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‘Hulk’ and ‘Happening’ reviews

Well, our babysitter can’t make it tonight (or the rest of the weekend), so I’m going to have settle for reviews when it comes to the two big releases this weekend: The Incredible Hulk and Shyamalan’s The Happening. Here’s what folks are saying from the both the mainstream and Christian media:

As to the big green guy, fav-of-this-blog Roger Ebert says the film “sidesteps the intriguing aspects of Hulkdom and spends way too much time in, dare I say, noisy and mindless action sequences” and confesses that he used “my Timex with the illuminated dial way too often.” Ouch. Stephen Greydanus at Decent Films seems to agree, observing that there is an “almost total disconnect between Bruce Banner and his alter ego” adding that the film has little interest in exploring “the idea of the Hulk suggests the potential destructiveness of violent emotions in all of us that that boil over from time to time despite our best efforts to keep a lid on them” (an aspect of the Hulk story that intrigues me the most). Over at BeliefNet, Movie Mom Nell Minow gives the film a B and at Christianity Today, Russ Breimeirer gives the film 2.5 stars out of 4, but found himself “longing for more context and character development (like Iron Man).” For links to most of the above and other reviews see Rotten Tomatoes, where the film is actually getting a very good 72% fresh rating.

As to Shyamalan’s latest, well, it isn’t faring so well. It’s getting a dismal and rotten 22% rating at Rotten Tomatoes (which might not mean all that much to me as Lady in the Water got a 24% rating and its one of my favorite films—yeah, I know I’m in the minority, but I really loved the story). Even those reviews Rotten Tomatoes scores as positive are actually mixed (see for example reviews by New York Times critic Mannohla Dargis and BeliefNet’s Minow). At Christianity Today, I found Brett McCraken’s review (2 stars out of 4) intriguing as he points out the films paradoxes, describing it as “surprisingly compelling and endlessly frustrating,” “a tonally confused film—sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes apathetic” and “Shyamalan ramps up the horror, but loses some of his magic.” Over at Hollywood Jesus, Elisabeth Leitch’s review focuses less on the merits of the film as art and more on the God-talk within it—which is right up my alley and the first of the reviews to make me want to put the film on my Netflix queue. (While I’m pretty much a die-hard fan of Shyamalan, this film’s violence looks like it would be too much for me.)

So while neither of these films will make it into these open spaces this weekend, it looks like they’re getting their share in other places. Click away and enjoy. And if you see either film, let me know what you think!

Update: Check out Peter Chattaway's blog post about how The Incredible Hulk "has been written with bigger things in mind." What bigger things? Heh, go take a look.