On The Couch #21: Planet Hulk

Don’t worry, I’m not turning this blog into a comic book movie blog.

I was just on a bit of a Hulk kick after watching The Incredible Hulk and decided to follow it up with Planet Hulk, an animated movie from Marvel. Like DC, Marvel is making animated features out of its popular comic book storylines. In this one, the Hulk crash lands on an planet full of aliens as big as he is, and becomes a gladiator.

– Hey, you spilled Gladiator in my Hulk!
– Hey, you spilled Hulk in my Gladiator!

If you’re hard up for a Hulk movie (hey, whatever floats your boat, who am I to judge?) and are stuck deciding between Planet Hulk and The Incredible Hulk, The Incredible Hulk wins. It’s better all around. I guess that’s not really a fair comparison as The Incredible Hulk was a big budget Hollywood blockbuster with cool special effects and top grade talent, while Planet Hulk has the animation style of your typical Saturday morning cartoon.

“Hulk, do you like movies about gladiators? Has Hulk ever been to a Turkish prison?”

Story-wise, it’s a very faithful retelling of the Planet Hulk story from the comic book. If you’re one to judge a comic-based movie on well it keeps to the original, you’d probably give this movie an A.

It’s the meh-quality animation that really hurts Planet Hulk. The animation doesn’t hold up to the art from the comic. In the comic, the Hulk seemed like he was in much more danger than he is here. That’s mainly because the big bad guys in the movie as drawn pretty yawntastically. In the comic, the aliens were huge and menacing, here Hulk is still the biggest kid on the block.

“No, Hulk am Spartacus.”

As I was thinking about the premise, basically Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic and some other heroes ship Hulk off-planet because he’s too dangerous for Earth, I started thinking why did they waste this on just the Hulk? Why not throw Dr. Doom, Magneto, Venom and every other psycho with powers on there and say sayonara? Is it only okay to do that to someone who is your friend half the time instead of a villain all the time? Wow, Iron Man is a jerk. Mr. Fantastic too.

If you’re a comic fan, you’ll love the many cameos by Marvel’s cosmic characters in this movie. If you’re not a comic book fan, congratulations on making it this far into this post.

The bonus features on the Blu-ray include the first chapter of motion comics for Spider-Woman and Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men. What’s a motion comic, you ask? It’s about halfway between being a comic book and a cartoon. Remember Sam Keith’s The Maxx cartoon on MTV in the mid-90s? It’s like that. Why are some people excited about motion comics right now as being some great, new innovation? After watching these two, I’m not sure either, because like I said, they looked very similar to The Maxx animation-wise, which looked kind of cool…in 1995.