Friday June 13th sees the return of The Incredible Hulk to the big screen. While I do remember the television series that ran on CBS from 1978-1981, I found the original 2003 big screen adaptation to be lacking in some areas while being way too overblown in others. As a youngster, I fondly remember Dr. Banner becoming enraged and transforming into the green giant who was not always so jolly. He would smash buildings, overturn cars, hurl bad guys around like dolls.
As I grew older and saw reruns that pop up from time to time (this week a marathon of episodes is running on the SciFi Channel), I noticed from the first episode a somewhat Jekyll/Hyde saga. Following the death of his wife in a horrible automobile accident, Dr. David Banner (Bill Bixby) began experimenting with gamma radiation in an attempt to unlock the hidden strength that lies within everyone. Dr. Banner accidentally is exposed to lethal amounts of radiation. In times of rage, Banner transforms into a 7′ behemoth who is capable of flipping cars, smashing holes in walls, uprooting trees, etc. As many would suspect, the monster is seriously misunderstood as he is more of a hero than an evil monster. After his tantrums are over, the Hulk (Lou Ferrigno) changes back into the mild-mannered scientist who is endlessly seeking a cure for the transformation. Complicating matters is Mr. McGee, an investigative reporter who pursues Banner. The end of each episode features Dr. Banner either hitching a ride or hopping a bus to travel from city to city. So, I guess we can call it a Jekyll/Hyde meets the Fugitive. Following the series cancellation, there were three reunion made-for-tv movies (The Return of, The Trial of, and The Death of the Incredible Hulk).
Now, the problem I had with the big screen movie was the fact that the producers wanted to do too much. Overblowing everything with the magic of CGI and forsaking anything resembling a plot. I remember the big promotion during Super Bowl XXXVIII and the first theatrical trailer showing The Hulk. If I remember correctly, reaction the next day was horrible and only could get better, right? WRONG!!!! I was never a huge fan of the comics…. indeed my main background with the character was from the series. I hated the look of the creature; it was abundantly clear that he was indeed an overblown computer generated image.
From what I gather from previews for The Incredible Hulk, the character battles a creation known as The Abomination who is every bit as big and powerful as the green one. I’m kind of torn on this one. Will it be as unmemorable as the original movie or will it redeem the series?
Incredible Hulk tickets on sale now!
The Incredible Hulk – The Television Series Ultimate Collection