The Incredible Hulk appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Expect few problems here, as the transfer boasted solid visuals.
At no point did any real concerns with sharpness materialize. Most of the time, the movie featured concise, accurate elements, as only a sliver of softness ever occurred. I noticed a hint of edge enhancement – most obvious around onscreen lettering – but shimmering and jagged edges remained absent. Source flaws failed to create distractions, as the movie was free from defects.
As for colors, Hulk went with a hot South American palette during its early scenes. It cooled somewhat as it progressed, but it maintained a pretty obvious green orientation much of the time. All of these fit the design and looked good. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows showed fine clarity and delineation. Overall, this was a very satisfying transfer.
And the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Incredible Hulk worked even better. To put it simply, this mix rocked! From the opening ghost credit/origin sequence through all of the fight scenes, the track blasted all five channels through much of the film. Music showed nice stereo presence and delineation and miraculously held its own up against the effects.
Nonetheless, the latter dominated the mix, as they took control of the spectrum. These elements swirled about the spectrum and strongly enhanced the film. The louder action scenes offered terrifically involving and active audio. The surrounds provided plenty of discrete sound that seemed appropriate and blended well with the forward elements.
Audio quality also appeared excellent. Dialogue seemed natural and distinct, with no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Music sounded bright and vivid. The score showed nice depth and solid fidelity; the track replicated those elements quite well. Still, the effects remained the strongest aspect of the mix. From the environmental bits to the sonic assault of the fight sequences, the track featured clear and accurate audio that remained rich at all times. Bass response was simply terrific, as the track boasted deep, tight low-end elements; look to the campus battle for some serious subwoofer-pumping information. Overall, Incredible Hulk gave us a fine sonic affair that just barely fell below “A+” levels; this was a consistently great track that should act as demo material.
Quite a few extras fill out this three-disc set. On DVD One, the main attraction comes from an audio commentary with director Louis Leterrier and actor Tim Roth, both of whom sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. They discuss visual design and effects, cast and performances, sets and locations, story issues and differentiating Incredible from 2003’s Hulk, influences and references, stunts and action, and a few other production issues.
Roth and Leterrier mix well to create a strong commentary. They cover a nice variety of subjects and do so with humor. Quite a few nice insights emerge across this engaging piece, so it definitely is worth a listen.
DVD One includes six Deleted Scenes that run a total of 13 minutes, 27 seconds. In addition, DVD Two presents an Alternate Opening (2:33) and 17 more Deleted Scenes (29:15). Why not put all the cut footage on DVD Two? I’d guess that the DVD One materials appear to give some bonus bits for folks who purchase the single-disc version of the film; I can’t think of another logical explanation.
Anyway, with 23 deleted scenes and an alternate ending, Incredible treats us to a massive array of edited shots. The “Opening” is moderately interesting, mostly because it would’ve revealed the Hulk much earlier in the film. It was probably unnecessary, though, and it’s not a particularly interesting scene.
As for the rest, they vary in quality. Many simply pad existing scenes, while we also get a lot of exposition. Those elements expand characters like Mr. Blue and Betty’s therapist boyfriend. These are interesting, but I expect they would’ve slowed the film’s pace. That’s especially true for the stuff with Betty and her boyfriend, as those elements really plod; they’re cool to see as DVD extras but would’ve been dull in the final flick.
We also get a few neat jokes. I like the scene in which Bruce delivers pizza to a few different college locations, and the bit in which Blonsky discusses the Hulk’s color is a clever nod to his early look. While I can’t say that any of the cut sequences should’ve been in the theatrical cut, many are interesting to see.
A few ads open DVD One. We get clips for Beethoven’s Big Break, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Marvel Animated Adventures, Blu-Ray Disc and Iron Man.
With that we head to the other components on DVD Two and a documentary entitled The Making of Incredible. In this 29-minute and 51-second show, we find the usual mix of movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from Leterrier, Roth, producers Kevin Feige, Gale Ann Hurd and Avi Arad, executive producer Jim Van Wyck, production designer Kirk M. Petruccelli, visual effects supervisor Kurt Williams, Canadian Forces Base Trenton public affairs officer Captain Nicole Meszaros, special effects coordinator Laird McMurray, stunt coordinator John Stoneham, Jr., second unit 1st AD Andrew Robinson, second unit 2nd AD Joel Hay, and actors Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, and William Hurt. The show discusses the series’ “reboot” and bringing Leterrier on board, story and character issues, cast and performances, sets and locations, the use of military elements, effects and camerawork.
Given that a car manufacturer sponsors it, I expected a cheesy fluff piece from “Making”. Happily, it turns out to be more substantial than I anticipated. It zips through its subjects rapidly but it explores them reasonably well. The show doesn’t solely accentuate the positive, as it acknowledges some problems along the way. “Making” moves quickly and provides a good program.
Four featurettes fill out the set. Becoming the Hulk goes for nine minutes, 22 seconds and features Leterrier, Norton, Feige, Williams, Hurd, Rhythm and Hues senior animation supervisor Keith Roberts, character designer Aaron Sims, and Mova founder/president Steve Perlman. “Becoming” looks at character design and execution. The program offers a great examination of the techniques used to bring the Hulk to life. I especially like the parts in which we see Norton’s active involvement in the process. We learn quite a bit in this fascinating show.
A sister piece comes to us via the 10-minute and 15-second Becoming the Abomination. It presents remarks from Leterrier, Roth, Feige, Williams, Roberts, movement coach/motion capture Terry Notary, Rhythm and Hues visual effects supervisor Betsy Paterson, Rhythm and Hues lighting supervisor Greg Steele and Rhythm and Hues character rigging supervisor Matt Derksen. As expected, this show works like its predecessor; it simply focuses on a different character. It proves nearly as interesting as the prior program.
Anatomy of a Hulk-Out lasts 27 minutes, 49 seconds and actually consists of three shorter pieces. These include “Hulking Out in the Bottling Plant” (9:43), “Hulking Out on Campus” (10:08) and “Hulking Out in Harlem” (7:57). We find notes from Leterrier, Norton, Feige, Stoneham, McMurray, Roth, Williams, Petruccelli, Paterson, Roberts,
stunt commando John MacDonald, FTSI operator Alex MacDonald, second unit special effects key Gary Kleinsteuber, high pressure key Daniel Gibson, special effects coordinator Arthur Langevin, Soho VFX visual effects supervisor Allan Magled, Rhythm and Hues animation supervisors Matt Shumway and Chad Shattuck, and Rhythm and Hues lead animator Amanda Dague.
The “Anatomy” components provide details on various aspects of the movie’s three big Hulk scenes. Many more good notes emerge here, and I continue to enjoy Roth’s refreshing self-effacing side; while most actors claim to do all their own stunts, Roth is more than happy to discuss his limits and all the work he didn’t do.
Finally, From Comic Book to Screen goes for six minutes, 32 seconds and shows part of a comic book that influenced one of the movie’s scenes. It does this in a semi-animated manner. I’d prefer more extensive comic material, but this is still an interesting bonus.
Over on DVD Three, only one feature appears: a Digital Copy of Incredible Hulk. It seems like every DVD now tosses in a “digital copy” as a bonus, and I guess that’s fine if you want to send the flick to your ipod or whatever. It does nothing for me, but I needed to mention its existence.
I never counted the Hulk as one of my absolute favorite superheroes, and I can’t say that The Incredible Hulk changed my opinion. The movie packs some good action and keeps us involved, but it fails to turn into anything more engrossing than that. The DVD provides excellent picture and audio along with a consistently interesting roster of supplements. While I’m not wild about the movie, I think it’s reasonably entertaining, and this release supports it well.