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Entry updated 19 January 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (2003). Universal Pictures in association with Marvel Enterprises presents a Valhalla Motion Pictures/Good Machine production. Directed by Ang Lee. Written by John Turman and Michael France and James Schamus; story by Schamus, based on the Marvel Comic by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Don Heck. Cast includes Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas and Nick Nolte. 132 minutes. Colour.

On being exposed to a combination of gamma radiation and inhalable "nanomeds" (see Nanotechnology), research scientist Bruce Krenzler (Bana) discovers in San Francisco (see California) that he is the son of fugitive Genetic Engineer and wife-killer David Banner (Nolte), from whose self-experimentation he has inherited an additional trigger factor that turns him into a giant green monster when angered. Caught between military interests that seek to weaponize his discovery and his father's infiltration of his lab to complete his research, he confronts both in turn before fleeing off-grid to the Amazonian rainforest.

Awards-bait darling Lee was an unusual choice for this heavily palimpsested big-screen version of the Marvel Comics icon, whose years of development under a long succession of writers converged in a messy and overdetermined script incorporating a kedgeree of ideas from previous versions, into which Lee's writer Schamus inserted the additional element of Bruce's father (who mutates at the climax into a second Hulk for a climactic Oedipal father-son combat, an idea also deployed in uncredited Hulk writer David Hayter's rejected version of Iron Man). The two strands do not cohere at all well causally, tonally, or thematically, and the digitally created Hulk is often surprisingly unimpressive, but the more conventional helicopter-swatting set pieces are exhilaratingly staged. The Incredible Hulk (2008) continues the story, but reverts the continuity to its pre-Schamus version, eliminating the David Banner character; this would be the version followed in subsequent films including The Avengers. The novelization is Hulk (2003) by Peter David. [NL]


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