Murder by Numbers / Hulk Reviews

Like You Needed My Opinion

Nizzibet and I picked up a few more videos off of Rain City’s sale table. Last night we watched Murder by Numbers (the Sandra Bullock vehicle, not the Peter Greenway film) and Hulk.

Murder by Numbers was more entertaining than I expected. I enjoy watching Sandra Bullock. Not a great actress. She’s as good as her scripts and her character is poorly written here. She’s a detective who acts too much on hunches and whose vendetta against her suspect doesn’t fit her backstory.

Part of the entertainment came from the sloppy crime scene investigation. I noticed it in this movie more than others because I’m in the process of reading Scene of the Crime by Anne Wingate. It’s a writer’s guide to crime scene investigation by someone with real world experience. The schtick of Murder by Numbers was that one of the killers had studied up on CSI and so knew how to fake and plant evidence. Neat schtick but since Bullock’s character arrives at her suspects because of her hunches and prejudices more than because of her smarts it stays just schtick. Since the character is such a pain to work with and actively sabotages her personal relationships it stretches credibility to have her investigation so driven by gut feeling. She needed to be cleverer in her investigative work in order to balance her social incompetence otherwise why would would the police keep her around?

Hulk was … odd. Mostly I liked it. It’s a monster movie. That’s a plus. Monsters = Goodness in my book. It’s longer than it needs to be. Unlike Spider-Man it’s not an adaptation of any of the stories from the comics, at least none of the comics I’ve read. It’s a weird amalgam of the TV series and some of the characters and ideas of the comics.

The kid in me loved the Hulking out scenes, the mass destruction and monster battles.

What the kid missed was the Hulk. What the TV series and the movie don’t get is that, for a kid, the hero of the comic isn’t Bruce Banner, it’s the Hulk. The Hulk isn’t a werewolf story about some poor schmuck who becomes an uncontrollable beast, the Hulk is a Jeckyll/Hyde story about a man with warring personalities. There’s Bruce Banner and then there’s the Hulk. (In later issues of the comic, there are Hulks, superpowered multiple personalities created in Banner’s abusive childhood and given by manifestation by the Gamma Bomb.) Banner wants to get rid of the Hulk, the Hulk just wants to be left in peace. The Hulk of the comic was human, had thoughts (“Thinking hurt Hulk’s head”) and made plans (“Hulk smash puny humans!”). The Hulk in the film and the TV series is a roaring monster.

Ah well. Consider the source. Did anyone really expect Ang Lee to make a rip roaring superhero movie?