The Incredible Hulk 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Don't reboot me; you won't like it when I'm rebooted.
After Ang Lee's abortive 2003 Hulk, the character was rebooted to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, coming hot on the heels of Iron Man. It wasn't long before it was rebooted again though...Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) was an interesting choice for the second title in the then-nascent Marvel Cinematic Universe, which was still finding its footing after the excellent first Iron Man movie. He had the right material - taking liberally from both the solemn 80s TV series and some of the best comic arcs in the history of the character (including Return of the Monster and Abomination) - as well as a superb cast that included Edward Norton and Tim Roth on fine form as protagonist and antagonist. Indeed the movie has a great premise, counting the days without incident of an on-the-run Banner as he tries to keep calm in Rio whilst desperately looking for a cure, all the while with the Government hot on his heels, contemplating making their own super-soldier to take him down.It also had a fantastic middle act, with a tremendous battle between the Hulk and Roth's soldier, and, even with the whole film eventually devolving into the superhero movie genre's mainstay of having CG heroes punch CG villains in the face around a destructible cityscape, it's hard to understand why there was never a direct sequel. Certainly the production history was messy - with Norton and the director potentially both losing their futures with the Studio by going to bat for a longer and ultimately never released 135 minute version - and few even remembered Norton when the character reappeared with fan-favourite Mark Ruffalo as Banner. But The Incredible Hulk really didn't deserve to become the only outcast from the Marvel Cinematic Universe; it's actually an underrated little reboot.
Picture QualityThe Incredible Hulk comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray courtesy of Universal. The disc uses 10-bit video depth, a Wider Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec. We reviewed the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Incredible Hulk on a Samsung UE55KS8000 Ultra HD TV and a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
The Incredible Hulk is the first Phase 1 film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to reach Ultra HD Blu-ray in the US and UK, and whilst it's not a native 4K presentation, it is far more refined and impressive than the German IronMan trilogy building upon a strong 1080p Blu-ray foundation and affording the image enhanced detailing, and rich HDR and WCG implementation.
The best shape it's ever looked, and likely ever will
Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk is very cinematic in style, subsisting in the darkness and shadows, and ripe with rich mahogany browns and vibrant jungle greens, and naturally soft around the edges courtesy of the original cinematography. Here the facial details are more impressive than ever, with scars and lines evident, hair naturally rendered with fine observation, and background textures acutely rendered to provide authentic environments in the diverse locales chosen. Even the Hulk effects - likely rendered at no more than 2K anyway - hold up well, with some of the interactions with the military at the University campus looking extremely well integrated. It's a very dark looking film, which the Ultra HD Blu-ray handles superbly, affording not a glimmer of black crush as it revels in the smoke, mist and shadows. HDR and WCG and used naturally but also noticeably, with the lush green foliage of the South American jungles particularly striking, but even evident once we hit Stateside.
It is a slightly softer piece than those used to most modern Ultra HD Blu-ray productions are familiar with (c.f. Nolan's Batman Trilogy) but it's an organic rendering which enhances the image that those who own the Blu-ray will be familiar with, and delivers it in the best shape it's ever looked, and likely ever will.
Sound QualityThe Incredible Hulk is delivered with a storming DTS:X HD immersive audio track founded upon an already impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 which does a great job at bringing the Hulk's second solo outing to life with aplomb.
No complaints here
Dialogue gets keen prioritisation across the frontal array, afforded clear and coherent delivery rising above the maelstrom of effects and the enthusiastic score. It's a rollercoaster ride of an audio track, building upon the already near-reference standard set by the original Blu-ray's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and offering up a boisterous, bombastic salvo which will likely pleasantly surprise those Marvel fans who have become used to the more questionable authoring of Disney's audio tracks. No complaints here, this delivers each and every action setpiece with fury, from running the Favelas to meeting the Hulk for the first time, from the spectacular first confrontation with the military to the monster mayhem finale. It's engaging and engulfing, sweeping across the surrounds with excellent dynamic usage and serious LFE weight.
ExtrasThe Incredible Hulk's Ultra HD Blu-ray release follows formula when it comes to largely relegating the available extras to the accompanying Blu-ray disc rather than bothering to port them across. Indeed only the Audio Commentary from the Director and Tim Roth makes it to the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc itself, although it's a solid start to the extra material itself, offering some interesting background into the production and, in particular, its desire to stay faithful to the source comic material.
A strong selection of supplemental material
The accompanying Blu-ray delivers all the old extras, from the whopping half hour of Deleted Scenes (some of which are worth a watch) to the Alternate Opening, with a strong half-hour Making of Featurette, 10 minutes on Becoming the Hulk and Becoming the Abomination, as well as the half-hour Anatomy of a Hulk-Out which dissects three key sequences from the film from an effects standpoint. The disc is rounded off by some Galleries, completing a strong selection of supplemental material.
Ultra HD Blu-ray VerdictThe Incredible Hulk really didn't deserve to become the only outcast from the Marvel Cinematic Universe; it's actually an underrated little reboot.
Universal's delivery of The Incredible Hulk on Ultra HD Blu-ray is a strong, faithful and frequently impressive job, affording it great video and exceptional audio (Disney, take note) as well as all of the original extras on the accompanying Blu-ray disc. Fans of the film should consider it a recommended upgrade.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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