By : John Latchem | Posted: 31 Jan 2010
$19.98 DVD, $24.98 two-DVD set, $29.99 Blu-ray
First, let’s dispense with the notion that this movie isn’t aimed straight at hardcore comic book fans. The producers might talk about making a movie unto itself, but let’s not kid ourselves, there are a lot of things in the story that only fanboys are going to understand — like why Thor appears in this movie for seemingly no reason.
Planet Hulk is based on a storyline that ran in Marvel’s “Hulk” comics in 2006, during which superheroes such as Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Reed Richards deemed Hulk too unstable to remain on Earth and exiled him into space. Hulk’s ship zips through a wormhole and crashes on a planet where he seems to fulfill a prophecy about a savior who will free the people from a tyrannical emperor.
Hulk is captured and plays gladiator fighting for his freedom, becoming less of a mindless brute along the way.
The animation is spry and colorful, but the dialogue is pure action-movie boilerplate — serviceable but lacking any real weight. Those looking for gory ‘PG-13’-level animated violence won’t be disappointed.
The extras on the Blu-ray and DVD special editions are heavily weighted toward analysis of the original storyline, and the process of adapting it. Most interesting are a featurette that interviews original comic story writer Greg Pak and some of the artists, and a commentary with a producer and screenwriter that answers a lot of questions about the essence of the story and explain a few details only the fans would otherwise detect.
The real treat of the disc, however, is an “Astonishing X-Men” motion comic of a story written by Joss Whedon. What it, and a “Spider-Woman” motion comic, are doing on a “Hulk” disc is anybody’s guess, but it turns out to be a welcome addition.
There’s also a sequence from the next direct-to-video Marvel animated movie, Thor: Tales of Asgard, due in 2011.