I’ve been reliably informed by the ubiquitous posters on double decker buses that the new movie based on Marvel Comics’ The Incredible Hulk will be hitting cinemas next week. Starring Ed Norton, Liv Tyler & Tim Roth – and helmed by the French action movie director Louis Leterrier – it promises to restart a potentially lucrative franchise for the comic publisher-turned-film studio and seems to be a far cry from Ang Lee’s adjectiveless offering from five years’ ago.
I must admit, when I first heard that a recast and rebooted Hulk film was in production my initial reaction was an imperceptible murmur in the vicinity of my who-gives-a-shit? gland. As a card carrying-fanboy with reasonably geekish tendencies, I normally track the development of films like this with the tenacious obsession of a seedy tabloid journalist on the trail of a missing gamma scientist. On this occasion, though, I decided to sit it out. Maybe it was because I instinctively felt that the number of comic-sourced films released this year had reached saturation point. I’ve reached an age where I need to pace my endorphin explosions: it would make more sense to save it up for something more serious, substantial and significantly bat-themed.
(Another possible reason is that I was one of the few critters in the world who thoroughly enjoyed Ang Lee’s Hulk. It was something of a flawed masterpiece and, like its protagonist, very much a monster misunderstood by man. Besides, you’ve got to respect it for having a guy called Bana plays a guy called Banner who says “Don’t make me angry” in a film directed by Ang Lee).
Whatever the case, the prospect of the director of (cough) The Transporter taking over from where the director of Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon left off didn’t exactly fill me with giggly anticipation.
Until now, that is.
It was Rol’s post on the subject last month that first lit the blue touch paper. On the subject of the film’s trailer he said:
Best thing of all? Those strings at the end. Just a few notes, but they went all the way through me. Bill Bixby lives.
Those “strings at the end” were none other than The Lonely Man Theme, the haunting piece of music that would play during the closing credits of classic Hulk TV series from the 70s. Like Rol, those few notes struck a chord and evoked all kinds of memories for me. Comic puritans may get sniffy about the Hulk TV series, but that show and Star Wars were what got me (and, I’m willing to bet, plenty of others) into comics in the first place. Yes, it may seem a bit cheesy by today’s standards seeing as we’re all supposed to be so damn sophisticated now, but I’ll always remember the show – and particularly the pathos and humanity the late Bill Bixby brought to it – with fondness.
And, judging from the new film’s new trailer, it looks as though Messrs Norton and Leterrier feel the same way, too: