Planet Hulk (2010) Movie Review

45 Comments

My knowledge of “The Incredible Hulk” saga pretty much begins and ends with the late-70′s television series starring Lou Ferrigno and the late Bill Bixby. As such, it’s safe to say that I’m fairly ignorant on the subject, and I’m not entirely ashamed to admit that fact in a public forum. For whatever reason, the comic books weren’t really to my liking; my days were spent reading back issues of “Captain America”, “The Amazing Spider-Man”, and “Groo the Wanderer”. A story about a guy who transforms into a hulking green brute whenever his anger becomes unmanageable still doesn’t sound like a good time, especially when it’s being adapted for the screen by Ang Lee. Yeesh.

Sam Liu’s spunky 2009 animated feature “Planet Hulk”, on the other hand, is based on a specific series of books in the Hulk universe. Needless to say, I haven’t read a single one. Does this matter? I’m not entirely sure, but as someone who knows next to nothing about the characters, their origins, or why Hulk beats the unholy Green Giant out of someone named Beta Ray Bill, I still found the flick to be an entertaining way to kill off an otherwise boring afternoon. It helps matters considerably that I have a high tolerance for nonsensical interplanetary silliness and slickly animated fight sequences. There are certainly worse ways to blow roughly 90 minutes of your otherwise meaningless existence.

The story is a little hard to pin down, but I’ll do what I can: Having grown increasingly tired of Hulk’s violent displays of unadulterated emotion, the big green goober’s so-called “friends” strap him to a rocket and send him hurtling into the far reaches of space. The theory, of course, is that he’ll crash land on a distant planet and become a huge problem for someone else. However, a temper tantrum of sorts knocks his ship off course, causing him to crash onto a strange little planet called Sakaar. Upon his arrival, Hulk is immediately taken prisoner by the villainous Red King and forced to battle an array of enemies inside an arena for the amusement of the masses.

What the people of Sakaar don’t realize, of course, is that our big green buddy is seriously badass, and he’s not really in the business of letting people push him around. His mean streak allows him to quickly work his way through the ranks, much to the disapproval of the proverbial Powers That Be. The people, bewildered and awestruck by Hulk’s fighting prowess, believe that he’s been sent to free them from tyranny. Whatever the case may be, our hero isn’t going to stop until the whole thing comes crashing down around him, regardless of whether or not his actions destroy an oppressive alien regime in the process.

Compared to some of the other feature-length animated films inspired by popular Marvel characters, “Planet Hulk” is a fairly well-executed endeavor. Powered by some impressive visuals and a voice cast that actually seems to give a damn about the script they’re reading, Liu has crafted a strangely mesmerizing experience that has the possibility to appeal individuals who may not be initially interested in the material. Naturally, if you have zero interest in comic books and the plight of interplanetary fascism, there’s absolutely no reason for you to be here. “Planet Hulk” is enjoyable, but it’s certainly not going to convert non-believers to the cause.

Surprisingly, Lionsgate has gone out of their way to deliver a DVD that fans would actually want to buy, as opposed to dropping a few dollars for a single night’s rental. The special features are numerous, and include a few nifty behind-the-scenes featurettes, a handful of audio commentaries, a few episodes from varous Marvel-owned characters, two motion comic books, and a few music videos. And while the standard-definition transfer on the DVD is rich and creamy, I’m sure this thing pops and crackles on high-definition Blu-Ray.

Is “Planet Hulk” true to the source material? I honestly can’t say. However, the film is certainly entertaining, and should appeal to cinema fiends in search of an action-laced animated feature that doesn’t insult their intelligence. That being said, I’m still not much of a Hulk fan, though I can clearly understand why so many people flock to his books time and time again. There’s nothing quite like watching a menacing brute with frightening anger management issues destroy everything in his path. “Planet Hulk” isn’t the end-all, be-all of direct-to-video animated features, but it’s definitely a good place to start.

