Thursday, February 4, 2010


I have to admit it's been awhile since I've read comics directly. I have up with major events through reading of certain graphic novels and talking with friends. One of the more amazing series in the Marvel Universe was the Planet Hulk saga. And now the writer of that saga, Greg Pak, brings you the animated version.

While the movie is fairly faithful to it's comics origin, there are some departures. It doesn't cover the entirety of the events of the Planet Hulk saga, choosing instead to drop the viewer into the action giving more immediacy to the start of the film. It also stops short of the ending of the saga which would lead the viewer to assume the creation of the follow up to Planet Hulk in the comics, World War Hulk. Another departure is that the Silver Surfer's appearance is taken over by Beta Ray Bill. These departures, and others not listed, don't hurt the animated film. Instead they give it a tighter, more complete presentation. If they never present World War Hulk in animation, Planet Hulk will still stand stong as a complete stand alone story.

The story line reminded me a great deal of two of my favorite movies, Chronicles of Riddick and Gladiator. Blending the characterization of Riddick with the events of Gladiator, essentially removing the weaknesses of both those films. Planet Hulk presents the idea of a monster is only a monster if it chooses to be one in a much more subtle way than Riddick ever did and the intense action and terseness of the Hulk kills the over sentimentality that weakened Gladiator.

As always, it's cathartic to see Hulk in animation. Seeing him live out the raw destruction and fury society would never let us enjoy will forever be fantastic to see. Some of my favorite moments in this feature are the "Woah!" reactions from the other characters seeing Hulk's power for the first time. Although I do have to say, my favorite part of the Hulk story is the tragedy of Bruce Banner's life and it was sad to not see Bruce in this at all. In lieu of Banner's emotional grounding, Planet Hulk provides Caiera, who through the events of the film presents a new, and powerful tragic story that helps connect the viewer to her world, the planet Sakaar.

The one drawback for me was the animation itself, specifically of Hulk. After watching Hulk Vs, and seeing how well Hulk was drawn in Vs. Thor, I was expecting a better drawing style for him. In Vs. Thor, it looked like they drew more frames to smooth out the animation, whereas in Planet Hulk they were going for more efficient animation. It's not a major drawback at all and didn't detract from my enjoyment of the film.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. As one of the first feature-length animated movies dealing exclusively with the Hulk, it is a fantastic effort. The voice acting was awesome, the writing was engaging, and I'm growing to enjoy the Marvel animated movie releases a great deal more. If you're in the mood for some good action and a strong story, I recommend Planet Hulk.

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