Telos Movie Classics: Hulk by Tony Lee. Book review

TMC1: HULK by Tony Lee, Telos Movies, p/b, £7.99, www.telos.co.uk

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did a great deal for the comic book industry from 1962 onwards with one comic book legend in particular – The Incredible Hulk. Unlike other comic heroes who knew and could control their alter-egos, Bruce Banner has no control over his when he transforms into the Hulk. He is not a hero in the conventional sense, but an anti-hero. Rather than writing solely about the characters from the comic series or delving into the TV series, The Incredible Hulk, where enigmatic and versatile actor Bill Bixby played the green-skinned rage monster, author Tony Lee concentrates on the 2003 movie version that starred Eric Bana as the Hulk, and Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross.

Tony goes into the details of the movie, interspersing it with anecdotes, actor’s quotes from the movie and how other popular movies and novels seems to be the basis for the Hulk’s history. It is certainly an interesting guide, and one of a series by Telos who like to inform readers about classic and sometimes overlooked movies.

For those who remember this version of the Hulk movie, it received as much bad criticism as it did acclaim, and it seemed obvious that the CGI was not up to the task of making the Hulk’s immense lumbering frame look realistic. With this in mind, it would have been better for Lee to have written a short, informative book on the second movie starring Edward Norton as Bruce/Hulk and Liv Tyler as Betty Ross as the acting was better and the CGI had vastly improved.

Alternatively, for those who liked the first movie, it is the perfect accompaniment to any person’s bookshelf. There are many references to mythology, and certain fairytales which have been an influence on the characters of Bruce Banner with Beauty and the Beast, King Kong, Jekyll and Hyde, and Frankenstein’s monster. In fact, the original look of the Hulk was based on it; the only real change later was to make the skin green instead of grey.

The book is separated with several chapters and has a bonus appendix guide where Lee talks of the rule of fours in the Hulk movie, some of the reviews the movie got at the time and Director Ang Lee’s other notable movies.