Wednesday, September 22, 2004


The Hulk: This one went a little too far off the true-to-source reservation. And it's a delicate thing, adapting a comic book to the screen--you don't want to mess with it too much. Spider-Man did just enough messing-about, making his origin more contemporary (due to genetic manipulation and not radioactivity) and condensing his powers (sticking the webs into his arms and not making him a genius chemist who becomes a photographer.) X-Men did hardly any messing about and the X-Men movies really rule. But Hulk--they really blew up the father-son aspect of the Hulk, which was always pretty minimal in the comics (or at least it was when I was a Hulk fan. God knows I haven't plowed through every issue Peter David ever wrote.) The Hulk was supposed to transcend simple Freudianism and be something more primal; the green-skinned guy really was the beast within.

In the movie they throw a sop to the comics fans by having him say "Puny human" to Banner in Banner's dream but that just gives the game away, that Ang Lee couldn't find enough in the Hulk story to let it just be as intended. And there's no Leader and no Abomination and they made Nick Nolte both Banner's father and the Absorbing Man. So your Ang Lee's Hulk is Hulk vs. the Absorbing Man if the Absorbing Man was his dad. This sort of free 'n' easy mixing up of the source material just leads to a less consequential movie.

American Splendor: I knew every line of this movie (at least the staged parts) before seeing it, due to me being a Pekar geek. I need more digestion with this one. And viewing when I don't just have it on in the background.

Shaolin Soccer: Now THIS freaking ruled. Down and out Shaolin monks band together to form a soccer team and win the Chinese national cup. The final match was the greatest thing ever. They stuck in a bunch of special effects but it looked really good; it actually looked like some of the over-the-top Chinese comics (anyone remember Jademan Comics? Force of Buddha's Palm? Other less memorable titles?) with guys shooting balls of lightning and jumping thirty feet in the air and everything. I guess technology is getting to the point where all kinds of things can happen to the big screen that could previously only be imagined in a comic book, and that includes the Chinese big screen as well.

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