24.Oct.2008 [DVD REVIEW] “The Incredible Hulk”

Marvel Studios second big DVD of the year—”The Incredible Hulk”—is definitely a big piece of multimedia worthy of Green Genes legacy, but much like it’s theater outing, it doesn’t quite match up to “Iron Man.”

Where “Iron Man” boasted special features that looked as though they’d received as much love and consideration as the feature presentation, “Hulk’s” special fair feels tagged on and falls short in comparison. Be it the half-length “Making of…” feature (30 minutes as compared to “Iron Man’s” hour) or the lack of an extensive character history in the comics feature with numerous creator interviews (Instead of “Iron Man’s” compelling hour-long look at the history of Iron Man comics, it only features an animatic of a scene from eph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Hulk: Gray), “Hulk” isn’t bad, but just isn’t as good.

What “Hulk’s” DVD does deliver is a plethora of deleted scenes that give fans insight into the Edward Norton/Marvel Studios feud and rumors that surrounded the film’s release. With a brief alternate opening and about 40 minutes of footage that wasn’t seen on the big screen, fans can get a look at Edward Norton’s vision of “Hulk.” Disappointingly, every deleted scene is used for character exploration and none feature any Hulking out (which does make sense, considering effects budgets…but still!). While a few offer fun backstory (Banner’s time spent in Tibet and subtle references to Captain America), the main insight taken away from viewing these scenes is that Marvel Studios made an extremely smart move by removing 40 minutes of non-Hulk footage from the feature. These additional scenes definitely display Ed Norton’s complete understanding of the character and comic, but would have made for a very long and boring film even with all the theatrical release’s amazing Hulk-outs!

The featurettes in this special edition are great, especially seeing how Edward Norton and Tim Roth brought their CG counterparts to life, but the lackluster “Making of…” featurette really made me wish director Louis Letterier or Norton had taken a more vested interest in it like Jon Favreau did on “Iron Man.” Favreau’s cooperation and great enthusiasm for capturing the production and process of the film on tape made for an amazing, hour-long documentary. “Hulk’s” main documentation of this is standard, 30 minute fair and an enjoyable watch, but after seeing what it could have been in “Iron Man,” it left me wanting.

Lastly, the billing of this special edition DVD as a three-disc set is a bit misleading. Sure, it technically has three discs, but one of them is just a digital copy of the film. So, for all intensive purposes it is a two-disc special edition featuring a digital copy. That, and the overly complex DVD menus that focus on looks instead of user-friendliness, are my only real gripes on the technical issues of the package.

Overall, “Incredible Hulk” was a great movie well worth owning on DVD, but it’s special features don’t make much more of a compelling argument to pick it up. There’s definitely plenty worth watching on this three-disc set’s second disc, but DVD enthusiasts will likely be let down by how much more could have been added to sweeten the pot on this special edition.

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