Planet Hulk (2010) starring Rick D. Wasserman, Lisa Ann Beley, Mark Hildreth, Liam O’Brien, Kevin Michael Richardson, Sam Vincent
I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the Planet Hulk animated movie. It’s a very good adaptation of the comic book story arc of the same name. It actually presents characters that the audience comes to care about. One thing that I enjoyed is that, unlike most Hulk movies, the Hulk’s alter ego, Bruce Banner, isn’t the protagonist. He really doesn’t show up. The protagonist in the movie is the large, green, angry man-monster we know as the Hulk. And that was a good thing.
I’d like to make special notice of the character of Caiera, voiced by Lisa Ann Beley. She begins the movie by being blindly loyal to the Red King, the film’s antagonist. This is due to his having rescued her as a child. Throughout the movie, her loyalty begins to weaken, due to the behavior of the Hulk and his compatriots. And her eventual about-face to join with them against the Red King seems totally natural and part of the story. Not tacked-on at the last moment like in many of these type of movies.
Product Description of Planet Hulk
A whole new world of hurt! He was a monster, impossible to control, too dangerous to ignore. So Earth’s mightiest heroes exiled him into outer space. But now THE INCREDIBLE HULK crash-lands on the distant planet SAKAAR, ruled by the tyrannical RED KING. Sold into slavery, the Hulk becomes the planet’s mightiest gladiator — but his new masters get more than they bargained for when he forges a bond of brotherhood with his fellow fighters: crafty insectoid Miek, ruthless rock-man Korg, ex-shadow pirest Hiroim, and the noble-born rebel Elloe. Unlike Earth, the desperate people of Sakaar believe a monster is just what they need. But will the Hulk be the one to save their world — or destroy it?
Editorial review of Planet Hulk, courtesy of Amazon.com
Not content to only smash the Earth to a pulp, the Incredible Hulk takes his rage to the distant stars in Planet Hulk, a rock-’em, sock-’em animated feature that pits Marvel’s mighty green giant against a villainous interplanetary ruler in a story line drawn from one of the title’s best latter-day comics. Dispatched into space by Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and the rest of the Illuminati, the Hulk (whose human alter ego, Bruce Banner, is nowhere to be found in this film) crashes on the planet Sakaar, where he’s thrown into a gladiatorial arena to fight hordes of monsters for the pleasure of the planet’s cruel leader, the Red King.
Naturally, captivity does not sit well with the Hulk, who teams with other prisoners to battle the King’s forces. Younger Hulk fans should be forewarned that the action here is frequently bloody, and the themes a bit more complex than Marvel’s Saturday-morning fare, but fans of the original Planet Hulk comics will appreciate how closely the feature hews to the source material, with only a few variations; the plethora of Marvel persona on display, including a brief cameo by Thor, Beta Ray Bill (stepping in for the Silver Surfer), Adam Warlock, and Star-Lord, is also a plus.
And there’s a wealth of extras to keep Hulk and Marvel fans happy, including two commentaries–one, a technical spec-heavy track with director Sam Liu (The Batman), character designer Philip Bourassa, and key background painter Steve Nicodemus, the other, a juicy, trivia-driven chat with writer Greg Johnson (Wolverine and the X-Men) and producer Joshua Fine–as well as “Let the Smashing Commence!
The Saga of Planet Hulk,” which features interviews with Greg Pak, who cocreated the Planet Hulk comic story line, and artist Aaron Lopresti. The latter is of particular interest to anyone curious as to what happened to the Hulk and Co. after this adventure. A 20-minute making-of featurette offers side-by-side comparisons of original comic panels and scenes from the film, as well as an alternate look at the opening sequence. The two-disc set (the second disc is a digital copy for PC or Mac) is rounded out by a snippet from the Thor: Tales of Asgard feature, a Hulk-centric episode of Wolverine and the X-Men, trailers for Hulk online games, and a pair of curious “music videos” featuring Spider-Woman and the X-Men. –Paul Gaita