Scott Hardie | June 22, 2003
It seems like "Hulk" is the most controversial superhero movie since "Unbreakable," which was a similar attempt to bring art and intellectualism to superheroes, an idea that people seem to loathe. Is there something wrong with caring how our characters feel, or having some conflict that is expressed by talking instead of fighting? As long as the superhero elements are still present, and the movie still has a sense of fun, I fail to see how the cerebral elements could detract.

Now for some Hulk-specific comments (and spoilers follow, so beware if you care):

In the group with which I saw it, opinions on the split-screen varied wildly. I always found split-screen kind of silly, but that's because it's usually a gimmick. Here it serves a purpose, to make us feel like we're reading a comic book, and in that respect it's very well done. We can almost see the "POW!" and "BOOM!" sound effects.

My biggest complaint about the film is the darkness. The first action scene, where Hulk first appears and destroys the lab, I could see setting in darkness. It conceals the character, who the audience should only glimpse at first. But the fight with the dogs, and the lake battle at the end of the film, both could have been set during daylight with no effect to the film. I couldn't see what the hell was going on! The lake battle was especially poorly-done anyway, so maybe it still wouldn't have made sense in daylight, but the dogfight should have been our first real carthartic action scene, and whoever chose to set it at night made a big mistake. Some people say that they set so much of the action at night to conceal the poor CGI, but I doubt it; there is the long battle in the desert where we get several good long looks at Hulk, and even if many people don't consider the CGI to be very good, Ang Lee and ILM must have.

Speaking of the CGI, this is probably the most contentious issue about the film for audience members, many of whom say Hulk looked fake. It won't be long now until CGI looks truly photo-real, but seriously, how else would they have done it? Costumes only allow for man-sized figures, and puppets don't have the freedom of movement that Hulk demonstrated when running and leaping across the Mojave. And the CGI in this film looked considerably more real than in some other films, such as "Die Another Day." People who said the Hulk CGI looked fake: How would you have improved on it?

The last thing I wanted to mention was disappointment in the Absorbing Man subplot. I give big props to the trailers and advertising, which I thought had ruined the movie for me, but had carefully concealed this easily spoilable part of the film. Unfortunately, the subplot itself seemed tacked on, and after Hulk and Absorbing Man fought for what, eight seconds, I thought, That's IT? Absorbing Man is the only Hulk villain I ever liked, so I was disappointed to see him wasted like that. He could have provided several cool battles by himself, enough foundation to provide for an entire movie. What a waste.

Jackie Mason | June 26, 2003
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Scott Hardie | June 27, 2003
He is indeed big in the comics (as seen here and here), but to my knowledge it's an invention of the movie that he actually grows bigger as get gets more angry, which is cool to see happen.

I'm glad you like comic book movies; it's gratifying to read that as a fan. :-) There have been plenty of stinkers though, from the Superman sequels to the Crow sequels to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, and many more. I'm one of the few people who thought the original Blade was pretty bad, I guess.

As for the pants, they've been the subject of much debate. I read that ILM tried to animate Hulk naked and hiding his genitalia behind objects, but it quickly became like Austin Powers. They decided to just stick with the pants. One shot clearly shows Dr. Banner's preference for loose fit. Maybe MC Hammer's pants could make a cameo in the sequel?

Anna Gregoline | June 28, 2003
My brother-in-law was mad about the previews for it because the physics were all off - i.e. the hulk swinging an oil tanker over his head?

Scott Hardie | June 28, 2003
The best critic quote I've read so far on this is from Scott Weinberg at eFilmCritic.com:

"Hulk, quite simply, smash."

Lori Lancaster | June 23, 2003
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Denise Sawicki | June 23, 2003
Well I want to know how a person is supposed to know whether a particular mp3 is legal or not. Plenty of bands post mp3s of some of their songs on their own websites or allow them to be posted on other websites. So when I see an mp3 I'm interested in hearing, how am I supposed to know whether it's legal or not? I, too, like to have mp3s so that I know whether I like the music by a particular artist or not. I'm unlikely to want to buy any CDs by an artist for whom I can't find any decent sound samples.

Erik Bates | June 24, 2003
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Jackie Mason | June 24, 2003
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Scott Hardie | June 25, 2003
While I'm definitely of the belief that downloading MP3s constitutes illegal theft, writing a bill that permits (and almost encourages) destroying the hard drives of the thieves is just wrong and vindictive, isn't it? That's overkill, and it would be challenged in the courts almost immediately if it did become law.