Sam Liu (director) / Greg Johnson (screenplay)
CAST: Rick D. Wasserman … Hulk
Mark Hildreth … Red King
Kevin Michael Richardson … Korg
Marc Worden … Iron Man
Liam O’Brien … Hiroim


Author: Todd Rigney

Todd was raised on a steady diet of Hollywood blockbusters, late-night Cinemax programming, and USA’s “Up All Night,” which may explain why his taste in movies is more than a little questionable. When he isn’t providing news and reviews for Beyond Hollywood, he can be found lounging lazily on his couch, perched in front of his television, or dwelling in places where direct sunlight can be easily avoided. He's happily married, in his 30's, and totally badass. If you'd like to reach Todd, you can follow him on Twitter or send him email/scoops to todd (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • Dedpool

    Thanks Todd. As for being out of touch. Hit up a bookstore. Trade paperbacks and hardcover editions of many of the major storylines for most comics are out there. I don’t do single issues anymore, but the trades and HC collections are great. Most of the new Green Lantern stuff coming out I’ve been getting in HC, and Planet Hulk is a MUST READ man.

  • http://www.myspace.com/kurotsurugi The_Strongest_There_Is

    Well being that this character is where I got my name, I cant stay quiet. The only injustice I know to befall the Hulk, is him losing to superman. WWH was absolutely fantastic, and the only thing I really want to know is if they conveyed the pure reconstructing of the character to a tee. Ded is right on this one. This was no normal smash everything hulk. They weakened him to the point of infancy and he was able to re-establish himself in the art of war and as a leader, therefore becoming more than just a mindless brute. Does the animated movie have the voice overs like in the comic, where they speak of him in poetry like the second coming? Just wondering. Its not needed but it really set the story when they called him the World breaker and Holku.

    Now, I need nothing more than crush everything hulk, but this arc became superior by far to the one where banner did not need to change into the hulk to have Hulk’s power. It worries me that this ends on a happy note, Not because I’m a Hulk enthusiast, but more so because I want it to set the table for WWH. I need to see the part with blackbolt and the beginning of WWH. I guess I’ll get it soon enough.

    NIX, The Hulk would kick everyone’s butt in the marvel universe. What other character have you known to punch another fictional character so hard that they force the victim to evolve into another stage of evolution (Onslaught). That’s the type of brutality that wakes me up in the morning. It took a dude with the power of 1000 suns to even stop the Hulk. My favorite casualties of WWH were Dr Strange and Colossus. Juggernaut just got pwned. Oh and god knows wolverine got wrecked, but anyway. Enough geeking out. Both stories are a great read for anyone in the market for a great story.

    I will be buying this without a doubt and will give my thoughts when I have watched it. I cant wait.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

      As I recall, Strange’s only response was to summon some demon to get into a fist-fight with the Hulk. You’d think he could whip up some magic and take him out. Plus, Reed Richards and Tony Stark? Geniuses, gets own by some guy who can punch really hard? I dunno, man, I still don’t buy it, but I suppose you had to allow for that or you wouldn’t have the mega universe-wide crossover they were going for.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

      As I recall, Strange’s only response was to summon some demon to get into a fist-fight with the Hulk. You’d think he could whip up some magic and take him out. Plus, Reed Richards and Tony Stark? Geniuses, gets own by some guy who can punch really hard? I dunno, man, I still don’t buy it, but I suppose you had to allow for that or you wouldn’t have the mega universe-wide crossover they were going for.

  • http://www.myspace.com/kurotsurugi The_Strongest_There_Is

    Well being that this character is where I got my name, I cant stay quiet. The only injustice I know to befall the Hulk, is him losing to superman. WWH was absolutely fantastic, and the only thing I really want to know is if they conveyed the pure reconstructing of the character to a tee. Ded is right on this one. This was no normal smash everything hulk. They weakened him to the point of infancy and he was able to re-establish himself in the art of war and as a leader, therefore becoming more than just a mindless brute. Does the animated movie have the voice overs like in the comic, where they speak of him in poetry like the second coming? Just wondering. Its not needed but it really set the story when they called him the World breaker and Holku.

