Hulk: Special Edition DVD Review
PictureThe 1.85:1 anamorphic image is strong and vibrant which never fails to please. There is a good amount of detail on show with facial close-ups providing a fabulous amount of details such as lines and pores. Flesh tones also look natural and realistic. The colour palette is also natural looking with strong well saturated colours and solid black with plenty of shadow detail on show. Even the CGI effects look brilliant with the scene in the lab corridor when Bruce changes to the Hulk looking brilliant with water on his green skin.
There are a few slight problems seen however such as the dreaded edge enhancement. This is most prominent during the scenes in the desert where telegraph poles have halos around them and characters also seem to have faint halos surrounding them. It is not that distracting but is clearly seen even on a 32” TV. I also notice quite a bit of line flicker and noise on certain object through the movie such as te blinds in the office at the start of the movie and on certain buildings.
Overall this is a strong transfer which is pleasing to look at and very nearly reference quality. The R2 edition uses forced subtitles instead of onscreen characters when the audience is told where we are. The forced subs also failed to work on my player which was annoying. The R1 disc however keeps the designed subs and looks better for it, but now I am just nit picking. The layer change was unnoticeable.
SoundThe R2 scores over the recent R1 disc and features both Dolby Digital (448kbps) and DTS 5.1 (768kbps) soundtracks both of which were mixed by Gary Rydstrom (Toy Story, Star Wars et al) .
As you would expect the soundtrack is aggressive and forthright with excellent dynamics and a thunderous LFE channel. This is clear to hear during the opening titles which sounds wide and expansive with great panning effects and good LFE use, in fact just listen to the bassline during the cutting of the star fish, it just goes low and stays there for a few minutes.
Further into the movie we see Bruce transform into the Hulk for the first time in a corridor of his lab (41m). He begins to smash up the lab with seriously fun surround effects used for debris flying around the room and good LFE underpinning his foot steps. Then the sprinkler system kicks in and we are surrounded with water as he begins to calm down and approach his father cowering in the corner.
When the Hulk escapes from his military detainees he ends up outside his childhood house (1h32m39s). As he stands looking there is a stony silence with just the wind blowing gently in the surrounds, then there is a flash as a bomb explodes which seems to suck all noise out as we get complete silence before the blast wave hits the hulk (and you) with devastating force and serious weight behind it. There is another missile fired with multiple warheads engaged at the Hulk and he jumps off into the desert, the various warheads filling up the soundfield with there explosions. As the Hulk lands he looks for what is firing on him and notices four tanks heading for him and firing at him. As he sees them there is a fantastic note from the score which does a complete 360 degree chase around the soundstage before the shells hit, fantastic sound design!
The soundtrack is brilliantly mixed and works very well indeed. The Dolby Digital track is wide and dynamic with good LFE use and the DTS just pips it with a slightly deeper and tighter bass and cleaner high end, but there is not a huge difference between the two.
ExtrasKicking off the extras on Disc One is a feature length commentary with Director Ang Lee. Lee appears very enthusiastic with his comments on certain scenes and is easy to understand, there are a few gaps throughout but overall it is an interesting listen. Also on disc one is a white rabbit type feature called Hulk cam which takes you to short featurettes at certain points during the movie. There is also a teaser trailer for Thunderbirds and some DVD Rom content.
Moving to disc Two and the first feature is Hulkification which is a feature involving four artists from Comic Books who have put a scene to paper and this can be seen using multi angles. Evolution of The Hulk follows the hulk from his first appearance in Comic to the latest big budget movie with interviews from Stan Lee and the films crew. Next is a featurette looking at the Director Ang Lee which features good behind the scenes footage with interviews from cast and crew and Gary Rydstrom's puzzlement at Lee's The sound of Green direction. Rounding off the extras are a making off feature split into sections, Cast and Crew, Stunts & Physical effects, ILM and scoring.
Overall the extras are worthy of watching and add great interest into what went on behind the scenes.
VerdictThe film is slow, lumbering and flawed but the AV presentation is first class with good extras included. The R2 version is the one to go for here (if you must buy it).
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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