We obviously have the technology to trace who downloads which MP3s. But we don't have the funds or man-hours to arrest and prosecute every thief, right? The solution is simple: Do what Jackie just mentioned now happens to the assholes who run red lights in Chicago. Anyone who downloads an MP3, we track who they are, and we send them a fine in the mail. It could all be done by computer. Court costs would only be necessary for those small few who contested it. Would this lead to more thefts in public places like libraries? Sure, but they can police themselves, and before long it would become more inconvenient to steal the songs from another computer than just to buy the damn CD.

I'm bothered in particular by three claims made by music pirates, and I hope I'm not alone on this. One is that what they do isn't stealing, it's "sampling" or some other bullshit. This is an obvious lie; you have no legal right to possess a copy of the music for which you paid nothing unless you acquired it from a source licensed to give it away, such as a radio station. If you're going to go on stealing, fine, just admit what it is! Also, they often try to justify it by pointing out how greedy the music industry is; record executives rob musicians blind every day. Sure that's true, and the execs who do this are scum, but if you believe that claim, then you need to buy a law textbook, and a logic textbook while you're at it. The last claim is more of a delusion I guess, the belief that downloading MP3s helps the music industry. Maybe it helps it a little, but it's got to hurt it a lot more. Not to pick on you Jackie, but right before you wrote that downloading MP3s could help the industry, you admitting to saving thousands of dollars by downloading MP3s instead of buying the music legitimately. How could that help them more than hurt them?

Jackie Mason | June 25, 2003
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Scott Hardie | June 26, 2003
You're right, sorry about that. I need to lighten up.

Scott Hardie | June 28, 2003
Sorry if I killed this topic by being so heavy-handed. I think it's an interesting subject. Does anyone else have more to say?

Anna Gregoline | June 28, 2003
I admit it - I'm a thief. I do it daily. I have no excuses.I rarely bought CDs before the internet anyway, and half the time I was disappointed anyway. I used to tape songs off the radio, waiting hours for that certain one to come on so I could copy it (I was nuts during end of year countdowns). I got it where I could get it free then, and I get it where I can get it free now. Two things: people don't feel bad stealing music because it's an ethereal thing - you can't actually hold a song in your hand, and you hear it on different mediums and in different forms all the time (the album version, the radio version, the live song, the video, the remix) so it's hard to believe that the CD is the only way it exists. The other point I want to make is that music is very important and often a central part of people's identity and sense of self. Generally, I think most people deep down believe that music should always be free, and therefore they want to justify their stealing of the music they love so dearly somehow.After all that, I'd also like to say that when I do really RESPECT an artist and like the music, I will buy the CD. I want them to receive money for their fruitful efforts. However, I'll continue to download hip hop trash and the like for free and not feel a speck of guilt. It's easier than the radio, after all. =)

Scott Hardie | June 28, 2003
You mention that "it's hard to believe that the CD is the only way [the song] exists." I've been doing a lot of thinking about that recently, in another way.

I'm one of the people who just has to have something in its perfect form. That's how movie studios sucker me into upgrading to Special Editions of DVDs that I already happily own, because once the better edition is out, I feel like I have an inferior product. I won't watch movies on VHS, especially old ones, because the audio/visual is blurry and flawed. So naturally, that's one of the major reasons why I gave up on MP3s years ago, because I couldn't stand the tinny, high-treble sound to them, especially when the cymbals get crashed repeatedly.

So lately I've been listening to Metallica's new album, which has a prominent "tinny" sound to it, especially in the drums. They almost sound like Jamaican kettle drums. (If anyone's still going to sample this at a music store, listen to the first 40 seconds of track six for the effect.) And by the second listening I realized how much it sounds like MP3s, reproducing their distorted sound quality. But you know what? I sincerely don't mind a bit, since that's exactly the sound that Metallica intended (in fact I somehow like that sound), and I know this because I'm listening to the CD, the perfect form available of that music. I'll bet that the same sound would be driving me crazy if I heard it in an MP3 and knew there was better sound out there on the real product.

Just to clarify, I'm not trying to argue that everyone should think this way about music and sound quality. I'm just stating my genuine reaction as a listener, because I find the irony interesting.

Anna Gregoline | June 28, 2003
I can understand that, Scott. I think the lower quality doesn't bother me because to me, it's better than if I'd taped it off the radio, like I used to.


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