    Now, I need nothing more than crush everything hulk, but this arc became superior by far to the one where banner did not need to change into the hulk to have Hulk’s power. It worries me that this ends on a happy note, Not because I’m a Hulk enthusiast, but more so because I want it to set the table for WWH. I need to see the part with blackbolt and the beginning of WWH. I guess I’ll get it soon enough.

    NIX, The Hulk would kick everyone’s butt in the marvel universe. What other character have you known to punch another fictional character so hard that they force the victim to evolve into another stage of evolution (Onslaught). That’s the type of brutality that wakes me up in the morning. It took a dude with the power of 1000 suns to even stop the Hulk. My favorite casualties of WWH were Dr Strange and Colossus. Juggernaut just got pwned. Oh and god knows wolverine got wrecked, but anyway. Enough geeking out. Both stories are a great read for anyone in the market for a great story.

    I will be buying this without a doubt and will give my thoughts when I have watched it. I cant wait.

  • http://www.myspace.com/kurotsurugi The_Strongest_There_Is

    Well being that this character is where I got my name, I cant stay quiet. The only injustice I know to befall the Hulk, is him losing to superman. WWH was absolutely fantastic, and the only thing I really want to know is if they conveyed the pure reconstructing of the character to a tee. Ded is right on this one. This was no normal smash everything hulk. They weakened him to the point of infancy and he was able to re-establish himself in the art of war and as a leader, therefore becoming more than just a mindless brute. Does the animated movie have the voice overs like in the comic, where they speak of him in poetry like the second coming? Just wondering. Its not needed but it really set the story when they called him the World breaker and Holku.

    Now, I need nothing more than crush everything hulk, but this arc became superior by far to the one where banner did not need to change into the hulk to have Hulk’s power. It worries me that this ends on a happy note, Not because I’m a Hulk enthusiast, but more so because I want it to set the table for WWH. I need to see the part with blackbolt and the beginning of WWH. I guess I’ll get it soon enough.

    NIX, The Hulk would kick everyone’s butt in the marvel universe. What other character have you known to punch another fictional character so hard that they force the victim to evolve into another stage of evolution (Onslaught). That’s the type of brutality that wakes me up in the morning. It took a dude with the power of 1000 suns to even stop the Hulk. My favorite casualties of WWH were Dr Strange and Colossus. Juggernaut just got pwned. Oh and god knows wolverine got wrecked, but anyway. Enough geeking out. Both stories are a great read for anyone in the market for a great story.

    I will be buying this without a doubt and will give my thoughts when I have watched it. I cant wait.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com Nix

      As I recall, Strange’s only response was to summon some demon to get into a fist-fight with the Hulk. You’d think he could whip up some magic and take him out. Plus, Reed Richards and Tony Stark? Geniuses, gets own by some guy who can punch really hard? I dunno, man, I still don’t buy it, but I suppose you had to allow for that or you wouldn’t have the mega universe-wide crossover they were going for.

  • http://www.myspace.com/kurotsurugi The_Strongest_There_Is

    Strange Had other things he could do but due to strategic awesomeness, he had to choose the fistikins. His magic wouldn’t work because of the magic user that Hulk had, and his ultimate attack was to speak to banner which failed because banner finally took the back seat and allowed the hulk Justice. One of the best comics in the series was when Hulk fought ghost rider and the spirit of vengeance let the hulk go because he found the hulk just in his anger. Reid is a genius on paper but the Hulk architected a world of pain. TOny stark tried his gadgets and had a good plan to use the hulk buster suit like before and got his face knocked off. I just say, they tried but no one got short changed. Strange is all powerful but it makes sense that an equal powerhouse would have to bring the hulk down lol.

    • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

      Magic never really works on the Hulk. His rage and strength always win out. The harder they try the madder he gets. Last few times they tried, they separated Banner from Hulk and ended up with the Mindless savage Hulk, and a dying banner. Even when used to control him it’s got limitations. And Strange did alot more than just engage in fisticuffs. He channeled a demon to do it and it cost him the use of his hands and the title of Sorcere Supreme. As for the big brains of the MU, well this was THEIR fault to begin with. It was them in their infinite wisdome that though of sending him into space, because there was nothing else they could think of. And Iron Man had contingency after contingency, but he never expected Green Scar Hulk. Also didn’t expect Deaths Head guards and obedience disks either. Also Stark’s one plan theat may have work was sabotaged by accident by Hardball in the Initiative. the S.P.I.N.Tech bullet that was a dud was the one Hrdball stole in Avengers: Initiative for Hydra. As for Ghost Rider, I think you mean he left Hulk alone because the Hulk was actually justified in his actions.

      TSTI they don’t refer to him as Holku, Green Scar or World Breaker sadly. Nor do they do the voice overs. There IS an awesome seen at the beginning and end with Hiroim talking and speaking of the Prophecy. The whole savior thing is really only referenced a few times but not the whole thing about the sakaarson and the world breaker in detail. Also if they really wanted to do a sequel they still could as they could start it with the tragic end of “Planet Hulk” and go from there but don’t hold your breath man. “Thor:Tales of Asgard” is their next film, and unless they’re already working on “World War Hulk” right now it just ain’t gonna happen. Strike while the irons hot and all.

    • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

      Magic never really works on the Hulk. His rage and strength always win out. The harder they try the madder he gets. Last few times they tried, they separated Banner from Hulk and ended up with the Mindless savage Hulk, and a dying banner. Even when used to control him it’s got limitations. And Strange did alot more than just engage in fisticuffs. He channeled a demon to do it and it cost him the use of his hands and the title of Sorcere Supreme. As for the big brains of the MU, well this was THEIR fault to begin with. It was them in their infinite wisdome that though of sending him into space, because there was nothing else they could think of. And Iron Man had contingency after contingency, but he never expected Green Scar Hulk. Also didn’t expect Deaths Head guards and obedience disks either. Also Stark’s one plan theat may have work was sabotaged by accident by Hardball in the Initiative. the S.P.I.N.Tech bullet that was a dud was the one Hrdball stole in Avengers: Initiative for Hydra. As for Ghost Rider, I think you mean he left Hulk alone because the Hulk was actually justified in his actions.

      TSTI they don’t refer to him as Holku, Green Scar or World Breaker sadly. Nor do they do the voice overs. There IS an awesome seen at the beginning and end with Hiroim talking and speaking of the Prophecy. The whole savior thing is really only referenced a few times but not the whole thing about the sakaarson and the world breaker in detail. Also if they really wanted to do a sequel they still could as they could start it with the tragic end of “Planet Hulk” and go from there but don’t hold your breath man. “Thor:Tales of Asgard” is their next film, and unless they’re already working on “World War Hulk” right now it just ain’t gonna happen. Strike while the irons hot and all.

  • http://www.myspace.com/kurotsurugi The_Strongest_There_Is

    Strange Had other things he could do but due to strategic awesomeness, he had to choose the fistikins. His magic wouldn’t work because of the magic user that Hulk had, and his ultimate attack was to speak to banner which failed because banner finally took the back seat and allowed the hulk Justice. One of the best comics in the series was when Hulk fought ghost rider and the spirit of vengeance let the hulk go because he found the hulk just in his anger. Reid is a genius on paper but the Hulk architected a world of pain. TOny stark tried his gadgets and had a good plan to use the hulk buster suit like before and got his face knocked off. I just say, they tried but no one got short changed. Strange is all powerful but it makes sense that an equal powerhouse would have to bring the hulk down lol.

  • http://www.myspace.com/kurotsurugi The_Strongest_There_Is

    Strange Had other things he could do but due to strategic awesomeness, he had to choose the fistikins. His magic wouldn’t work because of the magic user that Hulk had, and his ultimate attack was to speak to banner which failed because banner finally took the back seat and allowed the hulk Justice. One of the best comics in the series was when Hulk fought ghost rider and the spirit of vengeance let the hulk go because he found the hulk just in his anger. Reid is a genius on paper but the Hulk architected a world of pain. TOny stark tried his gadgets and had a good plan to use the hulk buster suit like before and got his face knocked off. I just say, they tried but no one got short changed. Strange is all powerful but it makes sense that an equal powerhouse would have to bring the hulk down lol.

