disc edition: seven making-of docs and a look at the comic.
EXTRAS Leterrier and Roth commentary, deleted scenes. Widescreen. English, French, Spanish audio and subtitles.