For those who have been following along, playing that age-old game of analyze the analyzer, you will know that I am of the mindset that there are just some movies that you should buy on Blu-ray, no matter their comparison to their DVD counterparts. Because lets face it, some movies just look great in high definition. And as long as the Blu-ray release isn’t giving you less than the DVD release, there is no reason that you should pass up the chance to see it in glorious 1080p resolution. As well, I would find it hard to take anyone seriously who has put up the bucks to buy a Blu-ray player, only to follow that up by creating a catalog of standard definition titles — it just doesn’t make sense, my friends.
That said, The Incredible Hulk is one of those movies — the kind that you should probably be buying on Blu-ray either way. Though, it would certainly be the laziest review of my career if I were to just chalk this up to ‘see it because its in HD’, so I will attempt to break it down a bit.
Hulk Want Fans to Interact
One of the new and interesting features that I found on The Incredible Hulk’s Blu-ray release the BD-Live chat function. Though, to be honest, I didn’t get to test it out as it was not live when I reviewed the film, I find it to be interesting that the studio put so much time and effort into trying to get fans to pop a Blu-ray movie into their player and log on to a chat room while watching the film. In theory this is a really fun idea, but I don’t know too many people who would like to take up 1/2 of the screen on their HDTV just to hear what someone half way across the country has to say about the film. Most fans would just as soon head over to their favorite movie website for a chat, or drop by their favorite fan forum. I know that studios are really trying to add value with the BD-Live content, but this just seems unnecessary.
Puny Director Talk About Hulk Too Much
Another major Blu-ray feature that I have been keeping a close eye on lately is the U-Control function that Universal has been very committed to. I believe I talked about how much I liked it in my Forgetting Sarah Marshall review — and with Hulk, it continues to impress. The various features include the Thunderbolt Files, a set of interactive dossiers that show maps of where the movie is supposed to take place, etc. That’s all well and good, but what really entertained me was the commentary from director Louis Leterrier and star Tim Roth. While it would have been nice to hear Edward Norton’s take on things, I thought Leterrier and Roth were interesting. Too often we see commentary tracks that are either non-existent or that feel very obligatory, but Leterrier’s passion for the project really shines through in this instance. As well, there are plenty of cool picture-in-picture featurettes that pop up during the film. Though, if there is anything that left me wanting, it is the fact that the U-Control jumps back and forth between the commentary and the picture-in-picture awkwardly. As well, if I am caught up watching one of the video features, I am missing out on the commentary. This overlap would normally cause me to watch the movie several times with different features turned on each time — and as much as I liked the film, that is quite tedious.
Hulk Show Puny Audience What is Under the Hood
If there is anything that really brought the Iron Man experience full circle with the release of its Blu-ray, it was that the special features on disc two were ridiculously in-depth. We got to see everything from Jon Favreau’s weight fluctuation to Robert Downey Jr.’s aches and pains during the testing phase of the suits. The same is true with The Incredible Hulk — everything from the story development with Edward Norton adding value as both screenwriter and star to the awesome facial motion capture techniques used to allow Norton to actually play the Hulk as well as Bruce Banner. I found all of the extra featurettes to be very focused and interesting, something that isn’t always a given on a DVD release — too often special features are just there to fill space, or not there at all. I think that fans will appreciate what this particular release has to offer.
In the End, Hulk Smash!
As anyone who saw this film in theaters could tell you, The Incredible Hulk was one of the most impressive movies of the summer — impressive, in part, because it was such a surprise. Marvel held off seemingly to the last minute before beginning their marketing push, leading fans to believe that there might be something wrong. But now that the film has been out and made plenty of fans happy, we know that it is a movie worth seeing again, and certainly one worth owning. As for the always important question of Blu-ray vs. Not Blu-ray, you know where I stand — the better exercise would be for you to try and explain to me why you wouldn’t buy The Incredible Hulk — an FX-filled movie that looks good and sounds good — on DVD when you have a Blu-ray player.
Are you picking up The Incredible Hulk on Blu-ray this week?