The Hulk's Last Fifteen Minutes

In conversation with Cameron last weekend, he and I talked about the Hulk movie. We basically agreed, as I had reviewed, that the movie was excellent up to the last fifteen minutes, and then it sort of fell apart.

At the time, I wasn't sure what had gone wrong. I wondered if it may have been due to the fact that the emotional climax scene had suddenly transformed from a confrontation between two fantastic actors, to a pure CGI animation sequence, but I think Cameron put his finger on the problem.

Up to that point of the movie, Bruce Banner's father is a really complex character. You are never sure if he is doing what he is doing out of obsession, anger, sorrow or shame. You're never sure if he wants to help his son realize his dreams, help his son cure himself, or kill him. This keeps David Banner's character dancing on the edge for most of the movie, and it is one of the film's strongest selling points.

Then the end comes, and David Banner loses it, bites into a high-tension electrical wire, and goes completely CGI. There ceases to be anymore moral ambiguity, all because of the simplest of reasons. It is, as Cameron says, the emotional equivalent of, at the end of a journey quest the likes of the Lord of the Rings, the author writing "and then the sky fell upon our heroes and they all died; The End."

The Hulk movie would have been one for the ages if they had fixed that small flaw.

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