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The Incredible Hulk (2008) (DVD deleted scenes analysis)

How to edit a movie, starring The Incredible Hulk

In the weeks before Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk opened this summer, there were a lot of stories on-line and in various entertainment magazines about a dispute over the editing of the film between Marvel and star Edward Norton (who played Bruce Banner).  As the tale was told, Norton was fighting for a longer cut of the film that would include more character development, while Marvel wanted a leaner, more action-packed version.  

Ultimately, it seems that the latter is what was released to theatres.  And while I found the film to be fairly enjoyable, it certainly didn’t blow my skirt up the way Iron Man had the month before.  I also found it to be inferior to Ang Lee’s weirder, more cerebral 2003 movie The Hulk.  

But I was intrigued to read that the DVD of the new Incredible Hulk movie would include a significant number of deleted scenes (almost 45 minutes worth).  That’s not the same as having an extended cut of the film to judge, but I was still very curious to check out all of that additional footage to see if I felt those scenes’ inclusion would have strengthened the film.

Well (and I’m not sure if this is good or bad), with just a few exceptions I must report that they would not have.  What we have here is a fascinating study in film-editing.  There isn’t one scene, amongst the deleted footage, that is a complete “thank god they cut that” clunker.  Everything is good, and interesting.  There’s an opening opening to the film in which Bruce Banner tries (unsuccessfully) to kill himself; scenes that show us more of the life Bruce made for himself on the run in Brazil, including how he created the science set-up in his apartment; several additional scenes with Betty’s new boyfriend Leonard (whose presence on-screen suffered the most in the theatrical cut); several scenes with General Ross which shed some more light on why he was so focused on capturing Banner, etc. etc.  It’s all decent stuff.  

Probably the best scene is a monologue by Ross, in which he describes his awe at having seen a glimpse of god (in his encounters with the Hulk), and he compares himself to those great men throughout history who have dared to grasp such power for the good of mankind.  It’s a great moment of acting, and it makes his character a bit less of an evil-for-no-reason villain, while also making him even scarier as we glimpse his passionate dedication to the cause.

And yet, none of these scenes really would have added much of anything to the movie as a whole.  Is it sort of neat to see how Bruce made his … [continued]