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DVD Review: Planet Hulk
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Planet Hulk DVDPlanet Hulk
2-Disc Special Edition DVD
Directed by Sam Liu
Starring Rick D. Wasserman, Lisa Ann Beley, Mark Hildreth, Liam O’Brien, Kevin Michael Richardson, Samuel Vincent, Advah Soudack, Michael Kopsa, Marc Worden
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Release Date: February 2, 2010

Planet Hulk is the latest direct-to-DVD film from Marvel’s Animation Studio and it’s got a lot going for it. Director Sam Liu has previously worked on Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and screenwriter Greg Johnson worked on one of my personal favorites, Doctor Strange. The film is also based on one of the best Hulk stories of all time (written by the awesome Greg Pak) in which the Green Goliath is deemed too dangerous for Earth and exiled to another planet free of any intelligent life. Unfortunately something goes wrong and the Hulk’s ship crash lands on a war world where he’s immediately forced into slavery and forced to fight Gladiator-style for his freedom. All of these factors contributed to my Hulk-size anticipation of the film and I can thankfully say I was not disappointed.

Every aspect of Planet Hulk is solid, from the voice acting and animation to the character development and story. The film is a direct adaptation of the previously mentioned Greg Pak epic storyline, which is a different approach in contrast with the recent Marvel animated films which created their own stories and weren’t directly adapted from any one arc. This process can be tricky and a double edged sword because on the one hand you run the risk of just re-hashing material someone who has read the comic already knows and yet on the other hand you have the people who have not read the comic who represent an entire audience that has a chance to experience this wonderful story for the first time.

Something I really enjoyed about the film and the source material in general is that you get to see a different side of the “Jade Giant.” Make no mistake this is the Hulk’s struggle and not Banner’s. This is the first Hulk film where Bruce Banner (the Hulk’s true persona) is never seen throughout the entire film and I found that interesting. You get to see the journey from a monster into a hero without that pesky human side.

I’m not going to say its the most original story in the world, (it borrows heavily from Gladiator, Spartacus, and Lord of The Rings), but I found it to be compelling nonetheless.

The Geek: Nice action and a Hulk story that shows you the character can be more than just “Hulk Smash!” Oh, and animated Beta Ray Bill FTW!

The Weak: As with any book to film adaptation, key scenes have to be deleted and die hard fans of the comic book will be disappointed by several omissions, including the lack of Silver Surfer.

Final Thoughts: Planet Hulk is a solid film that does a great job of adapting a modern classic comic tale for those who don’t read comics. A good addition to any fan’s collection but if you find the film or concept interesting I would highly recommend checking out the source material as well.

For my full review be sure to check out Episode 130 of The Geekland Podcast where I discuss the film further.

Bonus Features

– Audio Commentary with Joshua Fine and Greg Johnson

– Audio Commentary with Sam Liu, Philip Bourassa and Steve Nicodemus

– A Whole World of Hurt: The Making of Planet Hulk (21:44)
An excellent behind the scenes featurette covering all aspects of the film.

– Let the Smashing Commence! The Saga of Planet Hulk (11:28)
A glimpse at the comic story the film is based on with writer Greg Pak.

– Opening Sequence: Thor: Tales of Asgard (6:14)
The opening sequence and a look ahead at the next Marvel animated film.

– Wolverine and the X-Men: “Wolverine vs. Hulk” Episode (21:51)
Complete episode from the television series featuring the Hulk and Wolverine.

– Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. Motion Comic (10:20)
The first Marvel motion comic not adapted from a previous story.

– Astonishing X-Men: Gifted Motion Comic (14:11)
Motion comic adaptation of the first Joss Whedon story arc of Astonishing X-Men.

– “Watch Your Step” – Spider-Woman Music Video (3:09)
Not so hot music video with clips from the motion comic

– “Rise Up” – Astonishing X-Men Music Video (2:40)
Not so hot music video with clips from the motion comic

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