Friday, November 15, 2013

Quick Cut Review - "Planet Hulk"


Directed by:  Sam Liu
Starring: Rick D. Wasserman, Lisa Ann Beley and Mark Hildreth
Rated: N/A   
Runtime: 1 hour 21 minutes  
Release Date: February 2, 2010


After last year's smash blockbuster hit The Avengers came and went, there was a huge clamoring from fans for another stand alone film featuring the big green guy, The Hulk. With two films already dedicated to Hulk, the lame 2003 film starring Eric Bana and the significantly better 2008 film starring Edward Norton, chances were slim we would see him again until the next Avengers came around. But fear not loyal Hulk fans, for Marvel has released another Hulk-centric film for us to once again get our Hulk on, although not in the form you might be expecting.

Yes, Hulk's latest adventure comes courtesy of Marvel's direct-to-video animated feature line-up of films, this one entitled Planet Hulk. Now, the core idea behind PH is a pretty solid one. The one thing that has always kept the solo Hulk films from reaching their full potential (yes, even the good one) is that Hulk never felt free to just let loose, which is why after his brief appearance in the Avengers his legion of fans grew exponentially. Hulk is at his best when he angry because we love it when he smashes stuff, it's as simple as that.


The premise of PH is that Hulk has been banished from Earth because his rage had become too much of a liability. Hurtling towards a distant planet via a space ship where he is just awakening from his slumber, Hulk breaks loose after a rather grim message from Iron Man plays explaining the situation and begins to smash the ship which redirects him towards a wormhole which lands him on a planet inhabited by a ruthless leader who enslaves Hulk and forces him to fight in gladiatorial battles to the death. 

OK, first the good points. If you love to watch Hulk destroy anything from small scale soldiers, giant rock golems, guys in robot armor, gigantic lava space squids and consistently make the bad guy's smiles turn to frowns every time he kills their latest pets, then PH will scratch that itch. Also, seeing Hulk in an environment where he can freely hand out beat downs with little to no consequence is a breath of fresh air from the paranoia surrounding his character in the Marvel movies. There is no denying the visceral thrill from watching Hulk beat the crap out of his adversaries leaving their bloodied and broken bodies in a fist shaped crater. Also, the animation is quite good, not the best, but good enough that you won't get distracted by it.


Now for the bad points. While the idea behind the film is awesome (Hulk being banished from Earth) it is sad that we never get to see how and why this decision was made. Furthermore, Hulk's time on this alien planet isn't all that captivating. Watching him perform in these gladiator battles are fun in a really mindless way, but whenever people start talking and trying to create a backstory, it is borderline yawn inducing. Lastly, and this is just an odd quirk, but having Hulk talk so much and act semi-intelligent WHILE in Hulk form is sort of...weird and very un-Hulk-like. Once again, its not poorly done or bad, it just takes some getting used to.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

If you are craving more Hulk action, Planet Hulk has got your number. It's not the best film he has ever been featured in (probably slightly better than the 2003 film and a little worse than the 2008 film), but beggars can't be choosers, so we take what we can get. At least we get some more than adequate Hulk action and some high production quality animation to go along with it. Although, don't be surprised that once its over you reach for your Avengers disc to see some real Hulk action.

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