DVD REVIEW: Planet Hulk
The unlikeliest savior ever stars in this new animated film on home video...
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The Hulk is an icon. After 45 years of smashing anything and everything the Green Goliath could lay his hands on, what more could the writers at Marvel do than to send him away from Earth to protect the Blue Planet? Thanks to writer Greg Pak, the ingenious story of "Planet Hulk" originally played out The Incredible Hulk (Vol. 3) #92 - 105 and made the Hulk more interesting than he'd been in years.
Now, thanks to Lionsgate and Marvel Animation, the comic series that impressed so many has come to home video as an animated adventure that's sure to attract even more.
The plot is fairly simple: a group of super heroes - including Doctor Strange, Reed Richards, and Iron Man among others - decides the Hulk is too dangerous to live on Earth and they ship him off to a lifeless planet where he'll never be able to harm anyone ever again. Of course, his rocket is damaged and he crash lands on Sakaar. Ruled by the tyranical Red King, this planet hosts a variety of beings as well as a mighty colosseum where slaves, traitors, and criminals fight to the death. Of course the Hulk makes a great gladiator and, as fate would have it, begins to fulfill a number of prophecies about a savior who'll...you guessed it...save the people of Sakaar.
While there are a some changes made to the plot (including a fairly large one that was disappointing to me!), the basic story remains the same and helps establish the feeling and mood of the original comics.
The 2-Disc Special Edition DVD features a variety of bonus material, including numerous "making of" featurettes and audio commentaries with the creators. The featurettes include "A Whole World of Hurt: The Making of Planet Hulk," and "Let the Smashing Commence! The Saga of Planet Hulk," each examining details like the storyline, the creation of the story, the production of the animation, the characters, the artwork and more. Likewise, the two commentaries - on with Screenwriter Greg Johnson and Supervising Producer Joshua Fine and the other with Director Sam Liu, Character Designer Philip Bourassa and Key Background Painter Steve Nicodemus - each delve into the creation of the characters, story, artwork, animation, and more.
Other special features include the "Wolverine vs. Hulk" episode of Wolverine and the X-Men, Spider-Woman and Astonishing X-Men motion comics, and two music videos.
For those who read the "Planet Hulk" storyarc and enjoyed watching the Hulk beat, batter and battle his way to be King, the Planet Hulk animated film will no doubt be enjoyable. For those fans who never read the comics, but want to see just how awesome Marvel has made this unjolly Green Giant, check out Planet Hulk. It's entertaining, enjoyable, and worth the price of admission.
- Jess C. Horsley