Ang Lee’s Hulk and Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk are very different movies. Lee turned the story of Bruce Banner’s anger problems into a splitscreen-happy Freudian psychodrama. Leterrier’s version was more of a straight action movie. Lee’s version is underrated, and Leterrier’s version is correctly-rated…which is to say, they’re both perfectly mediocre, because neither could make up for the fact that the star of the movie looked like a big green rubber muppet. Third time might be the charm, though: Mark Ruffalo, who’s playing the Hulk in the upcoming Avengers movie, told Vulture that the Big Green Guy will be created using Avatar-esque stop-motion capture. “So I’ll actually play the Hulk,” explains the actor. “That’ll be fun.”
This is great news. For one thing, human-like characters created using motion-capture are about twenty billion times more believable-looking than the (ahhhh!) alternative. Consider Andy Serkis’ performances as Gollum in Lord of the Rings and the great ape in King Kong, or the Na’Vi in Avatar, or the surprisingly ecstatic dance moves in Happy Feet. On a more actor-friendly note, motion-capture will actually allow Ruffalo to inhabit both sides of his role — whereas Eric Bana and Ed Norton were stuck just playing good ol’ Bruce Banner.
PopWatchers, are you excited by the notion of a Hulk who actually moves like a semi-realistic creature? Do you think Ruffalo will be able to pull off the Angry Green Giant’s physicality? I should note that all the good things I’m saying about motion-capture animation do not apply to Robert Zemeckis’ Plastic-Android trilogy. Not even the Uncanny Valley can give Ray Winstone a believable six-pack.