Hulk appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though mostly solid, the image had some ups and downs.
For the most part, sharpness looked fine. Occasional shots seemed a little soft, but those occurred infrequently. The majority of the movie was reasonably distinctive and accurate. No issues with shimmering or jaggies occurred, but I saw some light edge haloes. Digital noise reduction appeared to affect interiors, and those ended up with actors who had clay-like complexions. Only a couple of small specks popped up; this was usually a clean presentation.
Given the story’s focus, it came as no surprise that the film featured a light greenish tint much of the time. Colors were consistently solid within those choices. Blacks were firm and dark, and shadows seemed decent; they occasionally looked a little dense but they usually filled out the image fine. This was a generally positive image but not one that came without concerns.
Due to the nature of the title character, I expected a lot of bass from the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Hulk, and that’s what I got. Low-end dominated the show, especially when the Hulk was on-screen. He roared, he stomped, he crushed, and he smashed. Along with that, the track cranked into high gear and pumped out a lot of loud but tight bass.
The soundfield followed this trend with a good sense of setting. The action scenes brought matters into high gear with elements that popped up all around the spectrum. They moved cleanly and mixed together well. The track offered a visceral experience that suited the film.
Audio quality was solid. I already reflected on bass response, and effects were always clean and accurate. Music was bright and lively, while speech sounded natural and concise. This was a strong mix.
How does this Blu-ray compare with the original DVD from 2003? The lossless audio boasted more kick, while the visuals were tighter, cleaner and more dynamic. While the Blu-ray came with some visual issues, it nonetheless offered an obvious improvement over the lackluster DVD.
Most of the DVD’s extras repeat, and we begin with an audio commentary from director Ang Lee. He offers a running, screen-specific discussion. Though Lee occasionally throws out decent notes, he lacks enough information to cover 138 minutes of movie.
Lee chats about the film’s visual and editing styles, the cast, effects, sets and locations, and themes. However, mostly he talks about nothing. Dead air abounds here, as do remarks about what he likes in the flick. Very few actual insights appear, and this turns into a dull commentary.
A staple of Universal Blu-rays, U-Control gives us a picture-in-picture feature. It mixes footage from the set with interview segments. We hear from Lee, producers Larry Franco and Gale Ann Hurd, writer/producer James Schamus, animation director Colin Brady, visual effects producer Janet Lewin, motion capture supervisor Seth Rosenthal, sequence animation supervisor Glen McIntosh, and actors Jennifer Connelly, Eric Bana, Josh Lucas, Nick Nolte and Sam Elliott.
The segments cover cast and performances, story/characters, Lee’s approach to the film, effects and stunts, and related areas. The info here doesn’t tell us a ton, but the shots from the set prove to be useful. Though the clips show up somewhat infrequently, they add some decent material.
Six Deleted Scenes run a total of five minutes, 51 seconds. One extends the presentation about nanomeds, while another expands on the Bruce/Betty relationship a little. Neither seems too compelling. Three others are just quick bits of not much – like another with Lou Ferrigno – but one with a teen Bruce is actually interesting.
Evolution of the Hulk runs 16 minutes, 17 seconds as it provides notes from Arad, Stan Lee, Hurd, Schamus, Ang Lee, and science advisor John Underkoffler. “Evolution” tells us a little about the history of Marvel Comics as well as the origins and development of the Hulk up through 2003 and the movie. At its start, the show takes a decent look at the comics, but when it veers off toward TV and films, it loses its way. It ends up more like a promotional piece than any informative.
We look at the director via The Incredible Ang Lee. The 14-minute and 28-second show features Ang Lee, Schamus, Connelly, Bana, Hurd, Nolte, Lucas, composer Danny Elfman, animation director Colin Brady, motion capture supervisor Seth Rosenthal, visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren, visual effects producer Tom Peitzman, sound designer Gary Rydstrom and sound designer Eugene Gearty. “Incredible” views Lee’s take on the material and his work during the production. A lot of the comments tend toward praise for Lee, but some decent details about Lee’s methods emerge. We see more of him in that mo-cap suit, and we find out how he interacted with various parties.
For the 10-minute, nine-second The Dog Fight Scene, we hear from Muren, Ang Lee, Rosenthal, Connelly, Brady, visual effects producer Janet Lewin, producer Larry Franco, lead and ground supervisor Anthony Shafer and sequence animation supervisor Glen McIntosh. They cover all the elements that went into the battle between the Hulk and the mutated pooches. We learn a lot about the various effects as well as acting challenges in this tight, interesting piece.
Next comes The Unique Style of Editing Hulk. In this five-minute, 34-second piece, we get remarks from Ang Lee, editor Tim Squyres, and ILM compositor Mark Casey. They go over the influence of the comic book format on the flick’s use of panels and split-screens. The show doesn’t dig into its topic in-depth, but it provides a satisfactory glimpse of the editing methods.
Finally, The Making of Hulk goes for 23 minutes, 43 seconds. It provides statements from Ang Lee, Hurd, Connelly, Franco, Bana, Schamus, Croughwell, Lucas, Muren, Lewin, Brady, Elfman, special effects supervisor Michael Lantieri, lead creature developer Aaron Ferguson, CG supervisors Christopher Townsend, Michael Di Como and Gerald Gutschmidt, guitarist Slash, vocalist Scott Weiland, and visual effects art director Wilson Tang. A glimpse of its chapter listings tells you what subjects it covers: cast and crew, stunts and physical effects, ILM’s visual effects, and music. “Cast and Crew” offers little more than “everyone’s so great!” fluff, but the others prove more satisfying. Skip the first chapter and you’ll find a lot of enjoyable information here.
Too bad I can’t make the same claim about Hulk itself. Each time I watch this movie, I hope I’ll finally like it, but that day has yet to arrive. It rarely engages and too often bores. The Blu-ray comes with erratic but mostly good picture, terrific audio and a decent set of bonus materials. This becomes a generally positive release for a disappointing film.
To rate this film, visit the original review of HULK