The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990)

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Released 26-Nov-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 90:55
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bill Bixby
Studio
Distributor
New World Pictures
Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Bill Bixby
Lou Ferrigno
Philip Sterling
Barbara Tarbuck
Anna Katerina
John Novak
Case ?
RPI $26.95 Music Lance Rubin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Death of the Incredible Hulk is one of a series of made for TV films which followed on after the popular TV series ended its run in 1982. I'm sure most of our readers are familiar with the Hulk, either through the Marvel comics, the TV series, or the more recent feature film. For those of you who are not, the stories follow Dr Bruce Banner, who turns into a giant green-skinned beast (The Hulk) when he is angry or afraid. Unable to control his monstrous alter-ego he wanders across the United States looking for a cure, and trying to elude various pursuers who are convinced he and/or The Hulk are evil.

    So, does the title of the film give the story away? Well, I won't reveal all here, except to say that another film was planned after this one, but was never made as star Bill Bixby died unexpectedly before it could be made. For many fans this final chapter was a nice conclusion to the storyline of the original series.

    Our story begins with Banner working as a cleaner under an assumed name at a government research plant. It soon become obvious that he is actually there so that he can sneak into the lab at night and continue his research, hoping to find a cure that will stop his unwelcome transformation into a beast. At the same time, some suspicious characters are trying to break into the lab to steal its secrets, and Banner is drawn into a spy plot which could have come straight out of a James Bond movie.

    The plot tends to meander a bit after the first third, but has enough human interest to encourage staying with it until the end. Bixby plays the part of Banner nicely (he also directed and was Executive Producer so must feel some sympathy with the role). Lou Ferrigno is back as The Hulk, and is just as laughable in his green skin as ever (this is a low budget TV show and not a multi-million dollar Hollywood special effects epic). Still, he has the muscles for the part, and I must say I was rather sad to see his cameo in the recent Hulk movie relegated to the deleted scenes on the DVD. The rest of the cast play their parts well enough even if the enemy agents ham it up a little too much for my liking.

    I used to watch the show when it was on TV, but had not seen this film. As with the original series production values are low, but this is a decent enough stab at portraying a likeable comic book character on the small screen. The asking price seems a little high, but fans of the series will want to watch this one to see how it all ends up. If you did not catch the show when it was on and would like to see The Hulk in action, you are probably better off buying the recent movie on DVD - you may well be able to get it for the same price as this one.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer on offer here reflects its television origins. This was a low budget feature, and the DVD appears to have been taken off a video taped source, and the quality on offer is a little poor as a result (in fact, it looks like a pretty average VHS tape).

    The aspect ratio is 1.33:1 and so is not 16x9 enhanced, which is the correct ratio as originally broadcast on TV.

    The transfer is generally on the soft side, with a generally fuzzy look and poor shadow detail (as at 5:19 and subsequently). Luckily there is very little low level noise in the frequent night scenes.

    Colours are generally muted and inconsistent, with variable skin colours betraying the low cost lighting which seems to have been used in filming. The colour problems appear to stem from using a faded video tape source.

    There are frequent minor positive and negative artefacts in the picture, with one or two minor instances of analogue tape tracking errors. Otherwise the transfer is in reasonable physical shape.

    The only subtitles on the disc (English for the Hearing Impaired) are quite good, with excellent audio cues for off screen action. I am glad to see this sort of track being made available, as I strongly feel that this track at least should be a minimum standard on most DVDs.

    I did not notice the layer change on this disc (but there are frequent fades to allow for ad breaks - it could have been during one of those).

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer on the DVD is slightly better than the video transfer, but is a rather ordinary mono track, once again reflecting its age and origin.

    There is only the one audio track on this disc, a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track encoded at a bitrate of 192 Kb/s. I tried listening to it in ProLogic mode, which did little to change its character, except to centre it more firmly in the middle of the picture.

    Dialogue is clear at all times. You will have no trouble following what is said on screen, and it is nicely balanced with the effects and music. Audio sync is acceptable.

    The music by Lance Rubin is unremarkable, and sounds like many another low budget TV show. It does the job and is quite moving towards the end of the film.

    The surrounds had the night off when I watched this film, as did the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras on the disc (hmmmm).

Menu

    The menu is static with no audio (no cost was spared putting this one on DVD!). From the menu you can Play the feature, go to Language Selection (ho ho, this one only has the subtitles on it - why not just have it on the main screen?) or go to Chapter Selection (28 to choose from).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this DVD appears identical to the Region 4. The Region 2 version has 3 trailers advertising more recent Marvel comics films (X-Men 2 and so on). The local version is marginally preferred for reasons of availability.

Summary

    What we have on offer here is a low budget TV film which looks older than it is due to a rather poor video transfer. The story will interest fans of the original series but is definitely not the place to start for the unconverted. The sound is average and the lack of extras is a little hard to take given a rather high asking price for what is offered; probably a rental at best.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Robert Davison (read my bio)
Monday, August 09, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K350, using Component output
DisplaySONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderKenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationKenwood
SpeakersKenwood

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Comments (Add)
Picture really not that terrific... - REPLY POSTED
Cameo? - REPLY POSTED