    • Dedpool

      Magic never really works on the Hulk. His rage and strength always win out. The harder they try the madder he gets. Last few times they tried, they separated Banner from Hulk and ended up with the Mindless savage Hulk, and a dying banner. Even when used to control him it’s got limitations. And Strange did alot more than just engage in fisticuffs. He channeled a demon to do it and it cost him the use of his hands and the title of Sorcere Supreme. As for the big brains of the MU, well this was THEIR fault to begin with. It was them in their infinite wisdome that though of sending him into space, because there was nothing else they could think of. And Iron Man had contingency after contingency, but he never expected Green Scar Hulk. Also didn’t expect Deaths Head guards and obedience disks either. Also Stark’s one plan theat may have work was sabotaged by accident by Hardball in the Initiative. the S.P.I.N.Tech bullet that was a dud was the one Hrdball stole in Avengers: Initiative for Hydra. As for Ghost Rider, I think you mean he left Hulk alone because the Hulk was actually justified in his actions.

      TSTI they don’t refer to him as Holku, Green Scar or World Breaker sadly. Nor do they do the voice overs. There IS an awesome seen at the beginning and end with Hiroim talking and speaking of the Prophecy. The whole savior thing is really only referenced a few times but not the whole thing about the sakaarson and the world breaker in detail. Also if they really wanted to do a sequel they still could as they could start it with the tragic end of “Planet Hulk” and go from there but don’t hold your breath man. “Thor:Tales of Asgard” is their next film, and unless they’re already working on “World War Hulk” right now it just ain’t gonna happen. Strike while the irons hot and all.

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    SO “Thor: Tales of Asgard” isn’t due out til 2011 now. And Josh Fine from Marvel animation did an interview and was talking about his wish list of animated movies. He said he’d love to do a sequel to both “Next Avengers” and “Planet Hulk,” so TSTI, you may get your wish but not till 2012 or later. Also said he’d love to do more VS films, (Not necesarily with Hulk), a Dr. Strange film that would introduce the Secret Defenders, maybe a Blade animated film (I’d love that if it was done really dark), and lastly he said he’d love to do a Rocket Raccoon film. That’s hilarious but I have come to really like the character after being reintroduced in Annihilation Conquest and then in the new Guardians of the Galaxy comics. I’d love to see some cosmic action.

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    SO “Thor: Tales of Asgard” isn’t due out til 2011 now. And Josh Fine from Marvel animation did an interview and was talking about his wish list of animated movies. He said he’d love to do a sequel to both “Next Avengers” and “Planet Hulk,” so TSTI, you may get your wish but not till 2012 or later. Also said he’d love to do more VS films, (Not necesarily with Hulk), a Dr. Strange film that would introduce the Secret Defenders, maybe a Blade animated film (I’d love that if it was done really dark), and lastly he said he’d love to do a Rocket Raccoon film. That’s hilarious but I have come to really like the character after being reintroduced in Annihilation Conquest and then in the new Guardians of the Galaxy comics. I’d love to see some cosmic action.

  • Dedpool

    SO “Thor: Tales of Asgard” isn’t due out til 2011 now. And Josh Fine from Marvel animation did an interview and was talking about his wish list of animated movies. He said he’d love to do a sequel to both “Next Avengers” and “Planet Hulk,” so TSTI, you may get your wish but not till 2012 or later. Also said he’d love to do more VS films, (Not necesarily with Hulk), a Dr. Strange film that would introduce the Secret Defenders, maybe a Blade animated film (I’d love that if it was done really dark), and lastly he said he’d love to do a Rocket Raccoon film. That’s hilarious but I have come to really like the character after being reintroduced in Annihilation Conquest and then in the new Guardians of the Galaxy comics. I’d love to see some cosmic action.