Not so jolly green giant

ANGER MANAGEMENT: Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) sees green.  

The Hulk (ENGLISH)

Cast: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte

Dir: Ang Lee

A FERVENT plea from a film buff this year would be "Lord protect me from angst-ridden comic book super heroes." Comics are supposed to be fun - luridly coloured flat, two-dimensional characters leaping hither and thither in spandex with super powers which they get by some kind of kooky science stuff.

They are not supposed to be Hamlet or Oedipus - we could always read Shakespeare or Socrates for our daily dose of high literature. Ang Lee, best known for his lyrical Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and the acutely observed Ice Storm has decided to give Marvel Comics' Incredible Hulk a tragic hero persona complete with hubris (fatal flaw) that leaves us giggling - blame it on the 360 kg animated green gorilla that is supposed to be the Hulk.

Bruce Banner is a mild-mannered, brilliant researcher who is working with ex-girlfriend Betty Ross on some cutting edge stuff, which involves exploding frogs - the film's stand on animal testing is ambiguous and troublesome. An experiment goes wrong and Bruce does the rescue act. Unfortunately those gamma rays have unleashed something that makes Bruce morph from colourless Eric Bana to the aforementioned 360 kg animated green gorilla whenever he gets angry. Bruce' father shows up as shaggy haired Nick Nolte with three dogs and Betty's father who was responsible for putting away Bruce's father is back to put away the son. The story is really tedious and there is not one line of humour.

The narrative is hardly smooth and the flashback within flashback with all characters mumbling important bits of dialogue does not help either. The acting is either non-existent or over the top. Connelly seems to be taking over from Demi Moore as Ms Weepy Eyes.

The film is too long and takes forever to show the superhero and once the superhero is unveiled, it rapidly becomes repetitive. The split screens to convey comic book panels and the bright colours are the sole redeeming features of this turgid self-important exercise.

You would do better to watch Ice Storm on telly - it is fun to see actors who have made super big now like Tobey McGuire (Spiderman) Christina Ricci (Sleepy Hollow) and Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings) just finding their acting feet in this brilliantly written and acted film of wasted lives in the Seventies suburbia.