Another Marvel Animated Feature film came out yesterday, based off of Greg Pak's Planet Hulk. There's already been some debate over whether or not this film sucks or is awesome. I'm going to tell you flat-out, right away, this film was awesome.
We start with Iron Man, Reed Richards... ah screw it, The Illuminati has already captured Hulk, put him in a space ship and Iron Man explains to him he's just too darn dangerous to have on Earth, so they send Hulk to a peaceful planet full of vegetation and game. Hulk has a hissy fit and destroys the navigation on the ship and the ship jumps through a wormhole to the planet Sakaar. He's made into a slave and forced to fight in gladiator battles. Red King is the leader of the planet, and he has a personal bodyguard named Caiera. Hulk wins a few battles and wants to take out the Red King, but has to get through Caiera first. They fight, then more fighting and more fighting.
My thoughts on the story:
As I do going into every adapted film, I turned my brain off to the source material so I could enjoy the film for what it was, almost like I was watching this film without ever reading the Planet Hulk story arc. The film runs 81 minutes, and the amount of actual story they put into that time was amazing. It flowed very well and never felt jumpy, even if someone was explaining their back story. I understand that many people are angry about the ending, but I feel if they added any more of the original source material to the film, it would have been a little too much. Yes the ending is a little cheesy. I know that they're missing some major things, which transitions nicely over to World War Hulk, but I really like where it left off. That way, if this film does poorly, (i hope not) it's no big deal because nothing is really set up. However, if they want to do another film, it's easy as pie.
I watched this film on Blu-Ray and the cells themselves seemed very sharp and crisp. The colors used were lifted right out of the book and Hulk, being the only thing green on the planet, really popped out. A+ on that. Downside? At times the animation seemed a little choppy, and stylistically, I was unimpressed. It was pretty basic to me and a little clunky. It wasn't something that hindered my opinion of the film by any means though. Any problems I had with animation were completely forgotten about while Hulk was smashing Beta Ray Bill's head into the ground.... repeatedly.
I had some bigger problems in this area. The majority of the voice acting sounded like it was in a recording studio. Hulk, after destroying all his enemies in the arena, lets out a curdling scream... no reverb. Sounds like he's screaming in a sound proofed room. The majority of the voices sounded like that. Extremely disappointing to me. However, (there's always a however) there were certain times where the 5.1 Surround sound made giggle in excitement, like when Beta Ray Bill's hammer charged up, and the sound came from behind me. Minor things like this made up for the larger problems I had when it came to the sound in the film.
One of the special features was on making the actual film, which I didn't watch. The second one was on the comic, featuring Greg Pak. It was incredibly interesting to see how it came together, including the art work. Then.... the next Marvel animated film... Kiddie Thor. I wasn't interested. It also comes with two audio commentaries, which I will be watching tonight, so look for an update.
I understand that quite a few of the hardcore Hulk fans will be disappointed with aspects of this film. I think Marvel did they best they could with the source material, in the amount of time they had in order to please the Hulk fans and the general public, who may not know too much about the character other than his origin story. One thing I'm really not understanding is the choice to replace Silver Savage with Beta Ray Bill. You take what you get I guess. Overall, this is on par with what DC has been doing...actual interesting story arcs. I loved this film in every aspect, even though I not only had my doubts, but there were some minor problems that got me angry.
Planet Hulk 4/5
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~ Mat Elfring (InferiorEgo) is a comedian, teacher, comic store employee, comic book writer, and ready to smash. ~