Thursday, April 14, 2011

Planet Hulk: "A Lackluster, Moderately Entertaining Misuse of One of Marvel Best Characters"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      Planet Hulk is a moderately entertaining addition to the Marvel comics collection of direct to DVD animated videos. It’s another manifestation of the surge of this generation’s decade long love affair with comic book characters. The film features the voice talents of Rick D. Wasserman (Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore), Lisa Ann Beley (Iron Man: Armored Adventures), Mark Hildreth (V: TV series), and Kevin Michael Richardson (Transformers: Prime).

     The Avengers decide to exile the Hulk from Earth because of his uncontrollable rage and limitless power. The Hulk redirects his “Ark” to another world where is he is forced to participate in gladiatorial games. The inhabitants of this alien world are being oppressed by the tyrant responsible for the games. The Hulk’s indomitable nature and boundless power make him a champion and the native aliens begin to view him as a messiah.

     Marvel Comics may dominate the theaters with their adaptations of their characters transitioning from the pages of their comics onto the big screen but DC Comics dominates the small screen. Planet Hulk is a lackluster adaptation of a Marvel comics mini series of the same name. The comic was released in 2006. The film has Gladiator (2000) written all over it. The story isn’t one of Marvel’s greatest stories and it pales in comparison to the better quality of direct to DVD animated features released by DC comics.

     Planet Hulk is a completely botched misuse of the character of the Hulk that most have come to know and love. This particular tale doesn’t feature many of the story traits that have been related to the Hulk which has endeared him to the fans of comics and the character. This particular incarnation completely phases out any of the relation to prior uses of the character including the biggest fundamental element, his alter ego Dr. Bruce Banner. Planet Hulk simply manhandles the character and manipulates it to fit this particular story with little to no explanation as to why the character appears that way that it does within this story. Other than a brief voice over from Iron Man in the opening of it, this story barley bears any semblance to any aspect of the Hulk that has been used before.

     Planet Hulk’s lack of relation to the “classic Hulk” character is its biggest detractor. No transformation, no internal conflict, no Banner. Banner never appears. The story barely mentions him. Instead it merges the Hulk and Bruce Banner into one being to fit the story. A complete mistake as this separates the human element from the character as well as any familiarity that casual fans have with the character.

     The story in itself lacks originality as it isn’t anything remotely close to being original. It reeks Gladiator from beginning to end. The story adds very little new dynamics to the character. It’s based on the comic from 2006 but this shortened adaptation of the limited series doesn’t use enough of the comic story as it only utilizes the first part of the limited series to adapt into the film. It fails to implement the rest of the story which includes the Hulk’s return to Earth to seek revenge against the Avengers for sending him into exile. Based upon the lack of the inclusion of this to the story , forces this tale to be less enjoyable as the comic that ran for fourteen issues.

     This narrative does add a humanizing element to the character of the Hulk. This incarnation of the Hulk doesn’t appear to be the mindless, raged force of destruction that it is often portrayed to be. This version clearly shows that the Hulk as a high level of intelligence. Fans of the comic book can relate this version to the “Grey Hulk,” as this one has the unbridled rage but it is coupled with the intelligence of Banner. Unlike the Grey Hulk, this version of the Hulk lacks the personality that the Grey Hulk displayed in the pages of the comics. Planet Hulk shows the sympathetic side of the angry (beast).

      Marvel needs to step their game up with their animated features. Planet Hulk is no where even close to many of the animated features that were recently released by DC. The story completely misuses the Hulk and it’s doesn’t have the same level of depth that the stories by DC comics have. Planet Hulk is an average watch, it doesn’t really warrant buying. If you want to see it either rent it from Redbox or try to watch it via Netflix.

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